In the 3rd in the series of Open Access scenarios we meet an EPSRC-funded Oxford University Professor working in the Department of Physics. The example demonstrates the decisions taken when the journal of choice did not offer the re-use license mandated by RCUK for compliance with their policy.
Professor Smith’s latest research project is funded by EPSRC. Since 1 April he has published one paper from the project, which he made available Open Access via the Green route i.e. deposited the accepted manuscript both in the subject repository, arXiv, and the University’s own repository, ORA. This is what Professor Smith has been used to doing within his discipline.
The situation is slightly more complicated, however, with Professor Smith’s most recent paper. Although the publisher permits Green Open Access, the embargo period set for this particular journal (12 months) is longer than the one required by EPSRC (6 months). The publisher offers a paid option i.e. the Gold route and Professor Smith knows he can apply for the Article Processing Charge (APC) from the RCUK block grant upon the acceptance of the paper.
He notices, however, that there is a clash between the publisher’s re-use licence for the journal of his choice (CC BY- NC) and the re-use licence required by the funder (CC BY). Professor Smith recently read a helpful article explaining the role of CC BY licences in academic publishing. He welcomes the idea and wants his papers to be published CC BY whenever possible. With respect to Gold Open Access, the RCUK policy says:
“If your preferred journal’s publisher refuses to allow a CC BY licence, then you should not opt to pay an APC as the journal does not comply with the RCUK policy through that route.”
For Professor Smith to ‘comply’, he either has to choose another journal or accept that this specific research paper will not be compliant with RCUK’s requirements for CC BY.
He learns that the University supports academic freedom as per the Oxford University Statement on Open Access available via the website openaccess.ox.ac.uk:
“Our academics, researchers, staff and students must be free to publish in the journal of their choice.”
However, he still has concerns around individual sanctions for non-compliance – would there be a risk in not being re-funded by MRC?
He finds the following passage in the RCUK policy and guidance helpful:
“RCUK recognizes that the journey to full Open Access is a process and not a single event therefore it expects compliance to grow over a transition period anticipated to be five years […] In 2013/14 institutions will be expected to make a minimum of 45% of their papers available via Open Access (Gold on Green). This increases to 53% in 2014/15”.
Reassured, Professor Smith submits his paper into the journal of his choice and deposits the abstract in ORA for preservation purposes.