Open access community workshop – what happened and what’s happened since?

IMG_3037Our latest community workshop took place just before Christmas. As well as providing an opportunity to find out about and feedback on Jisc’s open access activities, our community events aim to provide a place to discuss and progress common issues facing institutions. Here we give a summary of the day, along with updates on the issues raised. 

The slides from the day are below and this tweet story includes links to live broadcasts of the presentations.

Discussions were based on topics suggested by attendees and are summarised below, with updates on what has happened since December.

The implications of the latest REF decisions

The latest REF decisions had been released not long before the workshop so these were at the top of the list for discussion. By far the largest group on the day, the discussion covered the policy itself, its implementation and demonstrating compliance.

Managing multiple policy changes in one REF period was the main point for discussion. A number of attendees were concerned about that REF OA policy had changed (in particular the change to allow deposit up to 3 months after publication for first 2 years of policy) and how best to communicate this to faculty, or indeed whether to communicate it at all. Some had told faculty, and were concerned that this was causing confusion, while others had decided not to publicise this.

The group discussed ORCID not being mandated. There was a general feeling of ‘why not mandate it?’ as ORCID is encouraged and referred to in OA policy and would make the OA team’s job easier if it was just mandated outright.

In terms of policy implementation, there was discussion over what the official acceptance date actually is (is an email from the publisher the ‘official acceptance’ or do they require a formal letter?) and difficulties in obtaining evidence to confirm the date. Sometimes only the authors receive this and don’t retain it, or get confused about what it is.

There were concerns around blurred lines between compliance and exceptions, and the fact that there are so many exceptions could cause confusion and extra work. Researchers understanding of open access and how to communicate and get buy-in were seen as key challenges to effective implementation.

Discussions on demonstrating compliance highlighted problems with REF compliance reports, where there was still manual work to do in some cases. In terms of portability of outputs there was discussion around the evidence that will need to be captured and where it should be captured. There was concern about how to evidence that an output has met the criteria, or that it complies with a particular exception, and should this be built into their CRIS or repository systems for example? Other questions arose around what data will be used to assess compliance in REF and whether will it be possible to have too many exceptions.

Making judgements on RCUK compliance (esp non-commercial re-use)

Discussion covered issues for both gold and green open access, but there was a view that checking compliance for green access will become an increasing problem due to limited / reduced funding for gold.

Specific issues around gold open access included whether an article is compliant if a funder is mentioned but a grant code isn’t given. Also, should institutions be checking for data statements and if so, how can this be done? How do institutions know if they are not required?

Specific issues around green open access covered how/where/whether to check for re-use rights for a particular article. Sherpa Fact can state “You can archive your article compliantly in an open access repository” even if the publisher’s statement does not permit non-commercial re-use. Attendees said they would welcome more feedback from RCUK in order to help clarify issues such as this. The group discussed whether there might be any penalties imposed if compliance dips below the yearly target.

These comments will be fed back at the next RCUK OA practitioners group.

Best practice in terms of discoverability of open access book titles

This group included representatives from Huddersfield and Westminster University Presses. At Westminster, there are general issues with discovery and dissemination and there are not many solutions: there is the traditional model, the trade route and “just being there”. Regardless of these three possible routes, there is not much visibility. Huddersfield publish both as OA (free) and a print version which people can buy. They now have a distributor to promote their books, but still have issues getting into certain outlets. However, the open access option is seen as the most important.

In terms of formats, Huddersfield still use PDFs, but it will change to HTML and XML next year. Westminster uses HTML and XML because that improves the discoverability and can also use live links.

Various methods of discovery and dissemination were discussed, including social media, JSTOR and mailing lists for promotion. Asking an academic to write a blog post about your press was seen as a way to get promotion, without appearing too much like a ‘salesperson’. Huddersfield has a marketing plan which includes using their Facebook press page and targeting specific graduate programmes in relevant topics. Other routes discussed included Amazon, OAPEN, Ubiquity Press partnership service, Open Library of the Humanities and the Directory of OA Books.

New university presses

The group shared their current activities: one library press had set up an Open Journal Systems hosting service, but had no specific strategy and they want to move to a more strategic, formal level; another library had an OJS hosting system but the member of staff running it had left. A third library was looking at setting up a hosting service as they had over 20 OJS installations in the university, which required high level support. Another library was looking at starting a press in the near future. The final library had dabbled with OJS in support of university departments and one association journal.

The group discussed the need for some shared resources such as criteria for setting up journals and how to prevent them being taken over by commercial publishers after they had been launched in the university. There was also a discussion about sharing platforms as all those round the table were using OJS.

A Jisc hosted sharing of experience event for NUPs was discussed and the planned NUP toolkit was also mentioned as a way to address some of the issues raised and to establish a community support structure.

The University of Huddersfield has now organised an event on sharing university press practices which will take place on June 18th, with support from Jisc.

Development of the Jisc research data management toolkit

Andrea Chiarelli from Research Consulting gave an update and got feedback on the research data management toolkit currently being developed by Jisc with Research Consulting. Due for release in spring 2018, you can read more about the session and toolkit on the our research data blog and see a poster recently produced for the IDCC conference in Barcelona in February.

Implications of GDPR for repository managers

While there was interest in this topic, no group felt they had enough knowledge for discussion, so it was noted as a topic to explore in future. Following the same issue being raised at an OA Scotland Group meeting in September, an event took place in January in Glasgow. Presentations and discussion notes are available on the OA Scotland blog.

Some of the key actions that came out of the OA Scotland meeting were to create shared documentation for GDPR, including checklists, privacy notices and templates and to collaborate and share best practice hints and tips. An outline document has been created to start sharing best practice and documentation. An update will be provided on GDPR at the next Open Access Scotland Working Group meeting in March.

For general advice we have an upcoming online briefing on GDPR on 16 March and guidance is also available from our GDPR site, including a guide on preparing for GDPR.


If you have any views or experiences on the topics covered at the event, please leave a comment below.

We hope to run our next community event in late Spring.

Leave a Reply

The following information is needed for us to identify you and display your comment. We’ll use it, as described in our standard privacy notice, to provide the service you’ve requested, as well as to identify problems or ways to make the service better. We’ll keep the information until we are told that you no longer want us to hold it.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *