Open access central funds in UK universities …

Open access central funds in UK universities :

“This paper reports on the extent to which higher education institutions in the UK have set up central funds and similar institutionally co-ordinated approaches to the payment of open access article-processing charges. It presents data demonstrating that central funds have only been set up by a minority of institutions and that the number of institutions has not changed significantly between 2009 and 2011. It then explores the barriers to the establishment of such funds and discusses recent developments that might lower these barriers. Finally, it provides a case study of the development of the central fund at the University of Nottingham in the UK and considers the sustainability of such an approach.”


Electronic doctoral theses in the UK a sector…

Electronic doctoral theses in the UK: a sector-wide survey into policies, practice and barriers to Open Access :

“Sharing knowledge and research outputs is critical to the progress of science and human development, and a central tenet of academia. The Internet itself is a product of the academic community, and opening access to that community’s most important body of research, doctoral theses, is both a logical and an inevitable development. Progress toward open access to electronic theses has been slow in the UK. Much has been written on the perceived barriers and practical/infrastructural considerations that might explain this, but a comprehensive picture of that progress, and obstacles to it, was lacking. In 2010, a survey of policy and practice in UK HEIs was conducted by UCL (University College London) Library Services (commissioned by the Joint Information Systems Committee, JISC) to address this very issue. Incorporating inputs from 144 institutions currently awarding doctoral degrees, the work provides the first clear and detailed picture of the status of open access to doctoral research in the UK. The mission of the UK Council for Graduate Education (UKCGE) is to promote and support the interests of graduate education, and this it does through dissemination of best practice and intelligence on emergent trends; helping to shape policy and practice for the benefit of the UK HEI sector. This report contributes to that mission by bringing to the membership’s attention the results of this important work by UCL Library Services; a collaboration between UKCGE and the authors of the original work, it sets out the policies and practices that emerged from the survey and also considers what has been learned about the perceived barriers to the implementation of open access to electronic theses.

The 2010 survey has enabled, for the first time, a differentiation to be made between barriers that are “real” and those which are unfounded and/or yet to be properly validated. At the same time, the work highlights the progress made in certain critical areas, as well as those that require our greater attention. A positive picture emerges for the UK on the adoption of the electronic thesis, with the majority of HEIs surveyed expected to be providing open access to their theses in five years’ time. A more detailed picture also emerges regarding the primary reasons for requests to restrict access to theses, some of which, notably, apply only to electronic (not print) theses. This has necessarily given rise to new policy developments. There is positive evidence also of collaboration among HEIs to provide an efficient and robust service for accessing electronic theses; pooling their resources and expertise either in the development of their institutional repositories or in operating a joint service. The key driver of open access to electronic theses is the opportunity for UK HEIs to “showcase” their research outputs to the widest possible audience and enhance their impact. There are no reliable means as yet to measure this impact, but there are encouraging early indications that electronic doctoral theses attract significant attention when made openly accessible. Open access to electronic theses may therefore indeed accelerate the sharing of knowledge and the progress of scientific discovery and human development.”


Benefits to the Private Sector of Open Access…

Benefits to the Private Sector of Open Access to Higher Education and Scholarly Research :

“This report is set out in five chapters which, following this introduction, look at:
• The study context and, in particular, available (past) evidence of businesses and benefits of engaging with publicly funded research, as well as access to and discoverability of research and business engagement in OA policy (Chapter 2).
• Business engagement with Open Access, including business models, knowledge transfer contexts, awareness and distinctive use of OA and its role and contribution to businesses (Chapter 3).
• Benefits of OA to the private sector including a review of the nature and limitations of the reviewed evidence, benefits and impact of OA, and in-company enablers and constraints to securing benefit (Chapter 4).
• Conclusions and recommendations (Chapter 5)”.


A further exploration of the views of chemists…

A further exploration of the views of chemists and economists on Open Access issues in the UK :

“Most UK researchers are attached to academic institutions. Although there are variations in the breadth of the subscription base of institutional libraries, most scholars have smooth and seamless access to most of the scholarly research outputs that they require, for most of the time. Their world is largely an open one. For this reason, the policy discourse about openness in general, and Open Access in particular has had little influence on most academics. Their world is dominated less by issues of efficiency, cost-effectiveness and public good, than by the motivations in relation to scholarly publishing that exist within their own field. The focus of this study is on the latter, that is, on culture and the reasons behind researchers’ attitude to Open Access.

It is worth noting that ‘ Open Access’ is not a term whose nuances and implications are widely understood. For most people the key distinction is – ‘is it free or do I have to pay for it?’ The organisation and arrangements that go on behind the scenes to make that ‘free’ stuff possible is and will probably always be only a concern for a tiny minority of people. But having the free access is a concern for everyone. In a similar way: everyone wants to use Google to find things but how many people get involved in discussing search algorithms, ranking and indexing?”


Influencing the Deposit of Electronic Theses in UK HE: report on a sector-wide survey into thesis deposit and open access

This survey formed part of the ‘Influencing the Deposit of Electronic Theses in UK HE’ project, commissioned by the JISC and led by UCL.

The survey was designed to capture a snapshot of current and planned electronic theses policies and practices in UK HEIs, and to gather evidence about the main barriers to the electronic deposit of e-theses.


Research for our Future: UK business suc…

Research for our Future: UK business success through public investment in research :

“Research Councils UK (RCUK) believes that strategic delivery of focused research programmes, alongside nurturing innovative basic research, is the key to fostering economic recovery, ultimately placing the UK in a position of leadership on the world stage of research and innovation. The Research Councils occupy a vital position in having a balanced portfolio of funding both excellent people throughout their research careers, and excellent projects that bring huge economic and societal benefits to the UK.
Written by leading economist Romesh Vaitilingam, this new report from RCUK presents the case for UK research and why it is so vital for our future prosperity. It includes submissions from leading business and industry and examines why they choose to work in partnership with British researchers.”