OA Pathfinder Workshop Report

At the end of October our Pathfinder, in collaboration with the Pathfinders led by the University of Hull and Coventry University, ran a full-day workshop on How to be innovative in Open Access with limited resources.


The event brought together representatives from 5 universities, most of which fall under the “modern university” heading. Among the attendees, backgrounds in open access and institutional responsibilities varied, with most attendees from a Library background, although three worked in central research offices:

  • Nick Woolley (Head of Academic Library Services, University of Northumbria, lead for Northumbria-Sunderland Pathfinder)
  • Barry Hall (Institutional Repository Coordinator, University of Sunderland)
  • Chris Awre (Head of Information Management, University of Hull, lead for HHuLOA Pathfinder)
  • Julie Bayley (Impact Manager, University of Coventry, project manager for 02OA Pathfinder)
  • Ellen Cole (Scholarly Publications Librarian, University of Northumbria)
  • Bev Jones (Research Repository and Information Officer, University of Lincoln)
  • David Young (Research Funding and Policy Manager, University of Northumbria)
  • Christine Downes (Research Support Coordinator, University of Northumbria)

It was a lively and engaging workshop and the smaller scale afforded more opportunity for detailed discussion and debate of the various issues.

You can read the full report for each of the three sessions on this blog:

Some pictures from the event are included below (yes, the cake was tasty!):

Draft Recommendations for Comment

At the end of the workshop we sketched out the following set of draft recommendations which we are publishing here for consideration and further comment from the sector, and in the spirit of the Jisc OA Pathfinder programme which is to “release outputs early and often”.

There are two sets of recommendations presented below, which are based on the discussions at the workshop: “Best Practice Recommendations” roughly comprises topics which would require modest to no additional resources to deliver (apart from time); “Sector Recommendations” comprises elements which require sector-level coordination to implement, possibly spearheaded by the Jisc OA Pathfinder Programme:

Best Practice Recommendations Sector Recommendations
Champions for OA among academic staff are relatively widespread, however we should consider OA champions among admin staff outside of Library, particularly front-line research office staff who have repeated interactions with academics throughout the research life cycle. OA week: current positioning conflicts with start of term and reduces engagement. Suggestion for alternative UK date in Spring. Possible OA event in April 2015 (one year to go until HEFCE REF policy).
Avoid vague “want to know more about OA?” messages. Focus on producing short guides explaining process, workflow, what to do when, and FAQs. Several groups are currently working with publishers around OA agenda (e.g. Jisc, RLUK). We need coordination here to avoid “divide and rule” tactics.
Currently many institutions have piecemeal policies addressing OA, impact, IPR. There would be value in having an overarching “dissemination strategy” incorporating all of the above. More guidance on support staff roles and levels for OA from HEFCE would be beneficial. This is along the lines of standards and guidelines produced by QAA for academic support.
Top-level webpages/intranet pages on OA – don’t split guidance between Library and Research Office. Everyone needs to be delivering the same message on OA Pathfinder coverage of licensing and rights – there may be a gap here and Jisc needs to ensure this is covered.
Create and disseminate template texts/OA slides for academics to use in departmental presentations about OA.
(Self-)publication/dissemination will always be the long-term goal. OJS workflow is similar to repository deposit. Some disciplines are more willing to make OA part of their working processes. Consider use of OJS in disciplines such as Law, where few OA options are available.
In advocacy it is important to focus on the benefits of OA generally, and not just REF/RCUK compliance issues. Otherwise you risk creating a “REF divide” and disengaging staff who are not being considered for REF submission.
Systems vs. Behaviour: expectation management is needed around the introduction of new systems (e.g. CRIS). No one system solves all problems. It’s crucial to focus on behaviour.

We would be grateful for comments and suggestions on these draft recommendations from other OA Pathfinders and the sector more widely. Please use the comments on this blog or send an email to David Young (david.g.young@northumbria.ac.uk).

Next steps and Collaboration

Going forward, we have invited all participants to contribute a case study of their institutional approach to OA, issues specific to each institution, and how they are addressing them. Interim versions of these will be released in Spring 2015, with the final versions in 2016. This aligns closely to the HHuLOA approach of capturing baseline data and updating this at regular intervals. Our Pathfinder is planning to contribute to this output for the HHuLOA Pathfinder.

In addition, Julie Bayley, project manager of the Coventry-led Pathfinder, is currently working on an intervention map, which will be a further joint output of the event.


About David Young

I'm a Research Funding & Policy Manager based in Research & Business Services at Northumbria University. I support research funding bids to a range of funders, focusing on the Faculty of Engineering and Environment. I also support a number of research policy areas across the university: open access, research data management, CRIS, research strengths, and REF impact.
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5 Responses to OA Pathfinder Workshop Report

  1. Pingback: How Have We Tried to Address OA Issues? (OA Pathfinder Workshop – Session 2) | Optimising resources to develop a strategic approach to Open Access

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