Tag Archives: RCUK

Results of the Sherpa FACT accuracy testing – 95% accurate

UKCoRR welcomes the results of a  recent exercise – undertaken by UK librarians, repository managers and Sherpa Services – that has shown that the results produced by SHERPA/FACT (Funders & Authors Compliance Tool) have an accuracy rate of over 95%

The FACT service was developed to help researchers get a simple answer to the question “does this journal have an open access publishing policy compliant with my funder’s open access mandate?”. The FACT service – which draws its information from the SHERPA/ROMEO and SHERPA/JULIET databases – seeks to provide a yes/no answer to this question, as well as providing information about how an author can comply with a funder policy.

There had been some discussion at the SHERPA/FACT Advisory Board, raised by UKCoRR members and their institutions – as to whether the information provided by FACT was accurate.

To address this issue an exercise was undertaken – by members of UKCoRR – to manually check a statistically significant number of journal/funder combinations and then compare the information this group had found with the information provided by FACT. Where the independent reviewers arrived at a different conclusion to that provided by FACT, then that journal/publisher combination was subjected to detailed and exhaustive investigation to arrive at an evidenced answer.

At the end of this exercise, it was found that the FACT service provides correct information in over 95% of cases.

The study clearly highlighted the difficulties that even highly experienced repository staff have at deciphering publisher OA policies. Indeed, the initial testing undertaken by UKCoRR members suggested that FACT was only accurate on 57% of occasions. When these journal/funder combinations were investigated further, however, close examination of the often complex conditions and the interactions between different statements and policies showed that FACT was correct in almost all of the cases.

The SHERPA/FACT team as well as the SHERPA/FACT Advisory Group would like to extend their thanks to the UKCoRR Members who took part in this checking process for their time commitment as well as their extensive knowledge of this area of work. This exercise has proved that the SHERPA/FACT service can be relied upon as a source of advice for UK researchers. UKCoRR also encourages it’s members to continue to communicate with SHERPA/FACT where discrepancies are found to continue to improve the quality of the information SHERPA/FACT relies upon.

Issues of interpretation and the interaction between the various policies have been seen to be the key to the discrepancy between our manually checked results and Sherpa’s findings. There is further work to be done here and UKCoRR looks forward to continuing to work with the SHERPA/FACT Advisory Group to develop increased clarity in this area.

To see the full data and study methodology, visit Figshare.

The study was commissioned by the SHERPA/FACT Advisory Board – which includes representatives from UKCoRR, Jisc, Wellcome Trust, Research Councils UK (RCUK), CRC Nottingham, Association of Learned & Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP), Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), Publishers Association and SCONUL.

A blog post from Jisc on this project is available as well as a press release on the project.

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UK Research Councils (RCUK) Announce New Open Access Policy

In the wake of the Finch Report on the 16th July 2012 the RCUK has finally unveiled their revised Open Access policy, which brings with it a harmonization across the councils as well as introducing significant changes.  The policy will apply to all qualifying publications funded entirely or in part by a RCUK source from 1st April 2013. While the policy could be read as a further endorsement of the UK’s move to Gold Open Access, it is notable that repositories have at least some reasons to be cheerful within it.

The policy requires that peer-reviewed research papers can only be published in journals that are compliant with the RCUK Open Access policy.  Furthermore the papers must also include details on the funding that supported the research as well as information on how and where to access the data, samples or models that support the findings.  The RCUK along with HEFCE and other funding bodies will actively monitor compliance with this new policy.

Open Access, as defined by the policy, means an unrestricted online access to peer review and scholarly research papers.  Potential readers of the papers should be able, free of any publisher-imposed charge, read the publications online and to search and reuse content manually; as well as through the use of automated text/data mining tools.  Given the recent discussions on permitting or excluding text mining functions under copyright restrictions, this is perhaps a notable addition to the policy.

Journal titles can comply through (1) offering a pay to publish route funded through author publication contributions (APCs), or (2) by allowing deposit in a subject or institutional repository like LRA after the maximum permissible embargo period.  In the event that option (1) is not applicable then no APC will be payable to the publisher.  Where an APC is required by a journal publisher, the resultant work is required by the RCUK to be shared under a Creative Commons By Attribution (CC-BY) licence, allowing for others to build upon the work provided the original authors are credited in the subsequent outputs.  To help facilitate the payments for APCs the RCUK will provide block grants to institutions, who will themselves be expected to set up and manage their own publication funds.  Previously these have been included as direct and /or indirect costs of grant funding, but this will be discontinued.

In terms of a delay (embargo) to the research publications being available through open access the RCUK policy states that they “will accept a delay of no more than six months between on-line publication and a research paper becoming Open Access, except in the case of research papers arising from research funded by the AHRC and the ESRC where the maximum embargo period is 12 months.”  It will be interesting to see the reactions from those publishers whose embargo periods are very much in excess of this.

It should be noted that some research councils (MRC and ESRC) have a requirement that papers must be deposited in specific repositories.  See SHERPA/JULIET for more on complying with the specifics of individual Research Councils’ policies, although I suspect some of these will be updated in the coming days.

Further RCUK guidance on complying with the policy is also available.

As always UKCoRR welcomes input from the membership on the reactions and responses to this announcement; both individually or at an institutional level – either on the list or here as comments.

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