Government Funding for Open Access
On September 7th the Minister of State for Universities and Science, David Willetts, made a speech outlining the next phase of the Government's response to the Finch Report. He announced a £10 million allocation to the publication procurement budgets of 30 research intensive universities. This is intended to ensure that all publicly-funded research coming from these institutions will be published as open access papers, where the author pays if immediate global access is provided.
Laura Bellingan, Head of Policy at the Society of Biology, said: “Commitment to funding public access to the results of publicly funded research is a right and equitable move. We now need to get the mechanisms in place to achieve this while continuing full-scale investment in research and support for the research community.
“The Society of Biology welcomes this move which recognises that ensuring the greatest possible access to the UK’s publicly-funded research will not be without cost. It will be important to continue to support transition costs across the research sector but we agree with the the hope that it will bring significant benefits. Early clarity on policy from Government and the Research Councils alongside support gives the best opportunity to adapt to the changing world of research communication. The learned community works enormously hard to support researchers and the environment for research, and makes a significant contribution to the very high productivity of the UK R&D sector. We want to see that contribution continue and grow, and for that we believe a vibrant community of scientific learned societies is essential.”
Sue Thorn, Chair of the Society’s Research Dissemination Committee, said: “I welcome the announcement from David Willetts. Open access is clearly here to stay and it is encouraging that the Minister's open access deadline of 2014, as announced in July, is being supported by practical measures such as the £10m support for research-intensive universities and the RCUK funding allocation announced today. The announcements are game changers for the dissemination of UK research outputs and for academic journal publishing. It is to be hoped that today's announcement will be mirrored by other legislative bodies such as the EU and USA.”
The thirty institutions will receive funding via the RCUK and UK Higher Education funding councils to facilitate the transition to open access to publicly-funded research findings. The investment accompanies the existing RCUK support payments of Article Processing Charges available through block funding grants from next April.
The Society of Biology will continue to discuss these matters with BIS and the Research Councils.