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Open access needs simple and standard processes, say institutions

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The move towards a sustainable open access system needs simplified and standardised process, according to participants of a meeting hosted by Copyright Clearance Center (CCC).

The organisation recently brought together institutions from the UK and publishers from both the US and UK for an open access roundtable discussion to explore the implications of managing open access fees on a large scale.

During the meeting, held at University College in London, attendees examined a number of issues related to fragmentation, approach and processes, including ways vendors can play an expanded role in addressing the challenges. CCC published the group’s findings in a report written by Rob Johnson, founder and director of Research Consulting.

He said: 'We should work towards simplifying and standardising processes to move to a sustainable and scalable open access ecosystem which preserves academic freedom and author choice in publishing and makes the research as valuable as possible for the end user.'

Johnson said the roundtable was characterised by a shared desire among the attendees to work collaboratively to make article processing charges (APCs) easier to manage, despite the uncertainties in the marketplace. The institutions and publishers issued the following statement at the close of the event: 'We should work towards simplifying and standardising processes to move to a sustainable and scalable Open Access ecosystem which preserves academic freedom and author choice in publishing and makes the research as valuable as possible for the end user.'

In his report, Johnson wrote: 'The current approach to APC management is highly fragmented and undermined by differences of approach among nations and academic disciplines, by inefficiencies in process, and by scarcity of resources. Many of these issues could be alleviated through improvements in data sharing and development of common identifiers and vocabularies, but these must be placed in the context of broader trends and continuing uncertainties over the future of academic publishing.'

Attendees included the American Chemical Society, Aries Systems, British Medical Journal, Institute of Electrical and Electronics (IEEE), Imperial College London, Jisc, Nature Publishing Group, University College London, University of Exeter, University of Glasgow, University of Huddersfield, University of Kent, and University of St. Andrews.