After Nick’s introduction, I facilitated the first of three activities, entitled: How have we responded to the challenges of Open Access?
Our intention here was to lead a group discussion beginning with an outline of what each representative felt had been the key issues in implementing OA at their institution. We then intended to examine the methods (successful and otherwise!) we’d employed to meet these demands, before concluding with an open-ended, hypothetical (but realistic) discussion about what resources could help with OA implementation in the future. To structure things a bit, we asked everyone to begin by noting each key issue they’d encountered on a post-it which were then displayed for all to see. (See below for a reconstruction of this – as it turns out, some colours aren’t as sticky as others!).
As you can see, we later grouped the issues identified under the broad headings of ‘publishers’, ‘post REF2014’, ‘institutional roles’, ‘costs and resources’, ‘workflow and technical’, and ‘academic’, for the purposes of clarity.
It became apparent that the majority of issues (in our experience at least) relate to the practicalities of implementing OA, particularly given the limited funds available, and also to the engagement of academic staff. Workflows and infrastructure were key here, with most delegates expressing concerns over how best to efficiently meet the criteria of OA implementation in very real terms, particularly with regard to staffing.
In terms of academic engagement, key issues were the discrepancy in OA awareness, occasional apathy, and a lack of understanding as to what exactly OA is.
The conversation was very lively, and focussed primarily on the concept of ‘acceptance’ – what does it mean? How do we communicate this to academics? This led us to consider what resources would be needed to facilitate the (many) conversations that would need to take place. There was a consensus that facilitation engages people, and that this should be the direction in which advocacy goes, and that a universal, and positive message would be essential if compliance was to be achieved.
The role of the research office was also discussed; that as well as the importance of academic champions, champions were also needed among research administrators who often do a lot of depositing and advocacy work. Similarly, the position of PVCs needed to be considered, with some advocacy targeted at the higher echelons of institutional structures. It was also pointed out that there is no national guidance regarding the expectations of funding bodies and OA policy: what roles are required? What about staffing levels? Where those staff would be positioned? Could this be something JISC could promote?
The discussion moved away from the constraints of our initial structure, but I think everyone agreed that this meant things developed naturally, and there was a consensus that a more structured response to OA was needed; perhaps in the form of a Research Dissemination Strategy. In summation, where additional funds are not necessarily available, awareness and facilitation is key; that future advocacy would need to provide advice on the post REF2014, funding, and OA publishing.
See below for a table that collates the issues we discussed:
Read the other sections of this report here:
- Executive summary
- Session 2: How have we tried to address OA issues?
- Session 3: How could we address OA issues in the future?