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Lords Science Committee recommend further changes to RCUK's revised open access policy and guidance

The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee has written to Research Councils UK welcoming the publication of its revised open access policy but calling for three further changes to the policy to ensure that there is absolute clarity.

The Committee's letter reasserts recommendations they made in their report The implementation of open access, published in February.

 The three areas the Committee call for greater clarity on are:

  • RCUK must simplify its guidance on embargo periods. The Committee want RCUK to make explicit that where Article Processing Charge funding is not available during the transition period to full open access authors of research can publish in journals with longer embargo periods than RCUK wish to see in the future;
  •  The Committee welcomes RCUK's commitment to review the open access policy in 2014. However, it calls on RCUK to confirm that possible unintended consequences on peer review and the number of academic collaborations will feature on the list of issues the review will consider; 
  • Furthermore, the Committee calls for RCUK to clarify what action, or strategy for action, will result from the 2014 review so that it is clear how it will act upon the evidence received. The Committee restate its recommendation that RCUK should commit to a 2016 review and a 5 year end stage assessment given the complexities of the issues and as the jury is still out on the suitability of the gold model for all disciplines.

 Commenting Lord Krebs, Chairman of the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee, said:

“We are pleased that RCUK has listened to the majority of concerns we raised in our recent report on open access and has taken steps to improve its policy and guidance. However, RCUK still has some way to go. It must simply state that longer embargo periods are acceptable where funding for gold open access is not available - with no ifs, buts or caveats.

 “One of the key safeguards to the policy is a commitment to review the impact of open access in 2014. We welcome that commitment but call on RCUK to confirm that the impact of open access on peer review and collaboration between academics will form a part of that review. We also want RCUK to give some indication of what action or strategy for action will result from the review.”


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