Sherpa FACT

Sherpa FACT is an information service run by the Sherpa team at the University of Nottingham, on behalf of Jisc, the Research Councils and the Wellcome Trust. It draws from information on Sherpa-RoMEO (on publishers’ and journals’ OA policies), Sherpa-Juliet (on funders’ OA policies) and the Directory of OA Journals, to give advice to UK authors on compliance with funder’s policies in their journal of choice. An advisory group has been convened for FACT, comprising Neil Jacobs (Jisc), Robert Kiley (Wellcome Trust), Mark Thorley (Research Councils), Yvonne Budden (UK Council of Research Repositories), Susie Winter (Publishers Association), Bill Hubbard (Sherpa) and Azhar Hussain (Sherpa).

At the most recent advisory group meeting, in June, the group considered the accuracy of FACT set against its perceived accuracy, and the causes and implications of any perceived inaccuracies. Faced with a range of evidence and perspectives on these questions, the group agreed that the accuracy of FACT from various analytical exercises is very good, in some analyses over 98%, which was felt by the funders to be acceptable, given the complexity of the information and the interpretation involved. However, the perception of some users, and the way that FACT is being used, or not used, shows that there is underlying concern as to both the accuracy of information in FACT and the possible implications for institutions if FACT is used without double-checking with publishers directly

The group concluded in consequence that:

1. funders will review the ways in which they guided people to use FACT;
2. the PA will enable publishers to feed back corrections to FACT (publishers may, of course, do this directly to the Sherpa team);
3. FACT will commit to respond to comments on accuracy within three days (this is now advertised on the feedback form);
4. publishers through the PA will consider whether they are happy to work with other stakeholders to develop a set of best practices for journals to express their journal OA policies;
5. the Advisory Group will see whether we can do a more systematic review of FACT’s accuracy, validated by HEIs, publishers and funders, to identify both the extent of any inaccuracies and their nature / cause.

The next advisory group meeting is in September, by which time we hope to have a clearer picture of any issues that there may be here, and any further action that is needed.

By Neil Jacobs

JISC Programme Director, Digital Infrastructure (Information Environment)

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