WHELF guide to open access policies and guidelines

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The publication of the Finch report in 2012 marked the beginning of a wide debate on open access. This guide provides a summary of key resources, issues, policies and guidelines on open access and provides a link to the main document for further reading.  It is not meant to be an exhaustive list but it includes:

RCUK Policy on open access and supporting guidance

Sconul open access briefing September 2013

RLUK/Sconul, Open Access: impact for researchers, universities and society

HEFCE Policy for open access in the post-2014 REF

SAGE/Jisc Collections Open Access statement on double dipping

UNESCO Policy guidelines for the development and promotion of open access

CILIP Briefing on Open Access

Developing an Effective Market for Open Access Article Processing Charges by Bo-Christer Björk and David Solomon

RIN Monitoring Progress in the Transition to Open Access: Report of a Working Group


RCUK Policy on open access and supporting guidance (April 2013)
“Key Points to Note
•This policy applies only to the publication of peer -reviewed research articles (including review articles not commissioned by publishers) and conference proceedings that acknowledge funding from the UK’s Research Councils;
•The Research Councils UK (RCUK) policy supports both ‘Gold’ and ‘Green’ routes to Open Access, though RCUK has a preference for immediate Open Access with the maximum opportunity for re-use;
•Funding for Open Access arising from Research Council -supported research will be available through a block grant awarded directly to research organisations;
•RCUK recognises that the journey to full Open Access is a process and not a single event and therefore it expects compliance to grow over a transition period anticipated to be five years; RCUK will undertake a comprehensive, evidence-based review of the effectiveness and impact of its Open Access policy in 2014 and periodically thereafter (probably in 2016 and 2018);
•When assessing proposals for research funding RCUK considers that it is the quality of the research proposed, and not where an author has or is intending to publish, that is of paramount importance;
•RCUK is mindful that the impact of its policy on different disciplinary areas is likely to be varied and
has therefore made allowance for a different pace of adjustment by permitting different embargo
periods across the disciplines supported by the Research Councils. We will also be mindful of these differences between disciplines when monitoring the impact of the policy and, in future processes, when looking at compliance.”

Click here to link to the full document

Sconul open access briefing September 2013
“The briefing includes:
• a short history of open access developments
• a clear statement of funder requirements
• learning from a series of case studies and a survey of members
• further resources which SCONUL members may find helpful.”
Click here to link to the full document

RLUK/Sconul, Open Access: impact for researchers, universities and society (2012) by Alma Swan
“Open Access helps research to be carried out more efficiently by reducing duplication and blind alley research, by enabling researchers to find what they need more quickly and without cost and by helping researchers develop and diffuse the use of open standards. It makes possible better peer review and other methods of upholding academic rigour because researchers can easily see and judge the work of their peers and can access data for re-analysis and independent confirmation of findings. It also encourages collaborative endeavours by making research visible to new communities, including the general population.” Click here to link to the full document.

HEFCE Policy for open access in the post-2014 REF
“Key points:
The policy states that, to be eligible for submission to the post-2014 REF, authors’ final peer-reviewed manuscripts must have been deposited in an institutional or subject repository on acceptance for publication. Deposited material should be discoverable, and free to read and download, for anyone with an internet connection. The requirement applies only to journal articles and conference proceedings with an International Standard Serial Number. It will not apply to monographs, book chapters, other long-form publications, working papers, creative or practice-based research outputs, or data. The policy applies to research outputs accepted for publication
after 1 April 2016, but we would strongly urge institutions to implement it now.

Action required:
Higher education institutions are now advised to implement processes and procedures to comply with this policy, which may include using a combination of the‘green’ and ‘gold’ routes to open access. Institutions can achieve full compliance without incurring any additional publication costs through article processing charges. We will be working closely with Jisc to support repositories in implementing this policy, and will issue further information on this work in due course.”
Access the full document here.

SAGE/Jisc Collections Open Access statement on double dipping
“SAGE Publications and Jisc Collections have been working together to ensure a fair and sustainable model for hybrid Open Access (OA) publication under the current NESLi2 agreement. Both Jisc Collections and SAGE feel that this policy should be highlighted to senior library partners to inform and reassure colleagues that the issue of so-called “double dipping” is being addressed by SAGE at both a local and global level.”
Access the full document here.

UNESCO Policy guidelines for the development and promotion of open access by Alma Swan (2012)
“These Guidelines provide an account of the development  of Open Access, why it is important and desirable, how to  attain it, and the design and effectiveness of policies.”  Access the full document here.

CILIP Briefing on Open Access (July 2013)
“This paper gives an overview of the key drivers behind the development and growth of open access. The different routes to open access publishing are set out. It includes a summary of arguments both for and against open access. Links to a selection of recent policy documents and statements are provided.” Access the full document here.

Developing an Effective Market for Open Access Article Processing Charges by Bo-Christer Björk and David Solomon (commissioned by Jisc, RLUK, RCUK, Wellcome Trust et al.)
“This report was commissioned by a consortium of European research funding organizations led by the Wellcome Trust. The study was undertaken to stimulate thinking among research funders who have set up, or are considering setting up, mechanisms for direct “earmarked” funding of article processing charges (APCs) in open access (OA) journals. The report covers both full OA journals (referred to in the report as “full OA”, such as those published by Biomed Central and PLOS) and subscription journals which offer authors the possibility of making their individual articles OA by paying an APC.This latter category is known as “hybrid OA”. There are many full OA journals that are funded by means other than APCs and the term “gold OA” also includes these journals.
When they are included in the discussion this will be made clear, the focus of the report is however on the segment of gold OA funded by APCs. Access the full document here.

RIN Monitoring Progress in the Transition to Open Access: Report of a Working Group (2014)
“This current report presents proposals for a framework of indicators to monitor progress towards open access(OA) in the UK. The proposals do not attempt to cover all elements of the Finch recommendations, but focus on the transition to OA. Our aim has been to produce a framework of indicators which address key questions relating to the transition, based on data that can be gathered annually in relatively straightforward fashion. The picture the indicators present should be reasonably authoritative. But we recognise that some important questions require more detailed research; and we have concluded reluctantly that these must for the present lie outside the scope of the framework we propose. All our proposals, however, including our exclusions from the framework, should be kept under review in the light of experience and of developments in the availability of data”. Access the full document here