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The problem

The transition towards open access has been a lengthy process thus far, resulting in a lack of clarity for all parties involved and increased costs. Policies are numerous and differ between organisations and countries. There is no clear pan-European target. Besides, there is little comparable information on the status and development of open access in the various countries, and on the costs of access to academic publications. Although some information is already being collected and exchanged at various levels, the overall approach is fragmented and data cannot always be compared.

The solution

  • Reinforce and align open access strategies and policies at the national level and facilitate their coordination among all Member States.
  • Unify and accelerate initiatives by stakeholders, national authorities and the European Commission by exchanging information at the European level, for example about the targets set in the various Member States and how those targets should be achieved.
  • Formulate a clear pan-European target: from 2020 all new publications are available through open access from the date of publication. 
  • Implement monitoring and stocktaking at regular intervals about the progress made by all parties: the Commission, the Member States and stakeholders. 



Concrete actions

  • National authorities and the European Commission: agree on a 100% target for 2020 and regular monitoring and stocktaking. Establish standards, systems and services for monitoring and reporting, and monitor progress through the European Research Area (ERA) Monitoring Mechanism (EMM) and through the National Points of Reference on Open Access, and regularly refine plans to achieve these targets based on information from monitoring. 
  • Research funders and Research Performing Organisations: develop open access plans, including the provision of necessary infrastructures and services, share expertise and use harmonised data, e.g. by setting up and coordinating platforms for monitoring and networks of expertise. 



Expected positive effects

  • A clear target combined with increased momentum and critical mass, leading to real change;
  • More clarity for researchers on how to meet open access requirements;
  • Better insight into available open access initiatives and developments. 
  • Continual improvement and refinement of implementation plans
  • No labels

6 Comments

  1. What seems relevant to observe here is that different stakeholders may have conflicting interests. Which means they can not be all “in control”. In some scenarios for the transition to open science there will be stakeholders that will lose. An attempt to portray the process as a “win-win” may be politically attractive, but it is not realistic.

    Martin Stokhof, on behalf of the Open Access Working Group of the European Research Council


    Proposed changes:

    The problem

    The transition towards open access has been a lengthy process thus far, resulting in a lack of clarity for all parties involved and increased costs. Policies are numerous and differ between organisations and countries. There is no clear pan-European target. Besides, there is little comparable information on the status and development of open access in the various countries, and on the costs of access to academic publications. Although some information is already being collected and exchanged at various levels, the overall approach is fragmented and data cannot always be compared. What is clear is that at some points different stakeholders have different interests and that there is no guarantee that in the transition to open science every party will win: some losses are unavoidable.

    The solution

    • Reinforce and align open access strategies and policies at the national level and facilitate their coordination among all Member States.
    • Unify and accelerate initiatives by stakeholders, national authorities and the European Commission by exchanging information at the European level, for example about the targets set in the various Member States and how those targets should be achieved.
    • Formulate a clear pan-European target: from 2020 all new publications are available through open access from the date of publication. 
    • Implement monitoring and stocktaking at regular intervals about the progress made by all parties: the Commission, the Member States and stakeholders. 

    Concrete actions

    • National authorities and the European Commission: agree on a 100% target for 2020 and regular monitoring and stocktaking. Establish standards, systems and services for monitoring and reporting, and monitor progress through the European Research Area (ERA) Monitoring Mechanism (EMM) and through the National Points of Reference on Open Access, and regularly refine plans to achieve these targets based on information from monitoring. 
    • State clearly that the transition to open science is not a guaranteed “win-win”, and accept that you need to take decisions that will cause losses for some stakeholders.
    • Research funders andResearch Performing Organisations: develop open access plans, including the provision of necessary infrastructures and services, share expertise and use harmonised data, e.g. by setting up and coordinating platforms for monitoring and networks of expertise. 

    Expected positive effects

    • A clear target combined with increased momentum and critical mass, leading to real change;
    • More clarity for researchers on how to meet open access requirements;
    • Better insight into available open access initiatives and developments. 
    • Continual improvement and refinement of implementation plans
  2. Anonymous

    Is it realistic to assume that all memberstates can reach the target 100% open access 2020 or would it be more realistic to go for 2025?  I would say the latter./Lisbeth Söderqvist, Swedish Research Council.

  3. Anonymous

    Under 'The solution' I don't think the third point is realistic, as it is formulated now (100% immediate open access). It is also unclear what kind of publications this should include (journal articles? books? grey literature? everything?).

    The current rules in Horizon 2020 are that open access has to be provided within a maximum embargo period of 6 months (12 months in the Social Sciences and Humanities), and in many parts of Europe this is already considered a very ambitious goal. These rules only apply to peer-reviewed publications related to results from the project. The Commission does not consider that this includes (peer-reviewed) monographs or book chapters (while the ERC has clearly stated that these publication forms are included in its OA mandate). 

    Let's assume that by 2020 all peer-reviewed publications related to results from projects funded under Horizon 2020 will actually comply with the Horizon 2020 OA obligations and that all other funders across Europe will adopt similar or stricter rules, and these rules will be observed by the researchers they fund. Then I still don't see why anybody would expect that by 2020 suddenly all publications will not only be compliant with the 6/12 months rule but even be OA from the moment of publication (as nice as it would be).

    So I propose changing the third bullet point under 'The solution' as follows:

    • Formulate a clear pan-European target: from 2020 all new publications (including monographs, book chapters and other long-text publications) are available through open access, preferably from the date of publication but in any case not later than 6 months after publication (12 months for publications in the Social Sciences and Humanities)

     

    Dagmar Meyer, Brussels

  4. Anonymous

    Under 'Concrete actions', I propose changing the second bullet point as follows:

    Research funders and Research Performing Organisations: develop open access plans, including the provision of necessary infrastructures and services, the necessary awareness raising and the training of researchers on issues surrounding OA (such as OA licensing); share expertise and use harmonised data, e.g. by setting up and coordinating platforms for monitoring and networks of expertise.

     

    Dagmar Meyer, Brussels

  5. Anonymous

    Natalia Manola on behalf of OpenAIRE:

    Solution:

    • Support European-wide e-Infrastructures (both thematic and horizontal)
    • Align all national OA policies and requirements with H2020.
    • Establish policy observatories on the national, regional and European levels.

    Concrete actions:

    • Reinforce open access strategies and policies at the national level and facilitate their coordination and alignment with the basic requirements of H2020: Open Access through repositories with embargoes no longer than 6 or 12 (SS&H) months.
    • Support the creation of a European Open Access policy observatory, which is closely linked to the implementation aspects of open access for publication and data.
    • Come up with a minimum set of Open Science Key performance Indicators in all funded programs and set up interoperable national and EC e-Infrastructures to monitor these closely (existing e-Infrastructures like OpenAIRE can readily provide these services).
  6. Anonymous

    In terms of progressing open science/open scholarship there are initiatives that have been undertaken to monitor costs, transactions, licences, infrastructure etc. Agreement on what the measures are and how to assess progress should be pursued as suggested by Natalia. Some approaches that could be built upon: https://jiscmonitor.jiscinvolve.org/wp/ - Jisc monitor, Sherpa REF https://ref.sherpa.ac.uk/ and Pasteur4OA http://www.pasteur4oa.eu/, there are many others but I wanted to highlight these, Jisc monitor and Sherpa REF as examples of approaches and tools to analyse and monitor activity in the implementation of open access, these are by no means the whole picture but illustrate some methods that can be used to practically assess and collect data and anayse open access activity, and to aid compliance with policy. Pasteur4OA was of course featured at the Presidency Open Science Conference but I just wanted to note the effort and ensure the progress they have made in building a network to share policies and progress alignment is acknowledged. Pasteur4OA has looked at OA publications but also policy for research data too.

    Rachel Bruce, Jisc, UK