New EPSRC Policy On Open Access Publication

Open Access RepositoryThe 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.

Bio-Renewables Event In the Humber

Humber Chemical Focus has announced a conference on the UK’s emerging and rapidly growing bio-renewables sector:

Bio-Renewables in the Humber – 20th October, Bishop Burton College, near Beverley

The event will feature a mix of participants and speakers from industry as well as policy experts. UK government targets, principally the Climate Change Act of 2008 and the EU renewable energy directive, mean that renewable energy must increase its contribution to our energy use by five times by 2020. Bio-renewables in particular is set to make up a third of the UK’s total renewable capability by 2020.

The conference will focus on opportunities for renewables companies and innovative research groups to contribute to meeting these objectives. Please visit the conference web site above to find out how to register to attend.

Back By Popular Demand: British Academy Small Grants!

Here’s the second piece of British Academy-related news this week: As previously announced on this blog at the end of July this year, the British Academy have decided to release another round of funding for their small research grants scheme.

Funds are available to facilitate initial project planning and development; to support the direct costs of research; and to enable the advancement of research through workshops or conferences, or visits by or to partner scholars. Applicants may seek support for any combination of eligible activity and cost up to the overall limit of £10,000.

This scheme is very useful for humanities and social science researchers to carry out a pilot project which may then lead to larger grant funding in future. The deadline for applications, which must be prepared and submitted online using eGap2, is 9th November 2011. Please contact us if you require any support with your application, and remember to leave enough time to obtain approvals before submitting the form; we suggest at least 5 working days.

British Academy: Mid-Career Fellowship Scheme

The British Academy has just opened the latest round of their Mid-Career Fellowships scheme for researchers in the humanities and social sciences. You can find more details here:

British Academy Mid-Career Fellowships

The aim of the scheme is to allow successful applicants to obtain time freed from normal teaching and administrative commitments. The time bought by the scheme should be devoted to the completion of a major piece of research, and the Academy will also look for evidence of a clear commitment to a strategy of public engagement with and communication of the results of the research during the period of the Fellowship.

The criteria states that they are looking for both excellent research proposals as well as fellows who can promote public understanding of and engagement with humanities and social sciences. The deadline for outline proposals is 2nd November 2011.

These grants are attractive because they are covered under FEC – up to £160,000 for 6 – 12 months with a contribution to salary and overheads. They will also be incredibly popular, not least because the ESRC axed its own mid-career fellowship scheme in its delivery plan review earlier this year. In the subsequent AHRC-ESRC-British Academy joint statement on support for the social sciences and humanities, the British Academy announced that it alone would focus on mid-career support across the disciplines. Therefore, the success rate is likely to be fairly low, something emphasized by the call details which state that “a small proportion of applicants” will be invited to submit a second stage bid.

Eligibility is always a tricky topic when it comes to “mid-career” awards. You never really know whether you’re at the mid-stage of your career until you’ve got to the end! However, the Academy offers a few general pointers such as:

  • already published works of intellectual distinction;
  • established a significant track record as an excellent communicator and “champion” in their field;
  • “normally” no more than 15 years from the award of a doctorate (although career breaks will be taken into account)

You’re encouraged to contact the British Academy directly if you’re in any doubt as to your eligibility. Please contact us if you’d like support at any stage with your outline application, including bid review and development.