Open Access Policy in the UK: From Neoliberalism to the Commons

Author : Stuart Andrew Lawson

This thesis makes a contribution to the knowledge of open access through a historically  and theoretically informed account of contemporary open access policy in the UK (2010–15).

It critiques existing policy by revealing the influence of neoliberal ideology on its creation, and proposes a commons-based approach as an alternative. The historical context in Chapters 2 and 3 shows that access to knowledge has undergone numerous changes over the centuries and the current push to increase access to research, and political  controversies around this idea, are part of a long tradition.

The exploration of the origins and meanings of ‘openness’ in Chapter 4 enriches the understanding of open access as a concept and makes possible a more nuanced critique of specific instantiations of open access in later chapters.

The theoretical heart of the thesis is Chapter 5, in which neoliberalism is analysed with a particular focus on neoliberal conceptions of liberty and openness. The subsequent examination of neoliberal higher education in Chapter 6 is therefore informed by a thorough grounding in the ideology that underlies policymaking in the neoliberal era.

This understanding then acts as invaluable context for the analysis of the UK’s open access policy in Chapter 7. By highlighting the neoliberal aspects of open access policy, the political tensions within open access advocacy are shown to have real effects on the way that open access is unfolding.

Finally, Chapter 8 proposes the commons as a useful theoretical model for conceptualising a future scholarly publishing ecosystem that is free from neoliberal ideology. An argument is made that a commons-based open access policy is possible, though must be carefully constructed with close attention paid to the power relations that exist between different scholarly communities.

URL : Open Access Policy in the UK: From Neoliberalism to the Commons

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How open is open access research in Library and Information Science?

Authors : Wanyenda Leonard Chilimo, Omwoyo Bosire Onyancha

The study investigates Library and Information Science (LIS) journals that published research articles between 2003 and 2013, which were about open access (OA) and were indexed in LIS databases.

The purpose was to investigate the journals’ OA policies, ascertain the degree to which these policies facilitate OA to publications, and investigate whether such texts are also available as OA. The results show that literature growth in the domain has been significant, with a total of 1,402 articles produced during the eleven years under study.

The OA policies of the fifty-six journals that published the highest number of articles were analysed. The results show that most articles (404; 41%) were published in hybrid journals, whereas 272 (29.7%) appeared in OA journals.

Some 143 (53%) of the articles published in hybrid journals were available as green OA copies. In total, 602 (66%) of all the articles published were available as OA.

The results show that the adoption of OA for research articles on that very subject is somewhat higher than in other fields. The study calls on LIS professionals to be conversant with the OA policies of the various journals that may publish their research.

URL : How open is open access research in Library and Information Science?

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Open Access Books: an international collaboration to explore the practical implications for librarians of increasing access to scholarly research outputs

Authors : Elsie Zhou, Leon Errelin, Sam Oakley, Neil Smyth

Open access advocacy and partnership is an established role for libraries across the world: books continue to be a challenge. Books and book chapters remain a vital output for many research areas. Open access policies have focused primarily on journal articles and serial publications, potentially creating an imbalance in the research literature freely available, and possibly having a negative impact on book publications in terms of readership and citations.

Publisher permissions for journal articles can usually be accessed from Sherpa RoMEO, but book contracts continue to be a mostly hidden agreement between publisher and researcher, inaccessible to librarians who are supporting and driving the open access agenda within an institution.

What are the current challenges for librarians in making academics books openly available? To what extent will this limit the mediating role of librarians in scholarly communication? Is this role sustainable?

A global perspective is provided with a comparison of distinctive experiences at two leading international universities: Swansea University; and the University of Nottingham Ningbo China. Swansea University is seeking to create more open access book content in line with the United Kingdom’s Higher Education Funding Council for Education Research Excellence Framework Open Access policy.

The University of Nottingham Ningbo China is seeking to maximize the dissemination and visibility of research to a global audience through open access.

This paper focusses on the issues and challenges for librarians who wish to increase the number of books and book chapters available open access, including: relationships with global publishing partners; the complexity of publisher policies for books; challenging existing researcher practices; and, reskilling librarians for advocacy and influencing roles in scholarly communication.

A set of recommendations is drawn from this in order to improve the library and information service roles in supporting research, publishing process and improving open access to book content.

URL : Open Access Books: an international collaboration to explore the practical implications for librarians of increasing access to scholarly research outputs

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The UK Scholarly Communication Licence: Attempting to Cut through the Gordian Knot of the Complexities of Funder Mandates, Publisher Embargoes and Researcher Caution in Achieving Open Access

Authors : Julie Baldwin, Stephen Pinfield

Whilst take-up of open access (OA) in the UK is growing rapidly due partly to a number of funder mandates, managing the complexities of balancing compliance with these mandates against restrictive publisher policies and ingrained academic priorities, has resulted in UK higher education institutions (HEIs) often struggling with confused researchers, complex workflows, and rising costs.

In order to try to address this situation, the UK Scholarly Communication Licence (UK-SCL) was formulated to bypass the root causes of many of these challenges by implementing a licensing mechanism for multiple-mandate compliance in one single policy.

This is the first empirical study to focus on the genesis of the UK-SCL and how its implementation has been conceived thus far. A qualitative research method was used, taking the form of 14 semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders from the initiative across the UK.

The results indicate that those working within UK HEIs are concerned with the complexity of the current OA policy landscape and are frustrated with the inertia within the current system, which has resulted in higher costs, further publisher restrictions, and has not addressed the underlying tensions in academic culture.

The UK-SCL is seen by its initiators as a way to achieve further transition towards OA and take back some element of control of the content produced at their institutions.

The study concludes by modelling the ways in which the UK-SCL is intended to impact relationships between key stakeholders, and discussing possible implementation futures.

URL : The UK Scholarly Communication Licence: Attempting to Cut through the Gordian Knot of the Complexities of Funder Mandates, Publisher Embargoes and Researcher Caution in Achieving Open Access

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The End of a Centralized Open Access Project and the Beginning of a Community-Based Sustainable Infrastructure for Latin America: after Fifteen Years The Open Access ecosystem in Latin America

Authors : Arianna Becerril-García, Eduardo Aguado-López

The Latin American region has an ecosystem where the nature of publication is conceived as the act of making public, of sharing and not as the publishing industry. International, national and institutional contexts have led to a redefinition of a project——that begun in 2003 and that has already fulfilled its original mission: give visibility to knowledge generated in Latin America and promote quality of scientific journals.

Nevertheless, it is mandatory to be transformed from a Latin American platform based in Mexico into a community-based regional infrastructure that continues assessing journals quality and providing access to full-text in benefit of journals visibility and free access to knowledge.

A framework that generates technology in favor of the empowerment and professionalization of journal editors, making the editorial task in open access sustainable and that allows Redalyc to sustain itself collectively.

This work describes the first Redalyc’s model, presents the problematic in course and the new business model Redalyc is designing and adopting to operate on.


Open Access Infrastructure in Greece: Current Status, Challenges and Perspectives

Authors : Aspasia Togia, Eleftheria Koseoglou, Sofia Zapounidou, Nikolaos Tsigilis

Open access (OA) is a global movement to make research results widely available by removing price and permission barriers. OA infrastructure is necessary for implementing open access and open science in any country.

The aim of the present paper is twofold: (i) to give a description of the Greek OA infrastructure with emphasis on academic repositories and OA journals, and (ii) to examined the OA availability of publications authored by Greek researchers and published in international journals.

Results indicated that Open access infrastructures in Greece have been steadily improving over the past years, with 28 out of 36 HEIs running their own IR and 116 OA journals being published.

The OA availability of the literature produced by Greek researchers is similar to that found in other studies and falls within the range that has been reported for European countries.

Although numbers seem rather satisfactory, there are a number of challenges that have to be addressed at both the infrastructural and the policy level, the most important being the implementation of national open policies and funders mandates.


Enhancing Institutional Publication Data Using Emergent Open Science Services

Authors : David Walters, Christopher Daley

The UK open access (OA) policy landscape simultaneously preferences Gold publishing models (Finch Report, RCUK, COAF) and Green OA through repository usage (HEFCE), creating the possibility of confusion and duplication of effort for academics and support staff.

Alongside these policy developments, there has been an increase in open science services that aim to provide global data on OA. These services often exist separately to locally managed institutional systems for recording OA engagement and policy compliance.

The aim of this study is to enhance Brunel University London’s local publication data using software which retrieves and processes information from the global open science services of Sherpa REF, CORE, and Unpaywall.

The study draws on two classification schemes; a ‘best location’ hierarchy, which enables us to measure publishing trends and whether open access dissemination has taken place, and a relational ‘all locations’ dataset to examine whether individual publications appear across multiple OA dissemination models.

Sherpa REF data is also used to indicate possible OA locations from serial policies. Our results find that there is an average of 4.767 permissible open access options available to the authors in our sample each time they publish and that Gold OA publications are replicated, on average, in 3 separate locations.

A total of 40% of OA works in the sample are available in both Gold and Green locations. The study considers whether this tendency for duplication is a result of localised manual workflows which are necessarily focused on institutional compliance to meet the Research Excellence Framework 2021 requirements, and suggests that greater interoperability between OA systems and services would facilitate a more efficient transformation to open scholarship.

URL : Enhancing Institutional Publication Data Using Emergent Open Science Services

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