20 July 2012

Open access support from RSC

The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) has announced a new scheme to help researchers pay for open access publishing.

“UK institutes who are RSC Gold customers will shortly receive credit equal to the subscription paid, enabling their researchers, who are being asked to publish Open Access but often do not yet have funding to pay for it directly, to make their paper available via Open Science, the RSC's Gold OA option.”

This follows a series of events that are reshaping the way research outputs are published. Over the last month there has been a flood of announcements about making publicly funded research outputs available to anyone for free (open access). The UK Government has backed a transition to open access, with the release of the report of the Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings (Finch report) which stated:

“The principle that the results of research that has been publicly funded should be freely accessible in the public domain is a compelling one, and fundamentally unanswerable.”

On 28 June The Wellcome Trust announced that it will be re-enforcing its open access mandate, with sanctions for institutions on non-compliance including future grant payments being withheld. Earlier this week RCUK announced a new policy on open access to research outputs, significantly strengthening the existing requirements for grant holders to ensure their peer-reviewed articles are freely available to all, and the following day the European Commission released a similar message:

“Scientific data: open access to research results will boost Europe's innovation capacity” (EU press release)

The new RCUK and EU policies continue to allow articles to be accessible either:
  • Directly by the publisher (usually through payment of a fee), known as ‘Gold’ open access; or
  • Through deposit of an author version in an open access repository (often after a limited embargo period) known as ‘Green’ open access.

There is much debate about how these changes will be managed, funded and resourced. In the meantime, this is an interesting and positive commitment from RSC to help researchers benefit from open access publishing and meet their funders’ requirements.

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