Thursday, 24 April 2014

Open Access comes of age: implementing open access policies at UCL, Manchester and beyond

Presentation by Catherine Sharp (UCL), Helen Dobson (University of Manchester), Rob Johnson (Research Consulting)

(Presentation on UKSGSlideshare

A year after the introduction of the RCUK Open Access Policy, two research-intensive institutions share their experiences of delivering open access services. As well as developing policies on using funds and choosing Gold/Green, UCL and Manchester have set up advocacy programmes and payment systems (including prepayment schemes) to encourage take-up and reduce administration for authors. This session also included an overview of third-party solutions available to streamline the management of article processing charges for academic institutions and publishers.

UCL’s approach to OA – Implementing the RCUK Mandate

  • At least 9,000 OA research papers a year
  • Around 20,000 full-text items in their IR
  • 3 different OA funds. One fund is the Wellcome Trust fund. This paid for 345 papers in the academic year 2012-13. UCL fund just started.
  • Very much an academics choice whether to go with Green or Gold OA, though they do encourage ‘Green’. Most academics choosing Gold
  • UCL Press just been launched for OA books
  • The target for this year was 753, projected 798. Publishing more OA papers. Means more payments to be processed.

Managing payments:

  • Working with publishers to simplify the process
  • UCL has joined prepayment schemes for several publishers.

Staffing structures:

  • OA Funding Manager (Advocacy, publisher negotiation, budgets and management reporting);
  • OA Compliance Officer (Funder and UCL compliance, advocacy);
  • Two OA funding assistants (Author advice, payments, prepayment checks).
Data is collected from authors, including type of OA, bib data, funding details. An Access database is used, populated by the assistants. UCL is In the process of trying to get academic buy-in, so trying to make the process as easy as possible for academics. There are lots of different permutations, so the OA team needs to intervene early in the process. They operate an email service, and get asked a lot of questions. The team fill in the required forms.

Advocacy webpages:

  • ‘Open Access at UCL’ – Tailored sections for different types of author. Printed author guides very popular too.
  • OA communication plan:
  • This identifies principal stakeholders and type of communication best for that group. OA conference was very successful, with mostly academics attending.
Complications and challenges:
  • Different publisher and funding policies;
  • Authors need a very responsive, personal service;
  • Licences need explaining.
  • Invoice payment really cumbersome;
  • Bureaucratic publisher systems, etc;
  • Need to make the process easy enough for academics.

OA at University of Manchester

4,500 OA research papers per year
RCUK block funding and Wellcome funding.

OA Pump Priming Project:
  • Advocacy - hoping to generate a culture change.
  • Also HEFCE coming on-board too, with an OA mandate.
  • The decision was made to build their own system. This required support staff and new software.
  • Project ran until July last year.

Staffing resource:

  • Different from UCL
  • Use expertise of existing groups/teams, e.g. systems, marketing, finance
  • Number of staff across the university involved
  • Research team is in overall charge.

Communication and advocacy:

  • Didn’t want academics to see the process as a burden
  • Created a factsheet. Put RCUK policy in a Manchester context
  • FAQs on the website
  • Top-down approach to communication of all departments. Core messages given to top-level. Sometimes message did get diluted so OA team had to mop this up.
  • OA now a standard item on research faculty committee meetings. The OA team sends a report for each meeting.
  • Some confusion still in small schools, so more communication needed
  • The identification of articles which could be made OA worked really well. An email was sent to the author to say about this and find out how they could help.

Systems and processes:

  • Good to base it on the existing IR
  • Request APC (Article Processing Charge) tab on the IR reporting area
  • Minimise input
  • Hooks into HR system at Manchester
  • When invoice sent to the author the OA team uploads this into the system
  • APC fund from the RCUK grant (£824,459)
  • Publisher prepayment deals with various publishers – Elsevier, Wileys, etc.


  • Support service on campus
  • Engage in community-wide problem solving
  • Share data and experience

University of Manchester has achieved the RCUK OA compliance target.

OA Intermediaries

University of Nottingham example:

  • Around 4,000 OA papers per year
  • January 2013 adopted OAK as APC intermediary
  • May 2013 OAK service migrated to Jisc APC.

APC is not straightforward. Around 35% of payments have had problems/complications at Cambridge University.

Need administrative support at the universities. Also intermediaries are another stakeholder to think about.

Publishers and universities – is there sufficient buy-in from both parties?

Legacy systems used. This makes it difficult to share the data, using ORCID, etc.

Where do intermediaries fit in?:

  • Depends on the size of institution
  • Small institutions – single invoices are fine is there is a small number
  • Big organisations – can develop their own system
  • However, there is a gap in-between, i.e medium size institutions
  • Trying to make data standardised – having to aggregate information. Some information is missing, so need to find this information manually. Data from various publishers. Data different in different formats, etc.
  • Need to manage transactions
  • Improved author experience (but perhaps not yet?)
  • Streamlining the process for managing compliance
  • Promoting adoption

Is there a code of practice? There is a need for this, and there are some moves in this direction. ORCID is a crucial standard to link to.
RCUK doesn’t know what data they need yet about OA articles, so need to keep all the information provided.
Universities and funders are now beginning to report data on APCs.

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