Skip to main content

Open Access in Estonia: the Information Society

Estonia is very advanced in e-government infrastructure compared to the UK. You can't fail to be impressed by its e-Resident initiative.  In 2007 it introduced a Mobile-ID for mobile phones that permits secure authentication and digital signatures. With a population of only about 1.5M the effects of government initiatives are seen quickly and data privacy is legally protected, including access to medical records which are owned by patients. It's fair to say that in this context Open Access and Open Data could be seen as a natural progression. The University of Tartu is leading in open scholarship - sixty-percent of Estonia's successfully defended doctoral theses are generated at Tartu annually. It also has six Centres of Research Excellence of which two are European Commission Centres of Excellence.

"In Estonia, anyone can go to a state forest and extract birch sap from a birch tree. "
Slide 12 from Estonian ICT Demo Center (2014) Estonian information society presentation slideshow
In 2012 it began participating in an 8-month project under the auspices of the EIFL (Electronic Information for Libraries) Open Access and Open Data in Estonia Project. The project lead was the University of Tartu Library (UTL).  Its main outcomes were:

  • Introducing policy change to the Estonian Research Council and the possibility of a national Open Access policy.
  • Minting digital object identifers (DOs). UTL has joined DataCite and is now minting its own digital object identifiers (DOIs) for research data sets.  St Andrews has been able to do this since April this year.
  • Training researchers in self-archiving resulting in a significant increase in deposit of accepted manuscripts into UTL's repository.
  • Publishing journals Open Access using the open journal system (OJS) platform.
  • Publishing monographs Open Access.  Tartu currently has 17 Open Access monographs on OAPEN.
  • A network of credible champions has been established to advocate Open Access among their peers.
These outcomes broadly reflect institutional experience in the UK although the UK seems much more advanced in metadata and standards.

Unlike the UK, there is no downward pressure from government on Open Access. Instead, UTL engaged with the Estonian Research Council to introduce its Open Access requirement for publicly-funded research.  However, there is no national Open Access mandate at this stage. Gold route publication is preferred. Deposit into institutional repositories is a precondition of research evaluation which is similar to Hefce's Open Access requirement commencing 1 April 2016. Researchers are permitted to use their research grants to pay publication costs which mirrors the position in Canada, China and the USA. But there are no supporting central funds such as the Research Councils UK block grant.

The Estonian government is committed to supporting the infrastructure of a modern information society. It will be interesting to see how it meets the socio-technical challenges imposed by copyright and publisher policies to give its citizens free access to its publicly-funded research - not just having the internet but seeing the content.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

We've now reached 8000 items in our repository!

Last week the St Andrews Research Repository reached a new milestone: 8000 items!

The last major content milestone we celebrated was when we reached 5000 items, this was back in February 2015. The blog post we wrote in recognition of this mentioned that the upsurge in activity was largely down to research funders and HEFCE (the folks behind the Research Excellence Framework) requiring authors to self-archive their publications. 17 months on and this trend is continuing.

In April 2016 the Research Excellence Framework open access policy came into effect (to find out more read our previous blog post). This means that to ensure compliance with the policy authors must deposit their accepted manuscripts for journal articles and conference proceedings into the University's research information system (Pure). To ensure all St Andrews researchers are aware of the policy we have been working hard to deliver the message: 'Act on acceptance: deposit in Pure'. This slogan, which is em…

Tickell report positive on the future of Open Access in the UK

Following the Burgess Review of Research Councils UK Open Access Policy and RCUK’s response, this report considers the wider scope of UK Open Access generally and how scholarly publishing markets and the policy landscape are developing including Open Data.

The advice was provided by Professor Adam Tickell, the respected Provost and Vice-Principal, University of Birmingham and Chair of Universities UK (UUK) Open Access Coordination Group.

Its main conclusion was positive on progress to date:
Open Access to research continues to be a public benefit and the UK remains a world leader. Research Councils UK should continue to support Gold Open Access charges. 
However, some changes are suggested in the recommendations.

Some key recommendations:
Universities should be encouraged to sign up to the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) UUK Open Access Coordination Group to support the development of agreed service standards around Gold UK Open Access policy should offer gr…

Open Access is here! Make sure you are ready

Open Access is now an essential feature of scholarly communications. As well as maximising visibility of the University’s research outputs, Open Access is now a requirement of many funders. It is also critical for ensuring eligibility for submission of journal articles and conference proceedings to the next Research Excellence Framework (REF).

The Policy for open access in the post-2014 Research Excellence Framework is in force from April 1 2016, and states "to be eligible for submission to the next REF, authors’ final peer-reviewed manuscripts must have been deposited in an institutional or subject repository". For St Andrews, this means that all researchers must deposit the accepted version of journal articles and conference proceedings in Pure as soon after acceptance as possible. In common with other institutions, the Library has been promoting the message ‘Act on acceptance: deposit in Pure’. This applies not just for REF and all authors should deposit their manuscripts…