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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Ireland's Higher Education Authority adopts an OA mandate

Ireland's Higher Education Authority (HEA) has adopted an OA mandate.  (Thanks to Niamh Brennan.)  From its August 19, 2008, announcement:

...Where a research publication arises in whole or in part from HEA funded research (i.e. where one or other of the researchers concerned receives HEA funds in support of their endeavours), the following policy will be adhered to with effect from 30th June 2008....

Conditions to which HEA funded award recipients should adhere:

1.  All researchers must lodge their publications resulting in whole or in part from HEA-funded research in an open access repository as soon as is practical after publication, and to be made openly accessible within 6 calendar months at the latest, subject to copyright agreement.

2.  The repository should ideally be a local institutional repository to which the appropriate rights must be granted to replicate to other repositories.

3.   Authors should deposit post-prints (or publisher's version if permitted) plus metadata of articles accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals and international conference proceedings.

4.   Deposit should be made upon acceptance by the journal/conference. Repositories should release the metadata immediately, with access restrictions to full text article to be applied as required. Open access should be available as soon as is practicable but not later than six months after publication.

5.  Suitable repositories should make provision for long-term preservation of, and free public access to, published research findings.

6.  Books and book chapters are not covered by such repositories but the following condition applies in such cases.  When a book goes out of print or four years following publication, whichever is sooner, and the publisher does not foresee a further print run or availability online for the work within a six-month period, then authors should make the work available online in an open and accessible way.

7.   ...Data in general [as opposed to metadata] should as far
as is feasible be made openly accessible, in keeping with best practice for reproducibility of scientific results.

8.   Software, together with methods and algorithms, are not directly covered by Open Access repositories.  However in keeping with best practice of scientific reproducibility key scientific results should be made available openly.

9.  HEA may augment or amend the above requirements wherever necessary to ensure best practice in Open Access....


  • The HEA policy is nearly identical to the OA mandate adopted by the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (IRCSET) in May 2008.  In my blog comment on the IRCSET policy, I said: 
    This may be the best funder mandate anywhere....I particularly applaud the mandatory language, the firm six month deadline with no loopholes for resisting publishers, the equal standing of central and distributed repositories, [the application to data and software], and the full implementation of the dual deposit/release strategy (or what Stevan Harnad calls immediate deposit / optional access)....
  • However, there is one difference which significantly weakens the HEA policy.  While IRCSET requires OA within six months of publication, without qualification, HEA requires OA within six months "subject to copyright agreement."  This is precisely the loophole for resisting publishers that I praised IRCSET for omitting.  The HEA policy defers to any publisher policy which prohibits OA archiving or requires a longer embargo period.  It gives publishers a simple opt-out.