On “United Kingdom’s Open Access Policy Urgently Needs a Tweak,” by Stevan Harnad

On “United Kingdom’s Open Access Policy Urgently Needs a Tweak,” by Stevan Harnad

In “United Kingdom’s Open Access Policy Urgently Needs a Tweak,” Stevan Harnad points out a flaw in the Research Councils UK (RCUK) policy released in 2012 that resolved to make any RCUK-funded research open access within 2 years. The issue, as Harnad sees it, is that the RCUK has agreed to direct more funds to Gold OA (i.e., open access journal publishing) over Green OA (i.e., OA repository deposit). This will not make researchers publish OA, Harnad argues, as it is not a researcher- or institution-focused mandate. Further, it will encourage publishers to 1) raise the cost of publishing OA (where possible), and 2) extend Green OA embargo periods longer than RCUK requires in order to force authors’ hands to publish Gold OA over Green OA.

“All of this can be easily remedied,” Harnad writes. “RCUK can drop the requirement to choose Gold over Green when both are offered” (n.p., emphasis in original). This would work because the RCUK already has a Green OA mandate. The RCUK doesn’t need to provide more funds to publishers via a Gold OA mandate; rather, Harnard argues, it should focus on how to encourage compliance with the OA regulations already in place.

Work cited

Harnad, Stevan. 2012. “United Kingdom’s Open Access Policy Urgently Needs a Tweak.” D-Lib Magazine 18 (9/10): n.p.

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