Lotinga: consensus and partnership needed in OA development

Lotinga: consensus and partnership needed in OA development

Stephen Lotinga, c.e.o. of the Publishers Association, has said that all parts of the research ecosystem need to work together in facilitating the transition to Open Access.

Lotinga was commenting on publication of the UKRI's Open Access Review draft proposals, which put a 2024 date on the introduction of an OA requirement for academic monographs, with all research journal articles going OA from 2022. The proposals are now under consultation until 17th April.

Lotinga said: “Publishers support expanding Open Access for publicly-funded research. The best way to achieve greater openness is through a partnership involving researchers, funders, publishers and the wider academic community and we have repeatedly called on the overnment – who hold ultimate responsibility for this policy – to help facilitate such consensus. The best outcome for UK research is delivered if all parts of the research ecosystem work together in facilitating this transition.

“We will use the consultation period to try to ensure remaining concerns around the time and flexibility needed are taken into account and that innovative solutions offered by publishers are not stifled. We hope that the evidence submitted by our sector will have a meaningful impact on the final policy.

“UK publishers stand ready to continue to play a crucial part in rapidly moving Open Access forward. This will require all parties to work collaboratively which we hope can be achieved as the review progresses, to the ultimate benefit of UK research.”

Publishers say the detailed draft proposals will need careful consideration. The proposals on a requirement for OA for monographs, for example, acknowledge that "some small specialist publishers may need more time to adopt a sustainable business model for Open Access academic books", and make an exception for "trade" books marketed to a broad general audience. 

One early comment came from Allison Shaw, c.e.o. of Bristol University Press, who told The Bookseller: "In relation to book content we are pleased that the consultation has taken on board some of the concerns of smaller publishers and non-profits, with one exception: there is still no protection over the commercial reuse of book content which publishers will have heavily invested in, for example enabling the automated harvesting of content into paid for collections by third parties globally. 
 
"In terms of journals, we welcome the fact that there is consideration of including the CC BY ND licence [a licence which lets others reuse the work for any purpose, but prevents it shared with others in adapted form] and that they are also considering options around the role of hybrid journals in OA.  Both of these aspects we believe are vital for AHSS [arts, humanities and social science] publishing."

In a statement, Taylor & Francis said it welcomed the consultation, adding: "We have a common goal of shifting the default to Open.  Open Research can benefit society, generate greater academic, social and economic impact and improve research integrity and rigor through greater transparency and efficiency. We support a policy that increases the proportion of research outputs that are immediately available for any interested party to access, whilst ensuring that adequate funding is in place to support their creation, dissemination and curation on an Open basis.

"To fully realise the potential of Open Research, however, change needs to occur at all stages of the research cycle. We understand UKRI’s rationale for focusing initially on research outputs but recommend that as part of its communication following the consultation, UKRI provides more information around its plans around changing research culture, including rewards and incentives in institutions.

"We also ask that UKRI carefully consider the implications around the proposed OA policy for monographs, book chapters and edited collections, given the need to treat long form content differently to research articles."