HEFCE open access consultation, July 2013

On 24 July 2013, the Higher Education Funding Council for England launched a major consultation exercise in relation to the post-2014 REF open access proposals. The full document is available at http://www.hefce.ac.uk/news/newsarchive/2013/name,82784,en.html, and responses are invited by 17.00 on 30 October 2013. Information received during an initial consultation process undertaken earlier this year has informed the proposals, resulting, for example, in the suggestion that a two-year notice period should apply from the announcement of a formal open access policy.

Respondents are asked to address seven main questions, which include the appropriateness of the chosen criteria, the role of institutional repositories, embargo periods and licensing, the research outputs to which the open-access criteria should apply, the above-mentioned notice period, arrangements to ensure that non-UK researchers moving to the UK are not disadvantaged, and the approach to allowing exceptions.

Debating open access

On 1 July 2013, the British Academy published a fascinating collection of essays on ‘Debating open access’ (the book itself is, of course, freely available to download). The volume is a laudable attempt to address a variety of opinions and perspectives. As Chris Wickham and Nigel Vincent note in their introduction:

‘We decided at an early stage when thinking about putting these papers together, in January 2013, that we needed to have as contributors people who thought open access was a good thing, the way forward; people who thought it was a good thing but fraught with practical problems which were ill-understood by some of its advocates; and people who thought it was a bad thing in principle’.

Whether you are new to open access, or already well versed in the arguments pro and con, this is a valuable contribution to the literature.