Open Access News

News from the open access movement


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Momentum for OA publication funds

Matthew Cockerill, Growing support for central open access publication funds, BioMed Central Blog, June 16, 2008.

BioMed Central has long argued that institutions can most effectively encourage their researchers to embrace open access publication by setting up central open access funds. Such funds are analagous to the central library budgets that cover the cost of the traditional publication model, and are the best way to ensure that authors are not dissuaded by financial barriers from publishing in open access journals. In recent months, the idea of central open access funds has attracted more and more attention. ...

Last year, BioMed Central helped to organize a satellite workshop at the Association of Research Administrator (ARMA) annual conference on the topic of open access, and how the costs of open access publication could be covered using indirect research funding. This year, a similar session now forms part of the main programme of the 2008 ARMA conference which is taking place in Liverpool, UK from 16-19 June 2008. This year the ARMA conference is being held jointly with the International Network of Research Management Societies (INORMS) ...

The US counterpart to ARMA is the Society for Research Administrators (SRA). At the SRA annual meeting, which takes place at the Gaylord National Harbor Hotel outside Washington, DC from October 9-13, BioMed Central is again involved in a session focusing on open access publishing from the perspective of a research administrator, with an emphasis on the topic of central open access funds. ...

With mandatory open access policies from all the largest UK biomedical funders, many UK universities are trying to establish how best to administrate funds to cover the cost of open access publishing. For example, the Research Council UK open access policy statement makes clear that institutions can treat open access publication fees as an indirect cost under Full Economic Costing, but it is not necessarily clear how this should be done, in practice.

The recent decision by the UK Research Information Network, together with Universities UK, to set up a working group looking at these issues is therefore very timely. BioMed Central is actively participating in this working group, which aims to develop recommendations and best practices for the channeling of funds towards open access publication fees, and is due to deliver its recommendations later this year. ...

In a recent interview with the Library Journal Academic Newswire, Stuart Shieber, the newly appointed Director of [Harvard University's Office of Scholarly Communication], called attention to the need for central funding for OA publication fees:

Shieber's goal is to see OA journals exist on "equal footing" with subscription-based journals. As of now, he says, they do not, because much of the money that underwrites the services of subscription-based journals comes from libraries while the money that underwrites OA journals comes mostly from author charges. ďAuthors donít get underwriting help from the library when they publish in OA journals, while they do from publishing in subscription-based journals," he explains. To put OA and subscription journals on a "level playing field," he suggests, "you'd want to underwrite OA journals just as you do subscription journals."