The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council has introduced a new policy on open access publication arising from funded research:
EPSRC Council has agreed to mandate open access publication, with the proviso that academics should be able to choose the approach best suited to their field of research. This mandate is now being implemented: EPSRC requires authors to comply with this mandate and ensure that all published research articles arising from EPSRC-sponsored research, and which are submitted for publication on or after 1st September 2011, must become available on an Open Access basis through any appropriate route. As now, publication costs may be recovered either as ‘directly incurred costs’ (if incurred before the end date of the relevant research project) or as indirect costs (and hence factored into the fEC indirect cost rate for the relevant research organisation).
Broadly speaking, there are two approaches to making published work Open Access: Gold OA (pay-to-publish) and Green OA (self-archiving). Currently most research deposited in the Lincoln Repository is self-archived – that is, it has been published in a peer-reviewed academic journal and it is made available free of charge. The author must deposit the version of the article accepted for publication.
The publisher’s policy is a crucial issue as far as Green OA is concerned. Some publishers have repository-friendly policies, but others embargo deposit of full texts until a year or more after initial publication. SHERPA-RoMEO has a comprehensive list of publishers and their policies to check before deciding where to publish.
In contrast to Green OA, Gold OA is a business model adopted by publishers to respond to the increasing number of funders, like the EPSRC, who are mandating that publications are made openly accessible. On this model, the author (or, more likely, the author’s institution) pays the cost of publication – which can be substantial – and the article is then made OA in the journal.
EPSRC’s new policy makes clear that the costs of Gold OA can be met from the grant as a direct cost only where that cost is incurred during the period of the grant. If work is published after the grant is complete, then the institution must stump up the cash to publish or use a portion of the indirect costs to fund this. Lincoln is currently developing an internal policy on this issue.
Principal Investigators need to be aware of the implications of the mandate and discuss at an early stage (preferably before the bid is submitted) their plans for publication to ensure these meet the funder’s requirements and are appropriately costed into the grant where possible.