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Lessons from the Road to 100% Open Access


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Slides from a talk at the annual conference of the Deutsche Physikalische Gesell­schaft e. V. (DPG) in Berlin (18/03/2015). I summarise the current OA policy landscape in the UK, use Imperial College London as an example of how a research-intensive university approaches these issues and then take a look at the (UK) data on the cost of open access and total cost of ownership.

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Lessons from the Road to 100% Open Access

  1. 1. Großbritannien - Erfahrungen auf dem Weg zu 100% Open Access // Lessons from the Road to 100% OA DPG-Jahrestagung 2015, 18th March 2015 Dr Torsten Reimer (@torstenreimer / Scholarly Communications Officer, Imperial College London
  2. 2. Outline 1. UK: The Bumpy Road to Open Access 2. Towards Solutions: OA at Imperial College 3. Open Access and Total Cost of Ownership 4. Conclusion
  3. 3. Imperial College London • Seven London campuses • Four Faculties: Engineering, Medicine, Natural Sciences, Business School • Ranked 2nd in the world (QS University Ranking) • Net income (2014): £855m, incl. £351m research grants and contracts • ~15,000 students, ~7,200 staff, incl. ~3,700 academic & research staff • Staff publish ~10,000 scholarly articles per year
  4. 4. Imperial Open Access Options • College Preference for Green OA • Green OA • Symplectic Elements (CRIS) • Spiral (DSpace repository) • Gold OA (2014-15): • ASK OA (APC management) • RCUK fund: £1,35m • Charity Open Access Fund: £381,000 • College fund: £500,000 • Existing project budgets • Uptake of Gold > Green
  5. 5. Wellcome Trust OA Policy WT early adopter, drives OA policy development. Policy requires peer-reviewed papers to be available through Europe PMC (& monographs!) Funds for CC BY publications available through the institution. Current sector compliance ~2/3, WT introducing sanctions. Imperial fund management described as “exemplary”. Fund now includes other charities: Charities OA Fund (COAF).
  6. 6. 2012 – Finch Report and Shift to Gold OA • Driver: boost UK’s digital economy; research public good. • In June 2012 UK government accepts report of the “Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings” (aka Finch Group). • Recommends to make publicly funded research outputs available as OA, with a preference for Gold. • Controversial, some criticise publisher influence. CC BY
  7. 7. RCUK Policy on Open Access • Policy replaces earlier approach (2005) to pay for OA from project budgets. • Effective from April 2013. • All RCUK-funded papers to be OA within 5 years. • 75% gold, 25% green OA • Gold: CC BY; green 6-12(24) month embargo periods. • RCUK allocates annual OA budget to universities. • Responsibility to support and enforce lies with university. naccess/policy/
  8. 8. Issues Around OA Fund Management Publishers/journals • Pricing and OA conditions often difficult to identify for authors • Journal OA policies still changing • Journals offer non-compliant licences • Invoicing per individual article • Invoices lack relevant information (such as article title, licence) • Invoices not always sent to correct address • Articles only published after payment received • Publishers sometimes claim copyright for CC BY articles or keep them behind paywalls • Outdated page and colour charges add complexity (and costs) Funders • Lack of harmonisation of funder policies • Could sometimes be clearer on compliance procedures Universities • Standard invoice payment time is 30 days
  9. 9. College performance in the 2020 REF will depend on open access to research outputs – currently linked to ~£100m annual income
  10. 10. Post-2014 REF Policy as Game Changer for Open Access “The core of this policy is as follows: to be eligible for submission to the post-2014 REF, outputs must have been deposited in an institutional or subject repository on acceptance for publication, and made open-access within a specified time period. […]. Only articles and proceedings accepted for publication after 1 April 2016 will need to fulfil these requirements, but we would strongly urge institutions to implement the policy now.”  Applies across all funders, aim to get as close to 100% OA as possible  Gold OA does not help: Green OA, on acceptance (with embargos)  From part-automated to fully manual process – dependent on author  However, chance for academia to significantly boost OA
  11. 11. Author action RCUK* compliant Wellcome** compliant HEFCE post- 2014 REF compliant NIHR compliant (APC paid for) Immediate OA in a journal     (APC paid for) Immediate OA in a journal with CC BY licence     (APC paid for) Immediate OA in a journal with CC BY licence and publisher deposit to EuropePMC    *** Deposit, following publication, of accepted/final version with compliant embargo     Deposit, following publication, of accepted/final version with compliant embargo and deposit to EuropePMC     Deposit on acceptance with closed access/on request with compliant embargo     Deposit on acceptance with immediate access     Deposit on acceptance with immediate access and deposit to EuropePMC     Compliance tables by Ruth Harrison (
  12. 12. Outline 1. UK: The Bumpy Road to Open Access 2. Towards Solutions: OA at Imperial College 3. Open Access and Total Cost of Ownership 4. Conclusion
  13. 13. Imperial College Open Access Project Open Access Project (OAP) working group Project Manager / Scholarly Communications Officer OA Implementation Group (OAIG) Library Team Leader: Education and Research Support Scholarly Communications Support Manager 5 OA Support Assistants Education and Research Support Assistant Team Leader: Systems and Innovation Support Services ICT Business Systems Analyst Senior Information Officer Team Leader: Research and Academic Support Research Office (Scholarly Communications Officer) Head of Research Systems and Information College Headquarters Research Officer OAP members: • Chair: Associate Provost: Academic Partnerships • Academic representatives of the faculties • College Secretary • Director of the Graduate School • Director of Library Services • Director of the Research Office (Institutional OA Champion) • Senior Planning Officer • Project Manager / Scholarly Communications Officer
  14. 14. APC Process Improvements Fund Management 09/2013 Fund Management 09/2014 3 application forms, supported by 4 spreadsheets 1 application form supported by online database and fund management tool No way for authors to save drafts or revisit past applications Authors can save drafts and revisit past application All information added manually by authors Author data entry significantly reduced, data feeds from staff directory, grants system etc. Information exchanged via email and phone Tasks delegated through system Invoices go to authors Invoices go to the library Backlog Average response time: one working day 30 days invoice payment time Aim to pay within 5-10 working days Manual reporting through spreadsheets Reporting from single data source
  15. 15. ASK Open Access
  16. 16. Article published CRIS detects publication, prompts author Author claims output, ideally deposits manuscript APC application Article published OA Current Publications/OA Workflows 1) Two separate workflows 2) “On acceptance” takes away centrepiece of green OA workflow (notification on publication)
  17. 17. 2015 REF OA Compliance Trial To provide and, following feedback from the academic community, refine systems and processes to enable authors to comply with the REF OA requirements. To ensure academic awareness of and engagement with the REF OA requirements. To provide a single workflow / point of contact for green and gold open access, thereby facilitating not only HEFCE but also RCUK and COAF compliance and wider OA uptake. To trial additional services such as mediated deposit and a licensing advice service. To provide reporting to departments, faculties and the College centre, enabling the College to identify issues well before April 2016 and to engage with HEFCE based on evidence.
  18. 18. Gold and Green – Single (draft!) Workflow
  19. 19. Current process Ideal REF process? Work on REF “on acceptance” Workflow Article published CRIS detects publication, collects metadata Author claims output, ideally adds manuscript (Manuscript deposited) Article accepted Authors uploads manuscript with metadata Metadata made public Manuscript deposited (closed with embargo) Article published CRIS detects publication, ideally updates metadata, manual intervention may be required Article accepted Publishers share manuscript and metadata Metadata made public, Manuscript deposited Article published CRIS detects publication and claims automatically REF process
  20. 20. ORCID – Open Researcher and Contributor ID • Emerging global standard for identifying authors of academic outputs • Allows systems like Symplectic to automatically identify your outputs • Will reduce burden for reporting with increasing support from funders • Might play a role in supporting REF open access policy • The College created ORCID identifiers for academic and research staff in December – within 7 weeks 1,200 colleagues linked their iD back to College systems
  21. 21. New Approach to Licensing CC BY NC • Give academics more control over their outputs • Reduce admin overheard (embargos, checking publisher policies) • Ensure green OA meets funder requirements Two options for universities: • SPARC Addendum • Harvard-style policy
  22. 22. Outline 1. UK: The Bumpy Road to Open Access 2. Towards Solutions: OA at Imperial College 3. Open Access and Total Cost of Ownership 4. Conclusion
  23. 23. Cost of OA - Resourcing Imperial College OA data: • Gold OA requires ~3x management effort of Green OA per article • and about twice the time from academics, in particular hybrid journals Hypothetical scenarios, assuming 1h per deposit and 3h per gold application, for 10K articles per year and average APC of £1,800: • 100% REF compliant: 6 FTE • 100% REF + 40% Gold (assuming efficiencies): 11 FTE + £7m APC • 100% Gold: 20 FTE + £18m APC Potential to reduce costs through prepayment deals – but concerns about some of the current offers.
  24. 24. Counting the Costs of OA • Cost of compliance with RCUK OA policy in 2013/14: £9.2m • Estimated cost for 2020 REF OA requirements: £4-5m • Per article cost: • Gold : 2 hours / £81 • Green: 45+ min / £33 • Significant scope for efficiency savings
  25. 25. Wellcome Trust release APC Data, 2012-13 • WT released data on 2012- 2013 APC spend: 9.figshare.963054 • Data cleaned up and analysed by the community ( • 2129 APC, 94 publishers • Michelle Brook’s analysis highlights massive spend on hybrid journals: “In Oct 2012 – Sept 2013, academics spent £3.88 million to publish articles in journals with immediate online access – of which £3.17 million (82 % of costs, 74 % of papers) was paying for publications that Universities would then be charged again for.” journals-publishing/
  26. 26. WT Data highlights Cost and Quality of Service Issues WT highlights the following issues: • Content remaining hidden behind pay-walls; • Content not available in PMC/Europe PMC; • Missing, incorrect, or contradictory licence; • CC-BY licensed articles still linked to sites where readers may be charged. “In summary we contacted 20 publishers in relation to 150 articles (approximately 7% of the total number of articles for which an APC had been paid).” “The bigger issue concerns the high cost of hybrid open access publishing, which we have found to be nearly twice that of born- digital fully open access journals.” access-publishing-a-progress-report/
  27. 27. The Issue with Hybrid Journals Academia pays twice: through subscription and APC (“double dipping”). Very few hybrids “flipping” to Gold; limited (but growing) number of “offsetting” options. Developing an Effective Market for Open Access Article Processing Charges: • Average APCs vary from $1,418 (OA journal) to $2,097 (OA journal, subscription publisher) and $2,727 (hybrid journal) • Full OA journal market seen as functioning • Hybrid market extremely dysfunctional issues/Open-access/Guides/WTP054773.htm
  28. 28. “Total Cost of Publication” Based on data from 23 HEI (incl. Imperial) 2007-2014. ‘Hybrid’ subscription/OA journals consistently more expensive (£1,849) than fully-OA journals (£1,136). APCs constitute 10% of total cost of ownership for publishing (excluding administrative costs).
  29. 29. Universities release APC Data Access_APC_data_2013_14_/1146256 1117888 014/1150253 edinburgh-open-access-update-april-2014/ 1060243
  30. 30. RCUK Review of OA
  31. 31. Data from the Imperial College Response to RCUK Category Numbers Papers estimated to relate to RCUK projects ~4,000 Sample known to relate to RCUK-projects 1,326 Papers from sample published as Gold OA 709 Papers from sample deposited in Spiral 31 Total spend from RCUK fund £299,492.12 Average APC paid from RCUK fund £1,837 Spend on hybrid journals £252,683.02 Average hybrid APC £1,974 Average APC for full OA journals £1,337 CC BY
  32. 32. Outline 1. UK: The Bumpy Road to Open Access 2. Towards Solutions: OA at Imperial College 3. Open Access and Total Cost of Ownership 4. Conclusion
  33. 33. Conclusions • Sustainability of Gold OA at current prices: • £163m subscriptions vs • £245m Gold OA for UK • Hybrid journals deliver less and cost more • Need to make (OA) publication processes more efficient • Understand TCO, negotiate OA and subscriptions together • HEFCE policy challenge and chance – trigger for change