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International Open Access Week 2012

International OA Week is currently in progress, with events taking place all over to raise awareness of what open access means for research, scholarly communication and researchers. The aim is to open up research publications so that instead of having to pay to read a journal article, a charge is made for the article to be published, and this article is then openly available for access and re-use. This means that there aren’t the restrictions to reading and finding out about research that exist now.

There are lots of debates about open access, and what impact it will have on libraries, institutions, publishers and researchers. There are also a number of myths, one that authors will now have to cover the costs for their research to be published, and another that open access means poor quality research being published. Authors will be asked to pay a charge, but this is being met by funders in many cases, and here at Imperial, as at other institutions, an open access publication fund exists so that publication costs can be covered by the College. Publishers are starting to introduce schemes providing discounts on open access fees or re-funding open access fees if an institution has paid for journal subscriptions, such as the Royal Society of Chemistry. And quality will not be affected, publishers and editors of open access journals ensure the same peer review standards as for subscription journals.

The Library is managing a number of funds for the College to help authors meet funder requirements and enable researchers to publish in open access journals without having to fund charges themselves. Very soon, there is likely to be a significant increase in open access publications because RCUK is requiring all RCUK-funded research outputs to be published open access, and will be making funds available for this. More information about their revised policy is here (PDF).

For more information about the open access movement, how you can make your work open access, and to read more about the debate, see the Library’s open access web pages. In addition the Science Communication Forum has organised 2 debates this year about open access and you can listen to these here and here.

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