Despite challenges, the new emphasis on OA provides librarians with a positive platform to re-establish their role in the research process.
A new report published by SAGE explores the current – and future role – of academic libraries in helping implement OA processing charges. The report explores the current state of the art, and shares recommendations. Although librarians support the goals and principles of open access, the OA mandates from funders are creating many challenges.
Institutional policies – still evolving
- Although some participants reported full OA policies were already in place, the majority of policies are still ‘evolving’
- Libraries at every participating institution are involved in OA policy development
- Institutional repositories are an essential element
- Participants expressed concern at possible shortfall in funding for author pays (‘gold’) OA publishing (RCUK is currently making some funds available)
- Some institutions are making up the shortfall; others are not
What roles and tasks are librarians undertaking?
- Entering into publisher OA agreements
- Allocating funding for individual papers – including one library which split its total funds into equal quarters for the year
- Most reported a low take-up of APC requests by researchers – many librarians are working to educate and advise researchers
- Working with publishers to administrate the cost – a task which many reported as frustrating or overly-complicated
- Funders should provide clear guidance on reporting and measurement
- Publishers need to better communicate copyright options and which of their publications are RCUK policy compliant
- More robust systems for managing APCs are needed
- Cross-industry initiatives and international standards should be developed
The report Implementing Open Access APCs: the role of academic libraries summarises the round table discussions of a panel of academic librarians and other interested parties and is available for free download here.
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