Focus on Open Access at the University of the West of England

As part of Open Access week, yesterday I presented at a lunchtime session at the University of Western England  (my slides are below) as part of a week of activies. The attendees were an even mix of academic and library staff which made for a lively discussion. I was very impressed by the high level of support for the repository and the engagement of the staff at UWE. I thoroughly enjoyed the discussion – it’s a real treat to delve into the issues that are critical in making OA really work. So thanks to those who took part and to Anna Lawson and Alex Clarke (the repository team) for inviting me.

I’ve summarised the issues below:

  • The current system of academic reward based on publication in high impact journals supports the status quo. There is a need to widen this to include other impact measures such as engagement with business and influence on policy making. Although, the difficulty of measuring this was acknowledged.
  • The importance to societies of the income from journal subscriptions.
  • The repository or “Green route” was viewed favourably but it was important to make self deposit as streamlined as possible – rekeying of information is a real barrier.
  • There was a lot of interest in the costs of gold publishing and the likelihood of this business model becoming the norm.
  • One academic was reluctant to deposit their own final copy rather than the published version as it hadn’t been copy edited. Although for the end reader, they may not be too worried about a few mistakes if the alternative was a cost to view it. Another academic recounted an experience where the publisher’s editing had had the opposite effect and the author’s final version was the more correct one.
  • The cost of closed access was discussed – particularly its impact on library budgets.
  • Metrics on use need to include a full picture e.g. downloads from publishers sites plus downloads from the repository. The JISC funded PIRUS 2 project has been exploring just this scenario. There was some concern that downloads may detract from use of the published version but it was agreed that the repository downloads could well be in addition to the traditional subscription access.
  • Mandates which required staff to deposit their research in the repository were seen as a valued indication of institutional support but the most important thing was the enthusiasm among the academic community.
  • The curation of research data and the issues around making this open access were raised. UWE has recently been awarded JISC funding for a Managing Research data project.
Slides UWE_261011

Photo by Hopeless128

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About Jackie Wickham
I am based at the Centre for Research Communications at the University of Nottingham. I work on the JISC funded Repositories Support Project which supports the development and growth of the UK repositories network.

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