Finch report: progress review published
In June of last year the Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings (or ‘Finch Group) published the ‘Finch report‘, describing ways and means of increasing access to UK research outputs. Amongst its recommendations it controversially argued that the sector should adopt the ‘gold’ route to open access (OA), where necessary paying article processing charges to publishers to ensure immediate access to research publications.
Within a month the Department for Business, Information and Skills (BIS) had announced its support for the Finch Group’s recommendations and Research Councils UK (RCUK) had published a new open access policy. Both parties quickly followed through with financial support – BIS made available £10 million to pump prime the system whilst RCUK announced a block grant scheme to support 107 organisations over the following two years.
Of course this simply prompted the journal publishers to come to the table with a wide range of ways to relieve researchers of these monies (see Intellect, Wiley Blackwell, Maney Publishing, Sage, Cambridge University Press and Taylor and Francis for examples). The result has been significant upheaval in the scholarly publishing landscape, with those lucky (or unlucky?) enough to receive BIS or RCUK funding spending considerable amounts of time and effort fulfilling their obligations to their funders.
So 18 months on, it was with interest that I read the final progress review from the Finch Group. Sticking resolutely to the view that “a transition via a mixed economy to gold OA, where publication costs are met mainly by the payment of APCs, is the most effective way of balancing our objectives of increased access, sustainability and excellence”, the Finch Group at least now recognise that green OA has an important role to play in that transition period. For institutions that are unlikely to receive RCUK funding for OA, and for those that have received sums that fall woefully short of their needs, this is good news.
The full report is available on the Research Information Network website: http://www.researchinfonet.org/finch/
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