Open Access - Business, Innovation and Skills Committee Contents

7  Conclusion

92.  The Government's committed and pro-active stance to increasing access to published research findings is admirable, as is its desire to achieve full open access. Gold open access, at scale, is a desirable ultimate goal, and we acknowledge that the recommendations of the Finch Report, and the Government and RCUK's open access policies were formulated with this end in mind.

93.  However, almost without exception, our evidence has pointed to gaps in both the qualitative and quantitative evidence underpinning the Finch Report's conclusions and recommendations, most significantly a failure to examine the UK's Green mandates and their efficacy. This has been replicated in the formulation of the Government and RCUK's open access policies and their mistaken focus on the Gold solution as the primary route to achieving open access at scale in the UK. The major mechanism of transition must be Green open access, specifically through strong immediate self-archiving mandates set by funders and institutions, either as a funding condition or tied to research assessment as appropriate.

94.  Given the emphasis the Government has placed on the benefits of open access, the Government should seek a derogation in relation to VAT on e-journals as a matter of urgency.

95.  The Minister for Universities and Science and members of the Finch working group are due to meet in September 2013 to assess impact and progress of open access policy. RCUK has said it intends to review its policy in 2014, to assess how developments compare to their expectations, and to meet annually after that. As part of those reviews, both Government and RCUK must fully consider and address the conclusions and recommendations set out in this Report.

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Prepared 10 September 2013