I thought I’d write briefly about my experience of current engagement with OA at the University of Sunderland; obviously, these are only my impressions, and don’t constitute an official ‘position’.
As I’m sure is also the case with other institutions, some faculties are more engaged with the challenges and possibilities of OA than others; engagement is even more disparate at the level of the individual. I think a major factor in any awareness-raising will be the perception of what OA is. APC-driven gold remains synonymous with OA for many, and challenging this understanding will be a priority over the coming year, and something I hope the current project can address.
Response from departments to the repository, and to OA in general, has been overwhelmingly positive. A number of researchers are choosing to publish with APC-free OA journals and there has been a noticeable increase in the number of full-text attachments provided with deposits to SURE*. There is still some confusion as to what can be deposited in SURE though, and publisher-created, water-marked ‘postprints’ don’t help, but an increase in the number of full text entries is a definite post-REF2014 priority.
I have been helped enormously by the enthusiasm and hard work of research administrators who often do the depositing on behalf of researchers, as well as by staff from the research office who also assist with advocacy work. Perhaps one of the benefits of being a smaller institution is that cross-departmental collaboration is that much easier.
I have an awful lot of work to do with regard to advocacy and awareness-raising, particularly in relation to the April 1st 2016 OA output inclusion date set by HEFCE. The aims of this project, to ‘develop shared tools and best practice policies and procedures’ in order to better meet the challenges posed by OA for those institutions that don’t receive large amounts of external funding will prove invaluable, and I’m really happy to be part of that.
*SUnderland REpository, the institutional repository at UoS