OAIC: Facing the Open Access challenge together

This is a cross-post from our Jisc OA Pathfinder blog:

Yesterday I attended the first physical meeting in Jisc’s Open Access Implementation Community (OAIC) in London. The OAIC is a network of librarians, research managers and other administrators – basically everyone working in UK HE who has a stake in implementing Open Access requirements of funders and HEFCE.

Jisc and the OAIC are arranging a series of events (workshops, webinars etc.) to enable the Pathfinder projects and the community to learn from each other and share best practice. These events are a great opportunity for everyone to get together and share things that have worked (and what hasn’t!) so that we can more effectively address the challenges posed by OA.

All of the Jisc OA Pathfinders were invited to attend yesterday’s event to deliver short “lightning talks” on what our projects aim to do over the next two years. Although the proposals had already been circulated around the Pathfinder group, I found it useful to hear other projects talk about their aims and scope in person. It was great to meet the other Pathfinder teams and to start to think about synergies and overlaps of our projects.

Here’s my presentation of our Pathfinder:

The event was well attended with representatives from a range of organisations – not just the Pathfinder projects. It was also good to see a mix of library and research support staff involved. The projects each had unique elements, although some (our own included) had areas of overlap. For example, several Pathfinders aim to produce “toolkits” and case studies.

This means it will be important for us all to work together to ensure we’re not duplicating effort and that the toolkits and outputs we create are complementary and of value to the sector as a whole. Jisc are aware of this and next week’s Programme meeting for all the Pathfinder projects will be a good opportunity to start a dialogue on how we all work together.

The afternoon was a chance for us to brainstorm the key problems we’re facing in groups – and then to propose solutions. It was interesting that many of the groups came up with advocacy and clarity around procedures and systems as two key areas to address. The others were compliance (with RCUK and HEFCE’s REF requirements), and the mismatch between publishers and funders.

Jisc Map slideThe apparent proliferation of projects, standards and stakeholders was also raised. At one point Neil Jacobs produced a slide with a baffling array of arrows and nodes: CASRAI, RIOXX, Monitor, Publications Router, Sherpa ROMEO, OpenDOAR, OpenAIRE… One of the tasks ahead for both Jisc and the Pathfinders must be to find a way of distilling all of this down into easy-to-understand workflows and procedures for both academic staff and administrators.

While I really enjoyed the day, I do wonder whether the location needs to be varied a bit for future meetings. I appreciate that London is relatively straightforward for most travellers, but it would be good to have more Northern OAIC meetings every so often.

The Twitter hashtag for the event was #oagp (OA Good Practice) and this gives a good flavour of the discussion at yesterday’s meeting.

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