There are now many OA policies, from research funders and universities, listed in Sherpa/Juliet, ROARMAP and MELIBEA. This can lead to some confusion, especially for an author who is subject to more than one, neatly illustrated in a slide used by John Norman of Cambridge at an ALPSP seminar earlier this year (available here, PDF, slide 8). While potential alignment of policies is an ambition of the EC PASTEUR4OA project, and there are specific calls for some alignment between RCUK and REF OA policies in the UK, a first step might be simply to have policies expressed in a relatively consistent way.
It turns out that this is not as straightforward as it might sound. A group of us, including Alma Swan, Stevan Harnad, Bill Hubbard, Mafalda Picarra and myself, have been working on a draft schema for a while now. It remains a draft, and we are very interested in feedback on it. Proposed schema for OA policies 20141117 [MS Word]. There is a balance to be struck, between precise description, complexity of expression, and difficulty in actually using the schema. While the draft is quite long, we think that – on the basis of an analysis of a range of real OA policies – it needs to be long, to avoid too much ambiguity. And, of course, the schema would only need to be filled out when a policy were issued or revised, which we hope would not be too often.
Anyway, we are now asking for feedback, both via comments on this blog post, and more directly in some cases. We hope, at the very least, that the schema will provide a framework for a systematic and informed debate on where and why policies differ.