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UCL to implement Open Access policy to all research

Publication date: Jun 3, 2009 10:00:43 AM

UCL (University College London) has today announced the establishment of a UCL Publications Board that will implement the university’s Open Access policy and be responsible for ensuring that, subject to copyright permissions, all UCL research is placed online in the university’s institutional repository, freely accessible to all. This move places UCL at the forefront of academic institutions who are pioneering the move to Open Access, as the first European university ranked in the global top ten in the THE – QS world university rankings to do so.

UCL has already given all of its PhD students the option of making their theses available in its online repository, open access, giving these far greater visibility than they would enjoy as paper copy on library shelves. In academic departments across UCL there is already a broad take-up of Open Access, and the records of the whole of UCL’s 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) return have been loaded into the repository, with links added to the relevant version of the full text where copyright permissions allow. The creation of the UCL Publications Board extends this situation to the whole of UCL’s published research output. The Publications Board will oversee the rollout of UCL’s Open Access mandate, and promote Open Access both within UCL and beyond as an important scholarly medium for the dissemination of research.

Open Access is a new form of dissemination for published books, articles, conference proceedings and digital outputs. Its principles are based on the Berlin Declaration, which urges authors to retain the rights in the materials they produce and to place a copy in an Open Access medium – in UCL’s case the university’s electronic repository – so that they are available free at point of use to anyone, anywhere in the world, with an Internet connection.

“In the competitive environment of a global higher education market, Open Access repositories provide a platform on which a university can showcase its research,” says Dr Paul Ayris, Director of UCL Library Services. “Open Access helps prospective students make a judgement on which University to choose, shares blue-skies research with the widest possible audience, and supports outreach activity to open up higher education to new communities.

“In addition, at a time when library budgets are under enormous pressure, Open Access is a means of ensuring that subscriptions do not become a barrier to use. Material made available in an Open Access repository is available to everyone with a wish to view it, and free at point of use. As part of our move towards Open Access, we will also be investigating the best ways to roll it out in a way that might offer a model for the sector, and we would be happy to discuss our experiences with colleagues from other institutions.”

Prof Anthony Finkelstein, Head of Computer Science, said: “Impact is the watchword for research and this depends on it reaching the widest audience possible. Open Access is a critical enabler for this. UCL’s plans to build a major scholarly resource around its Open Access policy is warmly welcomed by researchers across UCL.”

Professor Chris Carey, Head of Greek and Latin, said: “The potential benefits of Open Access as a means of making cutting edge research available across the world cost free are enormous. This is an opportunity to make a major impact in regions where cost is a potentially insuperable obstacle to access. The scale, diversity and outstanding quality of UCL research make us ideal leaders in this field.”

Notes for Editor

1. For further information about UCL’s Open Access strategy or interview requests, contact Dominique Fourniol in the UCL Media Relations office on +44 (0)20 7679 9728 or d.fourniol@ucl.ac.uk.

2. The UCL repository for research output that is already Open Access can be viewed at http://eprints.ucl.ac.uk.

3. The Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities can be viewed at http://oa.mpg.de/openaccess-berlin/berlindeclaration.html.