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IOP Publishing | science first

Quick guide to 10 recent open access policy and positioning statements


1. G8 Ministers of Science statement (June 2013)

The first ever meeting of G8 joint Science Ministers and national science academies issued a statement in June 2013 that focused heavily on open access.

In the section on ‘Open Scientific Research Data’, the Ministers said that they are “committed to openness in scientific research data to speed up the progress of scientific discovery, create innovation, ensure that the results of scientific research are as widely available as practical, enable transparency in science and engage the public in the scientific process.”

In the section on ‘Expanding Access to Scientific Research Results’, the ministers said they “recognise that there are different routes to open access (green, gold and other innovative models) which need to be explored and potentially developed in a complementary way”.

G8 consists of the heads of state or government of some of the largest industrial democracies – France, the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Italy, Canada and Russia.

2. Global Research Council Action Plan (May 2013)

The Global Research Council released an Action Plan towards Open Access to Publications during their 2nd Annual Global Meeting, in Berlin in May 2013.

The plan recognises that: “Research funders will [need to] provide support for their grantees to encourage and enable them in making their works openly accessible with suitable means, e.g. through open access policies, through addressing copyright, or through dedicated open access funding.” And that “Individual policies that are based upon these principles will need to be re-evaluated on a regular basis to possibly modify and further improve them.”

The Global Research Council is a virtual organisation, comprised of the heads of science and engineering funding agencies from around the world. There is no member list website, but the governing council includes people from Germany, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Japan, China, Europe, Canada, US, Russia and India.

3. UNESCO OA policy (May 2013)

From July 2013, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will make all its new digital publications available with an open license.

As one of the first steps, UNESCO will make these publications available online through a multilingual repository.

UNESCO has an Open Access to Scientific Information Strategy, and maintains the Global Open Access Portal (GOAP).

4. RCUK policy (UK) (April 2013)

The Research Councils UK (RCUK) Open Access policy that came into effect in April 2013 mandated that research funded by them should be published on an open access basis.

The UK government and the RCUK have endorsed a decision tree diagram that explains the routes to publishing on an open access basis.

5. Science Europe (April 2013)

Science Europe is a Brussels-based association of 51 European national research organisations founded in October 2011.

In April 2013 they released a position statement on the Principles for the Transition to Open Access to Research Publications. The statement recognises "The benefits of Open Access are clear; furthermore, the technology available allows for a decisive move towards making Open Access a reality. The ultimate goal is to move to a new and sustainable system of scholarly communication of Open Access that guarantees the highest quality of publications and maximises the impact of research results".

The statement also says that the Association "will continue to support any valid approaches to achieve Open Access, including those commonly referred to as the ‘green’ and ‘gold’ routes".

6. Office Science Technology Policy (USA) (February 2013)

The Office Science Technology Policy (OSTP) has stated that it is committed to the proposition that citizens deserve easy access to the results of scientific research their tax dollars have paid for.

OSTP Director John Holdren has directed Federal agencies with more than $100M in R&D expenditures to develop plans to make the published results of federally funded research freely available to the public within one year of publication and requiring researchers to better account for and manage the digital data resulting from federally funded scientific research.

Read the memorandum.

7. HEFCE proposal (UK) (February 2013)

In February 2013, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) released a document inviting advice on developing the four UK funding bodies’ joint policy on open access.

The letter sets out a draft policy under which any submission to the post-2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercise would have to be published on an open access basis, either gold or green.

The REF system requires researchers to nominate their best samples of work for assessment. The proposal means that any work that was not deposited in the institutional repository at the time of acceptance cannot be nominated. This proposal has the potential to alter researcher depositing behaviour in the UK.

HEFCE received a large number of responses to its letter and expects to begin the formal consultation process sometime in Spring 2013 and to have its policy in place by the end of 2013.

8. Australian Research Council (January 2013)

The Australian Research Council (ARC) has introduced a new open access policy for ARC funded research which took effect from 1 January 2013. Under this policy the ARC requires that any publications arising from an ARC supported research project be deposited into an open access institutional repository within a twelve month period from the date of publication.

9. Irish National Principles on Open Access Policy Statement (January 2013)

Ireland’s Minister of State, Department of Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation and Department of Education and Skills, Sean Sherlock, launched the National Principles on Open Access Policy Statement on 23 October 2012. It suggests deposit on acceptance with immediate release of metadata and access to full text provided after any required embargo. The statement refers to interoperability, meaning that researchers should only have to deposit work once and allow harvesting to occur rather than re-depositing work.

10. European Commission (July 2012)

The European Commission outlined in July 2012 measures to improve access to scientific information produced in Europe.

As a first step, the Commission will make open access to scientific publications a general principle of Horizon 2020, the EU's Research & Innovation funding programme for 2014–2020. As of 2014, all articles produced with funding from Horizon 2020 will have to be accessible through one of the following routes:

  • articles will either immediately be made accessible online by the publisher (gold open access), with publication costs eligible for reimbursement by the European Commission, or
  • researchers will make their articles available through an open access repository no later than six months (12 months for articles in the fields of social sciences and humanities) after publication (green open access).

The Commission has also recommended that Member States take a similar approach to the results of research funded under their own domestic programmes. The goal is for 60% of European publicly-funded research articles to be available under open access by 2016.

Read more.