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Plan S and Humanities Researchers - UCL Town Hall meeting

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Presentation by Prof Margot Finn (UCL History) at UCL Plan S Town Hall meeting 8 January 2019

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Plan S and Humanities Researchers - UCL Town Hall meeting

  1. 1. Plan S and Humanities Researchers Margot Finn, UCL History Department
  2. 2. Declarations of interest • OA advocacy/engagement: UCL Press Executive; UCL Press Author; Royal Historical Society OA book series (New Historical Perspectives); • Gold OA scepticism/pragmatism: RHS Camden and (hybrid) TRHS; 3 US/UK journal editorial boards; successive CUP monograph series co- editorships; director of research and REF lead, UCL History Department; • Humanities & Social Sciences with a twist: Vournakis et al., ‘Sequence and structure analysis of end-labeled RNA with nucleases’ (1981); founding director of a university IAS that stretches from Humanities through the sciences and maths to medicine.
  3. 3. ‘Two Cultures’ approaches are inadequate to the task of ‘science’ in the European sense; science (Wissenschaft) benefits from being a house with many mansions.
  4. 4. OA can (and should) be a jolly good thing Since 15 February 2018, the book has been downloaded 18,744 times in 147 countries/territories, including 761 UCL Discovery downloads from India, 217 from Pakistan and 32 from Bangladesh. Why haven’t you proposed a title (monograph, edited volume, textbook) for UCL Press?
  5. 5. Gold OA is often problematic for authors in the Humanities due to the nature of their research. • Data: 3rd-party rights limit access to many kinds of Humanities data, complicating Gold OA and the use of CC BY licences; • Funding: much UK Humanities research is self-funded, or funded from student fees, endowments, university press revenues or supported by non- Plan S charities. These sources (like QR) do not offer funding for Gold OA APCs and BPCs. Outside the UK/Europe, APC/BPC funding is exiguous; • Methodology: some Humanities methodologies comport with ‘open science’ agendas, but much qualitative data and research is ill-suited for these protocols. ‘Reproducibility’ differs across the Humanities and between Humanities and other ‘sciences’; many Humanities researchers view CC BY ND as an essential barrier to research misconduct (plagiarism).
  6. 6. What proportion of History journal articles are funded by research councils & Wellcome? • In a sample of 342 articles published in 12 UK History journals in 2017, the research of only 12% of authors (ranging from 0% to 24.3% in individual journals) had been funded by Plan S signatories (UK research councils, ERC and Wellcome Trust). For UK authors, the overall average was only 9.8%. • 242 authors (70.8%) recorded no external funding of any kind in their acknowledgements/author notes.
  7. 7. Among the many elephants in the room is the question of who is to pay the Humanities piper?
  8. 8. A further elephant is ECR access to Gold OA publication. Both precarity and self-funding are the common lot of UK ECRs in the Humanities.
  9. 9. And then there is the international context….
  10. 10. Gold Open Access is a good, not the only good. And in Humanities, it’s also quite complicated.

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