We’ve just publishedan update on our Open Access Good Practice blog about our work over the past 6 months on our Jisc-funded Pathfinder project. The update includes details of case studies of OA in three UK HEIs, a cost modelling tool, and a decision-making tool for academic staff:
Since the last update in March, we’ve had a significant policy announcement from HEFCE on Open Access in the next REF, as well as RCUK’s response to the Burgess review of Open Access implementation. HEFCE’s announcement in particular has shifted the goalposts for OA compliance in the next REF, by deferring the deposit upon acceptance requirement by a year to 1st April 2017. Response from the sector has been mixed, with some welcoming the chance to further embed OA systems and processes, while others bemoan confusing and mixed messages.
RCUK’s response to the Burgess review was less controversial, confirming that they accept and will implement all recommendations, including the formation of a Practitioner Group, making ORCID a requirement, and a review of the algorithm to apportion OA block grant. More recently, RCUK have also set out their arrangements for monitoring of the 2014/15 OA block grant, the deadline for which is 30th October which suggests a busy autumn ahead for research and library staff! Northumbria’s implementation of ORCID has advanced considerably over the past year, and our work on the Jisc-ARMA funded ORCID pilot project has allowed the University to embed ORCID sign up into the postgraduate research student workflow on project approval and at annual progression.
Our Pathfinder has continued to be active over Spring and Summer 2015. Both Northumbria and Sunderland have been further developing their own internal processes, procedures and awareness raising work, but we have also made significant progress in three areas of our workplan. In summary:
Case studies: we have published case studies of good practice and challenges at three UK HEIs
Cost modelling: we have developed and released an early version of our OA cost modelling tool
Decision making: we have developed and released an early version of an OA decision-making tool for academic staff
We’ve also been continuing to engage with the wider Pathfinder programme to disseminate our work (at the June ARMA conference and an upcoming Jisc-ARMA webinar) and developing ideas for a touring OA workshop which we’re planning on rolling out over the autumn this year.
At the end of October our Jisc-funded Open Access Pathfinder project, in collaboration with the Pathfinders led by the University of Hull and Coventry University, ran a full-day workshop on How to be innovative in Open Access with limited resources.
The event brought together representatives from 5 universities, most of which fall under the “modern university” heading. Among the attendees, backgrounds in open access and institutional responsibilities varied, with most attendees from a Library background, although three worked in central research offices:
Nick Woolley (Head of Academic Library Services, University of Northumbria, lead for Northumbria-Sunderland Pathfinder)
Barry Hall (Institutional Repository Coordinator, University of Sunderland)
Chris Awre (Head of Information Management, University of Hull, lead for HHuLOA Pathfinder)
Julie Bayley (Impact Manager, University of Coventry, project manager for 02OA Pathfinder)
Ellen Cole (Scholarly Publications Librarian, University of Northumbria)
Bev Jones (Research Repository and Information Officer, University of Lincoln)
David Young (Research Funding and Policy Manager, University of Northumbria)
Christine Downes (Research Support Coordinator, University of Northumbria)
It was a lively and engaging workshop and the smaller scale afforded more opportunity for detailed discussion and debate of the various issues.
You can read the full report for each of the three sessions on this blog:
Some pictures from the event are included below (yes, the cake was tasty!):
Draft Recommendations for Comment
At the end of the workshop we sketched out the following set of draft recommendations which we are publishing here for consideration and further comment from the sector, and in the spirit of the Jisc OA Pathfinder programme which is to “release outputs early and often”:
Best Practice Recommendations
Champions for OA among academic staff are relatively widespread, however we should consider OA champions among admin staff outside of Library, particularly research office.
OA week: current positioning conflicts with start of term and reduces engagement. Suggestion for alternative UK date in Spring. Possible OA event in April 2015 (one year to go until HEFCE REF policy)
Avoid vague “want to know more about OA?” messages. Focus on producing short guides explaining process, what to do when, and FAQs.
Coordination needed in negotiations with publishers to avoid “divide and rule”
Currently many institutions have piecemeal policies addressing OA, impact, IPR. There would be value in having an overarching “dissemination strategy” incorporating all of the above.
Guidance on support staff roles and levels for OA from HEFCE?
Top-level webpages/intranet pages on OA – don’t split guidance between Library and Research Office.
Pathfinder coverage of licensing and rights – there may be a gap here and Jisc needs to ensure this is covered
Create and disseminate template texts/OA slides for academics
In advocacy it is important to focus on the benefits of OA generally, and not just REF/RCUK compliance issues. Otherwise you risk creating a “REF divide” and disengaging staff who are not being considered for REF submission
Systems vs. Behaviour: expectation management is needed around the introduction of new systems (e.g. CRIS). No one system solves all problems. It’s crucial to focus on behaviour.
Next steps and Collaboration
Going forward, we have invited all participants to contribute a case study of their institutional approach to OA, issues specific to each institution, and how they are addressing them. Interim versions of these will be released in Spring next year, with the final versions in 2016. This aligns closely to the HHuLOA approach of capturing baseline data and updating this at regular intervals. Our Pathfinder is planning to contribute to this output for the HHuLOA Pathfinder.
In addition, Julie Bayley, project manager of the Coventry-led Pathfinder, is currently working on an intervention map, which will be a further joint output of the event.
We’re now just over three months into our Jisc OA Pathfinder project and it’s a good time to reflect on the progress we’ve made so far against our Project Plan as well as looking ahead to what’s in store over the coming months.
As a reminder and a starting point, it’s worth restating our project’s main aim: “We will develop shared tools and best practice policies and procedures to enable HEIs with limited external funding to effectively and creatively respond to the challenges and opportunities presented by recent Open Access policies.”
Way back in June/July there was a series of events which collectively kicked off the Jisc Pathfinder programme. The first was the inaugural meeting of the Open Access Implementation Community, which is a Jisc-hosted gathering of primarily library and research office colleagues who have some responsibility for setting and implementing open access policy in their institutions.
At the event each Pathfinder was asked to do a short (“lightning”) presentation of their project. This was incredibly useful as it enabled us to start to get a sense of where our project fits within the programme and where there are overlaps and potential synergies with other projects.
Following this my colleague, Ellen Cole, attended the first Programme Meeting on behalf of our Pathfinder. Here the theme of working together was picked up and a number of alignments between the projects were highlighted.
One of the first priorities for us following these events was to identify partners to work with us to build case studies – one of the key outputs of our project. In our bid, we had planned to hold a first case study workshop in September, but this clashed with various other Pathfinder events and it made sense to align our workshop with the plans of other Pathfinder projects. We therefore deferred the workshop until late October and are now in the planning stages, following initial discussions with the Hull and Coventry-led Pathfinders. These Pathfinder projects are both focusing on complementary areas to our own: Hull’s HHuLOA project looks at how OA can further research development at partner institutions, while Coventry’s O2OA focuses on understanding the requirements to implement OA in a modern university setting.
Likeus, both of these projects have been carrying out some form of “baselining” (i.e. working out where they are currently and what the key issues are in order to address their project objectives). For us, some of this analysis has focused on our institutional repositories – which have been central in driving forward the OA agenda at our respective institutions. At our workshop we will build on this to explore questions around setting and implementing institutional OA policy in a modern university, and how we can go beyond compliance with limited external funding for OA.
A balancing act?
Our project team has also been busy designing a methodology for our case study work package. Part of this was assessing our current situation – as mentioned above – but we have also used the opportunity presented to us by this year’s Repository Fringe in Edinburgh. As one of the OA Pathfinders, we were asked to run a short session introducing our project to the delegates (a mix of library professionals, developers, publishers, and funders).
Our workshop focused on a few key questions which have arisen from our project team’s initial discussions as well as the work that we’ve already undertaken around open access advocacy and policy development:
In our institutional OA policymaking, do we aim to strike an “optimal balance” between Green and Gold OA, or do we favour one over the other?
Do all stakeholders in our institutions see this the same way as us?
As institutions with limited resources to address the challenges posed by OA, can we use these policies to positively influence other aspects of our institutional culture, e.g. publishing behaviour?
The workshop provided some expected and some unexpected answers to these questions. It also helped to highlight many common themes and issues which are shared by a variety of stakeholders. The full report includes a summary and commentary on the findings – as well as copious pictures of coloured post-it notes!
Compliance and evidence
It’s been a busy time in our universities over the past few weeks, with preparations for the beginning of the new term. Those of us with an open access remit have been especially busy contributing to a number of reports and consultation documents primarily linked to the RCUK compliance monitoring report (due on the 12th September) and their related call for evidence on implementing the RCUK OA policy.
I’ll be writing another post about the various sector-wide consultation responses we have contributed to. For Northumbria, putting together the RCUK OA compliance report presented challenges in terms of linking ouputs and funding data. We have certainly made significant progress this year – an OA policy has been officially agreed by the University Executive, and this is supported by a significant internal OA APC fund. However, we still have work to do to make the whole OA lifecycle work smoothly.
Our project workshop in late-October will bring together 6-8 institutions with complementary aims to explore the challenges of implementing OA in a modern university setting. This will be the starting point of the case studies which will become a key output of the project.
We will start to look at cost modelling for OA, which will likely include further collaboration with another Pathfinder. Watch this space for more details.
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.
The 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.