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News from the open access movement

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The OA mandate at JISC

JISC adopted an OA policy in the April 2007 version of its Generic terms and conditions of grant[s].  I didn't know about it until today when it was added to ROARMAP.  Excerpt:

21. JISC supports unrestricted access to the published output of publicly-funded research and wishes to encourage open access to research outputs to ensure that the fruits of UK research are made more widely available.

22. JISC firmly believes in the value of repositories as a means of improving access to the results of publicly-funded research and is investing significantly in this area. As part of this, JISC is funding The Depot; a repository which can host research outputs should institutions not have a repository in which to deposit. A national support project is also available to help institutions develop repositories and share practice.

23. JISC expects that the full text of all published research papers and conference proceedings arising from JISC-funded work should be deposited in an open access institutional repository, or if that isn't available, ‘The Depot’ or a subject repository. Deposit should include biographical metadata relating to such articles, and should be completed within six months of the publication date of the paper.

24. Which version of the article should be deposited depends upon publishers’ agreements with their authors but JISC mandates that articles should be made available through publishers that adopt the RoMEO 'green' approach as a minimum. Authors should go to another journal if the journal chosen does not adopt the RoMEO 'green' conditions.

25. JISC mandates the deposit of the native version (Word, PPT, etc.), with PDF as well if wanted, but certainly with a format from which usable xml can in principle be derived (not PDF).


  • There have long been rumors that JISC was planning to adopt an OA mandate.  For example, when UK PubMed Central (UKPMC) was launched in January 2007, JISC issued a press release explaining that all nine members of the UKPMC Funders Group would soon require OA for the research they fund.  At the time, JISC was a member, although it's no longer listed on the member page. All eight other members have since adopted OA mandates.
  • I consider the April 2007 grant guidelines to be an OA mandate even if it's not the rumored policy.  Many other OA mandates use the same language of expectation rather than requirement, and even the policies that use stronger language succeed because they create expectations, not sanctions.  The policy has three other strengths:  the reasonable embargo, the flexibility about the destination repositories, and the firmness that asks grantees to change publishers rather than compromise on OA.  Kudos to all involved.