Are funder Open Access platforms a good idea?

Authors : Tony Ross-Hellauer​, Birgit Schmidt, Bianca Kramer

As open access to publications continues to gather momentum we should continuously question whether it is moving in the right direction. A novel intervention in this space is the creation of open access publishing platforms commissioned by funding organisations. Examples include those of the Wellcome Trust and the Gates Foundation, as well as recently announced initiatives from public funders like the European Commission and the Irish Health Research Board.

As the number of such platforms increases, it becomes urgently necessary to assess in which ways, for better or worse, this emergent phenomenon complements or disrupts the scholarly communications landscape.

This article examines ethical, organisational and economic strengths and weaknesses of such platforms, as well as usage and uptake to date, to scope the opportunities and threats presented by funder open access platforms in the ongoing transition to open access.

The article is broadly supportive of the aims and current implementations of such platforms, finding them a novel intervention which stand to help increase OA uptake, control costs of OA, lower administrative burden on researchers, and demonstrate funders’ commitment to fostering open practices.

However, the article identifies key areas of concern about the potential for unintended consequences, including the appearance of conflicts of interest, difficulties of scale, potential lock-in and issues of the branding of research.

The article ends with key recommendations for future consideration which include a focus on open scholarly infrastructure.

URL : Are funder Open Access platforms a good idea?


Open access levels: a quantitative exploration using Web of Science and oaDOI data

Authors : Jeroen Bosman, Bianca Kramer

Across the world there is growing interest in open access publishing among researchers, institutions, funders and publishers alike. It is assumed that open access levels are growing, but hitherto the exact levels and patterns of open access have been hard to determine and detailed quantitative studies are scarce.

Using newly available open access status data from oaDOI in Web of Science we are now able to explore year-on-year open access levels across research fields, languages, countries, institutions, funders and topics, and try to relate the resulting patterns to disciplinary, national and institutional contexts.

With data from the oaDOI API we also look at the detailed breakdown of open access by types of gold open access (pure gold, hybrid and bronze), using universities in the Netherlands as an example.

There is huge diversity in open access levels on all dimensions, with unexpected levels for e.g. Portuguese as language, Astronomy & Astrophysics as research field, countries like Tanzania, Peru and Latvia, and Zika as topic.

We explore methodological issues and offer suggestions to improve conditions for tracking open access status of research output. Finally, we suggest potential future applications for research and policy development. We have shared all data and code openly.

URL : Open access levels: a quantitative exploration using Web of Science and oaDOI data