Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, December 04, 2006

Australia's ARC expects OA for ARC-funded projects

The Australian Research Council (ARC)  has published the Funding Rules for funding commencing in 2008 (undated but apparently released December 3, 2006).  (Thanks to Colin Steele.)  Excerpt:

1.4.5.  Dissemination of research outputs The Australian Government makes a major investment in research to support its essential role in improving the wellbeing of our society. To maximise the benefits from research, findings need to be disseminated as broadly as possible to allow access by other researchers and the wider community. The ARC acknowledges that researchers take into account a wide range of factors in deciding on the best outlets for publications arising from their research. Such considerations include the status and reputation of a journal or publisher, the peer review process of evaluating their research outputs, access by other stakeholders to their work, the likely impact of their work on users of research and the further dissemination and production of knowledge. Taking heed of these considerations, the ARC wants to ensure the widest possible dissemination of the research supported under its funding, in the most effective manner and at the earliest opportunity. The ARC therefore encourages researchers to consider the benefits of depositing their data and any publications arising from a research project in an appropriate subject and/or institutional repository wherever such a repository is available to the researcher(s). If a researcher is not intending to deposit the data from a project in a repository within a six-month period, he/she should include the reasons in the project's Final Report. Any research outputs that have been or will be deposited in appropriate repositories should be identified in the Final Report.

Comment.  Kudos to the ARC for this important step.  The policy doesn't use the language of a mandate, but it takes an approach that may be functionally equivalent:  beyond requesting compliance, it shifts the burden to non-complying grantees to justify their non-compliance.  This creates a strategic consideration that is not a sanction but more consequential than anything to be found in some of the policies that use mandatory language.