Counting the cost of Open Access

Commissioned by London Higher and SPARC Europe, the Counting the Costs of Open Access report highlights the compliance burden associated with the move to open access publication of research articles, and for the first time identifies the administrative cost of making articles open access through the ‘gold’ and ‘green’ routes.

As noted in Neil Jacob’s Jisc Scholarly Communications blog post, issues outlined in the report are being addressed by Jisc in a number of ways. He highlights the role of the OA Good Practice initiative in its role to enable knowledge sharing between universities, through the range of workshops, webinars, briefings etc,  and the nine pathfinder projects (involving 30 universities in all) as they explore different aspects of implementation.

Neil also mentions another forum, being revived in January, the “Research Information Management Group” which has been a high-level information sharing group whose members include national bodies (eg, Research Councils, HEFCE), universities, and their representative bodies (eg, RLUK, ARMA). Many other mechanisms exist, of course, such as those offered by bodies like ARMA, SCONUL and RLUK, with whom Jisc works increasingly closely.

Other key areas highlighted are:

“2. Joint development of systems (in collaboration with third party vendors)
Perhaps the key Jisc work in this area is around standards. Readers will be aware of RIOXX, the basic metadata profile that enables repositories to meet many of the information requirements of RCUK and the REF. Release of this, and the associated plugins for systems such as EPrints, has been delayed while NISO finalises its recommendations on certain fields, but yesterday I saw a copy of those, and expect RIOXX to be released very soon. (I know we’ve said that before, and I wouldn’t blame readers for being a little sceptical, but I am hopeful now.) However, RIOXX only covers many, not all, of the fields needed for reporting, management and audit around OA policies. The Jisc-CASRAI group on OA reporting is working hard on an expanded range of fields to enable much wider interoperability and consistency. At its most recent telcon yesterday, I’m glad to say that we agreed that vendors will need to be consulted as part of this work.

3. Greater sharing of policies and procedures
Much of the work I’ve outlined above does contribute to sharing policies and procedures, but I’ll also mention an initiative that I’ve been working on, partly as part of the EC PASTEUR4OA project in which Jisc is a partner. With others, such as the Sherpa team, we have developed a candidate schema by which organisations (universities, funders) issuing OA policies can do so using a standard set of terms and expressions. I remember at an ALPSP event earlier this year, seeing a slide from John Norman at Cambridge, which showed just how complicated and unclear an author’s life could get when subject to more than one OA policy, and this schema might be one way to move some of that burden off authors, and onto those issuing OA policies. We’ve circulated the candidate schema internationally, through various channels, and hope to get support and feedback shortly.

4. Automation of compliance reporting processes.
Regular readers of this blog will know that Jisc’s main work here is the Jisc Monitor project. Most recently, this has outlined some prototype services being developed, based on extensive consultation, to bring data together and increase the automation of compliance monitoring and reporting. The project has an important review meeting on 18th December, where its remaining priorities will be agreed, so if you have anything you’d like to input into that, please either post a comment here or get in touch with me ( – note new email address) or the project manager (Jo Lambert, We’re confident that Jisc Monitor services will be fully operational during 2015, to help universities comply with OA policies.”


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