UK research to be open access

In a long-awaited policy, RCUK mandates that all research it funds should be made freely available

By | June 28, 2006

Scientists funded by the UK?s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) will soon be obliged to deposit copies of their published articles in an online repository ?at the earliest opportunity,? the council announced today (June 28). The new archiving requirements will apply to papers arising from grant applications submitted on or after October 1st 2006, and for projects funded at BBSRC-sponsored institutes, the council said in a statement on its Web site. The new rules mean that any published journal article or conference proceedings resulting from BBSRC-funded work should be deposited, ?at the earliest opportunity, in an appropriate e-print repository, wherever such a repository is available,? the statement said. The BBSRC decision came as part of a wider position statement published today by Research Councils UK, the umbrella body for all of the UK?s seven research councils, which distribute government funds. That long-awaited policy says that researchers funded by any of the councils should deposit their research outputs in a repository. However, it leaves the decision on how and when to implement such a policy up to each of the individual research councils, each of which funds research in different disciplines. Leaving the decision up to the individual councils was an important point when drafting the statement, said Adrian Pugh from RCUK. ?We?ve been aware that there is a huge breadth of variation within the research community and it?s very difficult to capture all the nuances that go across that community,? he told The Scientist. The policy also makes it clear that scientists should still respect existing copyright and licensing policies, such as embargo periods. Today?s statement comes 12 months after RCUK published a draft position statement on this issue. That earlier statement had triggered a hostile reaction from some journal publishers, but Sally Morris, chief executive of the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers, told The Scientist she was ?much happier with what the RCUK has now done.? For instance, Morris applauded the fact that RCUK had put an emphasis on working with publishers to make the arrangements, and that the policy recognized that different disciplines would respond in different ways. Those differences were immediately apparent in the specific policies each research council adopted. The Medical Research Council, for example, said that copies of research papers accepted for publication will need to be deposited in PubMed Central within six months. The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, on the other hand, says that it will wait for the results of an independent study to come in before it will make a decision about when papers need to be deposited. Stephen Pincock Links within this article BBSRC?s position on deposit of publications, June 28, 2006. Research Councils UK updated position statement on access to research outputs S. Pincock, ?Will EU beat UK in open access?? The Scientist, April 21, 2006. S. Pincock, ?RCUK draft mandates open access,? The Scientist, June 23, 2005. MRC guidance on open and unrestricted access to published research, June 28, 2006. EPSRC Statement on Access to Research Outputs


Avatar of: Yesh Sachdeva

Yesh Sachdeva

Posts: 1

June 28, 2006

This might result in an early disclosure of valuable research and lend in to the hands of undesired entities. Such entities might not utilize the findings for human kind.
Avatar of: Stevan Harnad

Stevan Harnad

Posts: 7

June 28, 2006

Bravo UK! Although we had rather hoped for a more concerted consensus from RCUK, nevertheless, with 3 out of 8 councils mandating Open Access Self-Archiving, 1 out of 8 strongly encouraging it, and 4 still to decide, that is still enough to restore the UK's commanding lead in worldwide OA Policy today.

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