Optimising resources to develop a strategic approach to Open Access – about the project

This project will develop shared tools and best practice policies and procedures to enable HEIs with limited external funding to effectively and creatively respond to the challenges and opportunities presented by recent Open Access policies. Outputs include a customisable Open Access cost modelling tool to help HEIs better plan different scenarios of research growth, best practice policies and workflows for University libraries and research services, case studies profiling lessons learned by four HEIs, and a quick reference decision tree for researchers and support staff.

Currently RCUK provides funding for Open Access in a block grant based on past rates of success. For universities with historically limited RCUK funding, but which have ambitions to substantially grow externally funded research over coming years, this means in most cases a careful balance between Green and Gold needs to be struck and internal funds need to be leveraged to support growth of research through the transition period. The external policy context on Open Access also presents significant opportunities to improve working practices and enable universities to achieve strategic research goals. For example, University libraries, planning and research support services must increasingly work together to develop coherent and transparent policies and procedures to guide and support academic staff in knowing how to comply with funder policy. It also highlights issues of research dissemination more generally, i.e. where and how to publish, and in this regard we hope that our project will contribute to the wider debate around open access and research excellence.

Our Pathfinder aims to develop shared tools and best practice policies and procedures to enable HEIs with limited external resources to effectively and creatively respond to the challenges and opportunities that OA poses. In doing this we aim to maintain an optimal balance between Green and Gold and to reflect the views of our internal stakeholders (academic and support services) and external partners. We recognise that this initiative takes place in the context of a global movement towards OA and an impact agenda (in the widest sense) which places emphasis on securing value for money from public investment. Therefore, we wish to focus on developing extensible models, policies and procedures which go beyond compliance with OA funder policies to engage with and shape these wider debates.

Details of the other institutional projects involved in the pathfinder are available on the Jisc blog.

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About Ellen Cole

Scholarly Publications Librarian at Northumbria University.
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