Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Open access is here

This is a quick post to comment on Bristol University's open access policy in the wake of new guidelines from RCUK. In essence, any RCUK-funded research must now be open access, either green or gold (green is where the paper is archived in a repository of some kind, gold is where an article processing charge (APC) is paid to the publisher so that they make the paper openly available).

For now I will reserve comment on whether open access is overall a good or bad thing - it is happening regardless. For any UK researcher it is vital that their papers are considered to be REF-eligible, and this means that they must be open access.

However, as anticipated, I think that the costs have been hugely underestimated. Bristol Uni has put aside a block grant of £500,000 to fund APCs of gold open access articles. However, a quick perusal of the University publications database reveals that, in 2012, the Faculty of Science produced 1,100 academic journal papers. The university as a whole produced more than 3,000. Assuming an average APC of £1,000, that means that the cost of the output from the Science Faculty alone is more than £1million, and from the whole university is more than £3million.

So I'm not sure how they worked out that £500,000 would be sufficient to cover this. Of course, it presumably means that there will be competition for this money, and is it likely that I, as a young researcher without a lot of clout compared to the senior professors and staff at the uni, will get a piece of it? In turn, does this mean that if I want my papers to be REF-eligible, will they have to be published in journals other than the ones of my choice? I suspect so, and I am concerned at the impact that this will have on my career (the career of any young scientist is controlled disproportionately by which journals he/she is able to get papers published in). 

1 comment: