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UK embraces OA in new policies

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The UK government will make publicly-funded scientific research available for anyone to read for free. This follows the recommendations in the recent report on open access by Dame Janet Finch.

'Removing paywalls that surround taxpayer-funded research will have real economic and social benefits. It will allow academics and businesses to develop and commercialise their research more easily and herald a new era of academic discovery,' said science minister David Willetts.

The recommendations that have been accepted include: moving to deliver open access through a ‘gold’ model; walk-in rights for the general public; and extending the licensing of access enjoyed by universities to high-technology businesses for a modest charge.

In a related announcement, Research Councils UK (RCUK) has unveiled its new open-access policy, which states that peer-reviewed research papers that result from research wholly or partially funded by the research councils must be published in journals that are compliant with the research council's policy on open access. The papers must also include details of the funding that supported the research, and a statement on how the underlying research materials such as data, samples or models can be accessed. This policy will apply to all qualifying publications being submitted for publication from 1 April 2013.

Criteria that journals must fulfill to be compliant with this policy include offering a “pay to publish” option or allowing deposit in a subject or institutional repository after a mandated maximum embargo period - a maximum of six months except in the cases of research funded by the AHRC and the ESRC where the maximum embargo period is 12 months.

In addition, the policy mandates use of ‘CC-BY’, the Creative Commons ‘Attribution’ licence, when an APC is levied. The CC_BY licence allows others to modify, build upon and/or distribute the licensed work (including for commercial purposes) as long as the original author is credited.