Jisc OAIC Webinar- HEFCE’s Open Access Requirements for REF

In response to HEFCE’s new policy for open access relating to future research assessments, the first Jisc Open Access Implementation Community webinar provided an opportunity for delegates to receive an overview of the policy and to pose questions and comments to HEFCE and Jisc directly. Presentations considered the implications of the policy on research and the assessment of research as well as what services, tools and guidance were available or were forthcoming to support institutions in the implementation of this policy. Underpinning all these considerations were what key issues would need to be addressed if full implementation is to be fully realised.

See the Recording:


Ben Johnson, Research Policy Advisor, HEFCE (Presentation slides)

Neil Jacobs, Head of Scholarly Communications, Jisc (Presentation slides)

Questions and Answers from the session:

1)      Q: Can HEFCE define what is meant by ‘asap’ with regard to the bibliographic record being made available?     

A: Outputs should be made discoverable as soon as there is sufficient information for the output to be found via an internet search.  Some of this information might be available at deposit (e.g. journal name, title of paper, authors etc, and even DOI, ORCID if available). Some may follow on publication, and the metadata may be updated at that point with further information. HEFCE will be content for repository records to become ‘live’ on publication, where an author or journal prefers that.

2)      Q: Why does the policy ask for deposit at point of acceptance rather than at point of publication? There is rarely an institutional system for identifying acceptance (or extractable metadata) and there can be huge change to an article between acceptance and publication. Additionally, surely the date of acceptance is placing the onus for information communication in the hands of thousands of individual users? Why not go for something that can be done more systematically?

A: There are a few points here. Firstly, our consultation responses revealed quite convincingly that the best time for authors to deposit their work is the point that it is accepted for publication, as they are most engaged in the publication process at this point. We recognise that this means that some institutions may need to educate their academics about their responsibilities resulting from this policy, but we believe that the cultural change achieved by this will be substantially positive. Further, some publishers are showing positive signs that they will support authors in depositing their work on acceptance, which will help with this.

Secondly, articles do not change substantially between firm acceptance and publication – all of the peer-reviewed changes have been made at that point. Copy edits and layout are the only changes that follow. Authors’ accepted manuscripts are therefore a widely recognised format for delivering open access.

As Gold OA grows, the point of acceptance becomes a key point at which the HEI does business, i.e. pays the APC.  Therefore, institutions will need systems that identify the point of acceptance, and this is something on which we need to work with publishers.  It is likely that work such as SHARE in the US will provide some tools to help with this.

3)      Q: What about Physical Geography and Sport Science? Currently Panel C but considered as STEM?

A: These outputs will take the 24 month embargo maximum.

4)      Q: Can HEFCE clarify that articles can be submitted to REF if they are published in the later part of the REF census period and are still in embargo on the final REF submission date?

A: Yes, these articles will be eligible – see para 32 of the policy.

5)      Q: Given the weighting for environment and everything else that has to included, how much credit will OA really be given?

A: We have not yet decided about the weightings of the environment component of the next REF, nor have we decided about its composition (beyond setting out the details of this OA policy). Our experience of handling REF submissions shows that institutions treat all components of their REF submission as important.

6)      Q: While it is true that barriers to intellectual access need to be removed, how do we ensure intellectual novelty of academic research is adequately protected? Embargoes are one way to do this.

A: There is no apparent link between intellectual novelty, open access and embargoes. The ability of journals and other publication venues to present intellectually novel research findings to the world in a way that respects authors’ rights is not questioned or threatened by open access.

7)      Q: Considering the date of publication can be a reasonable amount of time in the future from acceptance, what advice can you offer to institutions regarding being able to identify when an article is subsequently published, in order to begin/release the accepted manuscript from embargo?

A: One effective method here might be to use the CrossRef API, through which data are available on the publication date of articles and, increasingly, of the relevant embargoes.  The latter is the result of recent agreements on metadata and, because it is in their interests and is now defined in a standard, publishers are increasingly providing CrossRef with the relevant data.  Jisc’s support for repositories will help them use the CrossRef API for this purpose.

8)      Q: Will credit available for re-use and text mining address ‘format’ (eg appropriateness of PDF) as well as copyright and licencing?

A: The criteria for awarding credit have not yet been developed, and are unlikely to be developed separately to our work to develop the next REF. This aspect of the open access agenda is rapidly evolving, and new and innovative solutions are emerging all the time. We want to retain the flexibility to give credit to institutions finding new solutions for providing more liberal open access without having to make predictions about what these solutions might be.

9)      Q: Can Jisc supply more information on the ‘router service’?

A: So far, the router has focused on copying records and papers to repositories from Europe PubMedCentral and Nature Publishing Group.  It has faced challenges in the last part of the workflow, passing material to repositories in a way that fits with local repository workflows.  We are keen to find ways to overcome these challenges and would welcome HEI partners with whom to work on them.

10)   Q: Given the open consultation on use of metrics and altmetrics, how does HEFCE plan to reconcile citations from myriad sources if journal articles are posted on multiple sites?

A: No decisions have been made about metrics and altmetrics in the context of research assessment. Issues such as this are being considered as part of the review. Further details on the review are available here: http://www.hefce.ac.uk/whatwedo/rsrch/howfundr/metrics /

11)   Q: Will JISC be working with CRIS like PURE etc. as well as Eprints Dspace, etc.?

A: While the common repository platforms are open source and curated close to the academic community, CRIS are typically commercial and part of increasingly integrated product suites, eg from Elsevier and Thomson Reuters.  This means that we may have to engage with them in a different way, and we are exploring the best way to do this.  It is likely that the product user groups will play a key role.

12)   Q: Can you clarify if the exception applies if a journal only offers a gold option?

A: Gold articles must still be deposited in an institutional or subject repository, though the repository may keep the deposit ‘closed’ and link to the gold version elsewhere. They may also deposit the published gold article in the repository when it becomes available.

[updated 2/6/14 for clarification below]

The policy states that at least the author’s accepted manuscript (AAM) must be deposited within three months of acceptance. For Gold OA, there are two use cases:

  1. If the article is published as Gold OA within 3 months of acceptance, the published version of record can be deposited in the repository instead of the AAM.
  2. If the article is not published as Gold OA within 3 months of acceptance, the AAM should be deposited. Given that a Gold version will become available on publication, it is OK for this deposited file to remain closed; the repository can then either replace this AAM with the published version, or provide a link to the Gold version hosted elsewhere.

13)   Q: Are the funding councils working with publishers to make metadata about accepted papers available to institutions or is the onus on HEIs to find out?

A: Jisc is initiating discussions with a number of publishers about this issue as it might be addressed for both Green and Gold papers.  We see a significant new touch point for institutions in the publication workflow, the point where a paper is accepted, regardless of whether the paper is destined to be Green or Gold.

14)   Q: So will we get extra credit for making data underpinning articles open?

A: Extra credit will be given for making a wider range of outputs open. This would include data.

15)   Q: Please remind us where the blog is

A: The OA Good Practice blog is https://openaccess.jiscinvolve.org/wp/

All information will, when available, be posted on this blog, through the twitter feed ‘@OA_GoodPractice’ and on OAGOODPRACTICE@jiscmail.ac.uk


1 thought on “Jisc OAIC Webinar- HEFCE’s Open Access Requirements for REF

  1. Pingback: JISC webinar on Open Access good practice | UCL UCL Discovery Blog

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