Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

More on the ARC OA policy

Bernard Lane, Open access a threat to grants, The Australian, January 23, 2007.  Excerpt:

The historically low success rate for competitive grant applications could dip further as an unintended consequence of the move to open access publishing.

The Australian Research Council, which has just adopted its first policy to encourage grant winners to make their results widely and freely available, said open access was shifting publication costs to authors.

If authors were allowed to cover those costs from grant money, then a new administrative and financial burden would fall on agencies such as the ARC.

Funding agencies would have to estimate publication costs before giving a grant and would probably have to audit this expenditure at project's end, the ARC says in a new submission to the Productivity Commission's inquiry into public support for science and innovation.

"If the agencies' budgets were not supplemented to cover those costs in full, then the proportion of grant funding devoted to research activity would diminish," the ARC says....

Comment.  Don't confuse this with an objection to the current OA policy of the the Australian Research Council (ARC).  That policy (see Paragraph mandates OA through author self-archiving and does not offer to pay publication fees at fee-based OA journals.  We can talk about whether the ARC could answer the objection if it decided that it wanted to pay those fees.  But for now that seems abstract and academic.  If an inquiry shows that ARC can't afford to start paying fees, then it shouldn't start.  The policy is fine as it stands and already takes the most important step by mandating OA archiving.