RCUK Policy on OA

From: Professor Arthur Sale <Arthur.Sale_at_utas.edu.au>
Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2006 10:47:51 +1000

The RCUK (the peak body of the eight Research Councils of the UK, which
are analogous to Australia's two ARC and NH&MRC) has announced its policy
on Open Access deposit; see http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/access/.  In summary,
each Council is free to determine its own policy within the RCUK
framework and principles, and there is a strong presumption that Open
Access will eventually be the norm. The following summarizes the
situation for Australian and NZ repository and research managers (my

The individual Councils have decided as follows - first the clear
Mandatory to deposit research publications in an OAR where it exists, 'at
the earliest opportunity', all projects to be funded from 1 Oct 2006
(deposit requested for prior funded projects)
Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council
Economic & Social Research Council
Medical Research Council (but deposit in PubMed Central UK instead of
institutional OAR, also 'certainly within 6 months')

Strongly encourages deposit in the CCLRC repository, 'at the earliest
opportunity', effective immediately
Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils

The others fall into two groups:
Policy in preparation
Arts & Humanities Research Council - policy by end 2006 after
consultation, 'with a view to ensuring an appropriate deposit'
Natural Environment Research Council - policy in preparation and will be
made available asap

Particle Physics & Astronomy Research Council - considering the issues
Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council - deferring decision to
late 2008 or 2009

It is to be strongly hoped that the ARC and the NH&MRC will now announce
similar mandatory policies for publications arising from Australian
projects funded in 2007 and later. The ARC has received several
submissions to this effect and there is really no excuse for further
delay. New Zealand could do it too. The RCUK policies will open up to
Australian researchers a great deal of UK research in journals to which
we do not subscribe, and a complementary decision would publicize our
research equivalently.

The reluctance of the physical sciences research councils is difficult to
understand, since some branches of physics and computer science have long
standing high levels of OA already (approaching 100%), and physics,
engineering and computer science all have active preprint cultures. It
seems unlikely to me that the EPSRC deferral will stand the test of time.

In the decided cases, deposit by the authors/grantee is mandated (with no
exceptions), with a parallel but separate requirement to provide
appropriate metadata. There is also an expectation by the RCUK that the
publishing industry will not work to undermine the requirements, for
example by instituting lengthy embargoes.

You can read the policies of each Council if you want to see their actual
words instead of this summary. Visit http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/access/ and
follow the links to the Councils on the main page (not the left navbar). 
Also, some of you may find the Q&A document useful in proselytizing

Arthur Sale
Professor of Computing (Research), UTas
Received on Thu Jun 29 2006 - 02:49:25 BST

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