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Showing posts from May, 2019

St Andrews 7th in the world for Open Access

For the first time this year the CWTS Leiden Ranking 2019, which offers insights into scientific performance of nearly 1000 major universities worldwide, has included open access indicators. St Andrews achieved 81.6% open access for the set of publications measured in 2014-2017, which ranks us 7th in the world, top in Scotland and 4th in the UK for the proportion of publications that are open access (OA). We are delighted to see the volume of work (an astonising 4518 publications!) now available to a wide audience, including readers beyond those academics who would have subscription access.

The OA status is determined by a service called Unpaywall, and distinguises between three types of OA, primarily Gold (in fully OA journals), Hybrid (OA article in a subscription journal), and Green (author version in a repository). 79% of St Andrews OA publications are Green OA, which reflects our strong institutional commitment to make our research available to everyone by depositing all article…

A Scottish Open Access Press - Survey

More than ever before academics are expected to publish their research results Open Access. The UK funding councils under the UKRI umbrella have had an open access policy since 2013 (see related blog post for the latest update on this). The 4 national UK funding bodies too have advocated for greater open access, most notably in the requirements for the next Research Excellence Framework (REF2021). Other funders, such as Wellcome Trust, the COAF charity funders, as well as the European Research Council and other international funders, all require researchers to publish open access. Many universities too have established open access policies of their own, including the University of St Andrews.

Given this environment SCURL (Scottish Confederation of University and Research Libraries) are scoping the possibility for a shared Scottish Open Access Press, to assist Scottish researchers in meeting these open access requirements.

SCURL have prepared a short survey, to help establish the viab…

The Great Science Publishing Scandal

For centuries academic journals have been the custodians of scientific knowledge. But in the past few decades this has become increasingly contentious, as publishers continue to boast high profit margins, and their customers, largely academic libraries, continue to face squeezed budgets. Some libraries have cancelled subscriptions, some countries have been in deadlocked negotiations with publishers for months and even years, and many researchers have resorted to illegal means to access research.

But how did it get this way? And is there anything that can be done? In the BBC Radio 4 programme 'The Great Science Publishing Scandal' Matthew Cobb, Professor of Zoology at the University of Manchester, discusses the history leading up to the current crisis, and looks at the ways in which academia can change to redress the balance of power in academic publishing. One such change advocated by professor Cobb is to break the link between prestige journals and academic promotion, and an…

UKRI Open Access Review

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) recently released a statement giving more details about the upcoming Open Access review. UKRI encompasses the 7 research funding councils formerly under the RCUK umbrella, as well as Research England and Innovate UK. The statement confirmed that UKRI will retain it's commitment for open access going forward, stating that:

"sharing new knowledge has benefits for researchers, the wider higher education sector, businesses and others." (UKRI,

The update also confirms that the new open access policy will align policies across the various funding councils, as currently Medical Research Council (MRC) and Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) have different terms. The new policy will also provide the opportunity to align more closely with the next Research Excellence Framework after 2021. But they go on to clarify that the next REF policy will have it's ow…