6 Use and re-use |
81. The Finch Report recommended that open access
policies should minimise restrictions on the rights of use and
re-use of content, especially for non commercial purposes, and
on the ability to use the latest mechanisms to organise and manipulate
content. The Government agreed, and RCUK requires that where an
APC is paid, the article must be published under the Creative
Commons Attribution Only (CC-BY) licence. Unfortunately for RCUK,
research organisations and open access, evidence we received suggested
that some publishers have increased their APCs in response to
82. We received evidence of widespread concern,
uncertainty and confusion about the impact of particular licences,
for example CC BY, on author rights and extent of re-use rights.
At present, there is insufficient research data on this issue.
PLOS stated that 70,000 articles were published under CC-BY by
three of the largest open access publishers in 2012, with 200,000
published in the same way over a decade, with no issues arising
to date from the licence choice.
83. We are aware that the Government has sought
further advice on this issue through a series of ministerial 'roundtables'.
That work should have been undertaken and completed before implementation
of RCUK's open access policy on 1 April 2013, as it would have
minimised concerns within the academic and publishing communities.
84. We conclude that the Government
must keep an open mind on licensing requirements until the findings
of the ministerial roundtable are available. The Government should
commission independent research on the implications of the most
common licences if necessary. We believe that authors should be
able to choose the licence that applies to their work, especially
during the transitional period while further evidence is gathered.
Mandating the use of a particular licence should not be prioritised
over immediate online access to findings of publicly funded research,
which is at the heart of open access.
85. We recommend that the
Government reports the outcomes of its further investigations
into licensing to us and communicates them clearly through RCUK
as soon as possible in order to assuage concerns of authors and
86. RCUK should monitor complaints
from authors and/or their institutions about breach of licensing
conditions or inappropriate re-use of content, consider these
at its review of open access policy, and identify appropriate
action if necessary.
Open access, innovation and growth
87. The Government has asserted that open access
offers "significant social and economic benefits by spreading
knowledge, raising the prestige of UK research and encouraging
Research undertaken by Professor John Houghton demonstrates that
open access is likely to return a five-fold increase in investment
and the Government, extrapolating from a separate study by Professor
Houghton and Dr Swan on the economic impact of Danish SMEs being
unable to access research, has estimated that the cost to the
UK economy of the existing arrangements was 525m per year.
88. It is surprising then, that the only business
interest outside the publishing sector represented on the Finch
working group was Rolls Royce, and its involvement was limited
to the sub group on licensing. Reed Elsevier's representative
on the same sub group recalled:
I can remember a discussion very clearly. There was
an intervention by the representative from the Technology Strategy
Board, a chap from Rolls-Royce, who thought it was absolutely
ludicrous that anyone would suggest that his company's access
to research literature should be subsidised by the taxpayer.
89. We heard evidence that open access is of
more vital importance for SMEs, which on the whole cannot themselves
afford to engage researchers or pay for subscriptions. Professor
Houghton and Dr Swan said:
People working for innovative SMEs do not go to public
libraries for work-related information, as the Finch Report suggests.
In [the] real world, people use Web search engines to search for
articles. The concept of a scientific journal is not relevant
to what they do. Gold open access is thus of limited relevance
to these non academic constituencies. Green open access is exactly
what the SME sector needs: it needs immediate, article level use
without constraints. The BIS innovation agenda is best served
by Green open access, which is affordable now.
90. Consultation with business and industry (outside
the publishing sector) during the formation of the Government's
policy was wholly inadequate, despite the Government's policy
objective to drive innovation and growth through its open access
policy. We have seen no evidence that Gold is either more useful
to, or is preferred by, businesses. The available evidence indicates
that Green meets the needs of businesses, at a considerably lower
91. We believe that BIS must
review its consultation processes to ensure that lessons are learned
from the lack of involvement of a broader range of businesses,
particularly SMEs, in the formation of open access policy. It
is particularly important to ensure that future policies and initiatives
(for example Gateway to Research) take into account the specific
needs of the communities they are intended to serve, to ensure
optimum functionality and a more efficient use of public funds.
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BIS' Innovation and Research Strategy for Growth Back
John Houghton, Bruce Rasmussen and Peter Sheehan. (2010) 'Economic
and Social Returns on Investment in Open Archiving Publicly Funded
Research Outputs' http://www.arl.org/sparc/publications/papers/vuFRPAA/index.shtml Back
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