The group met at the Jisc offices in London, chaired by Professor Martin Hall.  We heard updates from all members:

  • Research Councils described planning for the 2014 review of their OA policy, stressing its independent status, and that there will be a call for evidence, on the impact of and the effect on the policy.  A recent RIN report commissioned by the Councils illustrates the problems that many universities might have in providing information to inform that review.
  • eLife noted that a recent OASPA meeting included several discussions on hybrid journals, and that the general view was that hybrid journals as currently implemented are not an effective transitional model.
  • UCL described local initiatives covering establishment of a publication fund and arrangements to monitor its use, and of UCL Press.  UCL is of the view that the recommendations of the recent BISCOM report are broadly correct.
  • Jisc welcomed OUP joining the OAPEN-UK project, and Jisc is also in discussions with Knowledge Unlatched.  Jisc is working with universities and publishers to make sure workflows to pay APCs meet funder needs.  Relatedly, the Jisc-APC pilot is generating knowledge to inform a specification for the next phase.  Some of the major repository services funded by Jisc are being reviewed to inform their next phase.
  • RLUK will shortly issue a position paper on double-dipping.  This will outline principles, eg on transparency and total spend.  It will acknowledge legitimate transition costs, but note that these costs need to be associated with progress on transparency.  We noted that the Finch Report recommendation on access via public libraries has been rolled out to a small number of local authorities.  There is very limited access, and it excludes the BL.
  • The Wellcome Trust OA monograph policy came into force for grants from October 2013, including book chapters.  EuropePMC has now integrated with ORCID, and now 350,000 papers in EuropePMC have an ORCID.  The rate of compliance with the Wellcome OA policy is rising, now at 67%.  Wellcome is negotiating with publishers and agents such as CCC to ensure that hybrid articles really deliver, eg with clear and correct licensing information.  Wellcome, with support from others, has commissioned Bjork and Solomon to identify policy levers that a funder could use to make the APC market more functional.
  • PLOS issued its annual report last week, which shows healthy finances.  The finalists for the Accelerating Science Award Program were announced; text and videos are available, and a booklet will be made available. The winners will be announced during OA week.  There are some excellent stories of the benefits of OA among them.  PLOS continues to work on the logistics of APC payments, with European partners DFG and Max Planck.
  • SCONUL has released a report on OA, including several useful case studies giving a flavour of what is happening in the sector.  It is planning a roundtable on differential pricing, in the Autumn.
  • AMRC is discussing OA with its members; there is broad support for OA but concerns about its implementation, where costs transfer from library to funder.  AMRC will produce a position statement for members, but will need to consider what happens after the transition.  AMRC wants to see a position where everyone who benefits, contributes.  This needs to be easy to use, fair, and not burdensome.  At present, AMRC members do not have a clear picture of the future and how to get there; they feel the system is disconnected and they have few levers.

Next steps

OAIG noted that the BISCOM report highlighted concerns that HEIs have to find extra funds for APCs to go to profitable publishers.  The Finch Report created consensus support for Gold OA from funders and publishers, but the costs of the transition seem to be too high for many HEIs.  Publishers are relying on funders and HEIs to pay the transition in publishers’ business models.  There now needs to be tangible progress on differential pricing for the UK if confidence in the process among HEIs is to be sustained.  There are several forms that this might take, for example Jisc Collections is negotiating on the basis of linking subscriptions and APCs.

OAIG noted that research funders in several other countries have opted not to support hybrid journals, and others are very cautious about it.

OAIG operation

The Group agreed that:

  • OAIG’s focus is on implementation and coordination, not advocacy.
  • OAIG’s membership should stay broadly as-is.  However, some new members representing learned societies would be sought.
  • The Finch Review report and its implications should be an agenda item for the next OAIG meeting.
  • OAIG would sanction the formation of task groups, for example to focus on particular topics, working with those outside the group.
  • OAIG meetings should be less frequent, three times a year, but longer; half day meetings in London.
  • The OAIG secretariat should now pass from Jisc to the RLUK Executive Director.
  • The next meeting will be 1pm on Wednesday 4th December.

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