US Government Open Access Mandate & New Platform for Oxford University Press

US Government Open Access Mandate & New Platform for Oxford University Press

Academic Publishing – September 2022

US government mandates open access publication for federally funded research

The United States government has announced a significant change to its open access policy. A memorandum (PDF) issued by Dr. Alondra Nelson, head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), has instructed all federal departments and agencies to update their public access policies as soon as possible, so that they require the open access publication of the results of taxpayer-funded research, without any embargo or cost, by the end of 2025.

Data must also be freely available, with the data published in peer-reviewed articles made available immediately on publication, and any other data ‘within a reasonable timeframe’, according to a White House blogpost. An option allowing a twelve-month embargo for federally funded research published in subscription journals will also be ended by 2025. Researchers will be able to include publication and data-sharing costs in their research budget proposals.

The move has been welcomed by many. UK Research and Innovation, which last week announced its own plans for research and innovation, welcomed the news in a tweet, while cOAlition S Executive Director Johan Rooryck described the policy as ‘a game changer for scholarly publishing’ that would ‘greatly advance efforts for global open access’. And in an article in the Conversation, Virginia Barbour expected that the move would ‘act as a catalyst for more policy changes globally’. Amongst publishers, PLOS tweeted their praise for ‘this important step forward in advancing scientific discovery and supporting trust in science’, while Frontiers, in a post on their blog, described the new guidance as ‘ground-breaking’, with CEO and co-founder Kamila Markram expressed the hope that it would prove a ’tipping point’.

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Oxford University Press migrates book content to new platform, makes content available to RNIB

Oxford University Press has announced that its online platform Oxford Academic will now host its books as well as journals. More than 40,000 books and 500,000 chapters have already been uploaded to the platform, where they join 500 journals and 3,000,000 journal articles; the number will continue to rise. Academic Managing Director David Clark described the migration as an important step towards Oxford realising its potential as a digital-first publisher, enabling the faster sharing of research through the implementation of new digital tools.

Oxford University Press has also announced a new partnership with the UK sight-loss charity the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) to make its academic content available on the charity’s accessibility service RNIB Bookshare; the move will enable UK learners to access content using assistive technology and devices, such as those created by Dolphin and DAISY. OUP’s frontlist content will be made available to the service’s 33,000 learners with print disabilities immediately while backlist content – comprising almost a million titles – will be uploaded at a later date; the Press’s educational content has been available via Bookshare since 2016.

Rutgers opens new European office in Oxford

Staying in Oxford, Rutgers University Press is opening a new European office there. Having doubled its publishing output over the past five years – from 75 books in 2016 to more than 150 last year – Rutgers has been looking increasingly towards an international audience for its titles and this, according to Press Director Micah Kleit, has resulted in the opening of this new European base.

Rutgers will be based at 99 Banbury Road in Oxford, where they will join The Voltaire Foundation and independent think tank the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) as tenants of their compatriots, Princeton University Press. Princeton moved into the Victorian building in November last year from the neighbouring town of Woodstock, taking it over from the Voltaire Foundation.

OLH co-founder Martin Eve to join CrossRef

Open Library of the Humanities co-founder Martin Eve has announced that he will be taking up a new role as Principal R&D Developer at non-profit digital object identifier agency CrossRef at the end of 2022. Explaining the decision in a post on his blog, Eve said that the new role would enable him to ‘continue my development work around metadata and scholarly communications while having space to do a deep dive into the infrastructural technologies that underpin contemporary academic publishing’.

Though Eve will be retaining his professorship at Birkbeck, University of London, he will – following a handover period – be stepping away from his roles with the Open Library of Humanities and its free, open-source publishing platform Janeway. He will also be departing COPIM (Community-led Open Publication Infrastructures for Monographs), the international partnership of researchers, universities, librarians, open access book publishers, and infrastructure providers exploring models for existing university presses to transition to open access for academic books.

In his blogpost, Eve stressed the importance of de-centring himself from the two projects so that they might ‘develop external governance and oversight that goes beyond me’. He does not, however, plan to abandon the debates on scholarly publishing in which he has played such an active and constructive part over the past decade, insisting that he would continue ‘to challenge the status quo and to ask difficult questions’.

Edinburgh University Press partners with ScienceOpen

Edinburgh University Press has announced a new partnership with the interactive discovery platform ScienceOpen. The deal will see the press’s Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies content – covering art and architecture, history, language and linguistics, literature, politics, and religion – made available in a new collection on the platform. The collection comprises more than 370 books and 1,000 journal articles and will continue to be updated with new content from EUP.

Alastair Horne is a lecturer in publishing studies at the University of Stirling.

Alastair writes our STM Publishing and our Academic Publishing Newsletters.

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