A new policy stating that research outputs submitted to post-2014 REF should be Open Access has been announced on Monday, March 31st accompanied with a circular letter to all UK Vice-Chancellors and Principals (see the link below). The policy requires all journal and conference publications with a UK HEI author to be deposited in an institutional or subject repository on acceptance for publication. Publications not compliant with this requirement, including those that are made Open Access only retrospectively, will not be eligible for submission in the next REF exercise. The policy is a fantastic news for all those who support unrestricted access to knowledge for all. It will enable millions of people who have been consistently denied access to research outputs, such as high school students, small and medium enterprises, government and the general public, to get access to the results of research funded by the taxpayer.
The policy has been the result of a rigorous consultation process. Input has been also requested from KMi’s Petr Knoth and Zdenek Zdrahal. Some of our previous recommendations, particularly those about unrestricted machine access, have been considered by HEFCE as they have been interested in the possibility of using the CORE system, developed in KMi, for monitoring the policy compliance. The last request for feedback has been sent to Petr Knoth and Zdenek Zdrahal a week before the policy announcement together with an early version of the policy.
While the policy constitutes certainly a dramatic and positive change, there are still some aspects we hope will be tweaked at a later stage. Many of them relate to the ability to re-use and text-mine research publications at a global scale. The link to our full response is available at the bottom of this page.