UCL News


Research funding should go to research, not to publishers

21 October 2015

On 12 October,

Library leru.org/">LERU (League of European Research Universities) issued a press release, calling for urgent action to take forward initiatives in Open Access to publications - for both the Gold and the Green routes. The LERU statement underlines that in the era of Open Science, Open Access to publications is one of the cornerstones of the new research paradigm and business models must support this transition. It should be one of the principal objectives of Commissioner Carlos Moedas and the Dutch EU Presidency (January-June 2016) to ensure that this transition happens. Further developing the EU´s leadership in research and innovation largely depends on it.

The Statement highlights a number of challenges in hybrid Gold Open Access, where researchers pay a separate charge to have their publication produced as an Open Access article (an Article Processing Charge, or APC), whilst their institutional library is paying a subscription for access to the same content. This leads to the danger of double payment to the publishers, once for the subscription and once for Open Access - known technically as double dipping. The Statement makes clear that Christmas is over, since universities and research funders should not be paying twice for the same content.

For Green Open Access, where materials are stored in repositories such as UCL Discovery, there is a problem with embargo periods - the period between deposit of an article and the time when (through publisher policies) it can be viewed in the repository. Embargo periods should be as short as possible. There is currently a wide variety of embargo periods (6, 12, 24 months) which is confusing for authors, readers and repository managers; there is a need for fruitful dialogue to achieve agreement between stakeholders. Embargo periods for the same journal should also be uniform across the globe, not different country by country.

LERU has called on researchers in all LERU universities to sign its petition to the European Commission. LERU itself as an organisation has agreed to sign. At the time of writing, over 400 organisations and individuals have signed. If you would like to sign, you can do so here.

Going forward, LERU will submit the support for this Statement to Commissioner Carlos Moedas and the Dutch EU Presidency at a suitable moment in the first half of 2016; and request to make the Statement the subject of a high level Summit during the Dutch presidency, organised by DG Research & Innovation, European Commission. The signs  are encouraging. Commissioner Moedas has called in public for publishers to get serious about Open Access.

So over to you! Please consider signing the statement here. With your support, LERU can help make a fundamental difference to the way research outputs are disseminated.

Paul Ayris, Director of UCL Library Services & UCL Copyright Officer