Finch report

Report of the Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings – the Finch Group

The Government announced on 16 July 2012 that it has accepted the recommendations of the Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings, chaired by Dame Janet Finch. The RIN provided the secretariat and drafted the report Accessibility, sustainability, excellence: how to expand access to research publications, which was published on 18 June – the full report and its executive summary are attached below. The report recommended a balanced programme of action to enable more people to read and use the publications arising from research, and to accelerate the progress towards a fully open access environment.

The report made clear that several different channels for communicating research results will remain important over the next few years. But it recommended a clear policy direction in the UK towards support for ‘Gold’ open access publishing, where publishers receive their revenues from authors rather than readers, and so research articles become freely accessible to everyone immediately upon publication. At the same time, the report recommended extensions to current licensing arrangements in the higher education, health and other sectors; improvements to the infrastructure of repositories, and support for the moves by publishers to provide access to the great majority of journals in public libraries.

The Government response to the report accepts all the report’s recommendations and looks to the Funding Councils and Research Councils to implement them in consultation with universities, research institutions, researchers and publishers. The Government also announced in its Open Data White Paper that it is establishing a Research Transparency Sector Board to consider how to develop policy on access to research data. This follows at least in part from the analysis of issues relating to research data in the Royal Society’s report Science as an Open Enterprise.

Research Councils UK also announced on 16 July a new open access policy to come into effect for all research articles submitted for funding from 1 April 2013 that arise from Research Council funding. The policy includes new arrangements, in the form of block grants paid to UK Higher Education Institutions, approved independent research organisations and Research Council Institutes to support payment of the Article Processing Charges (APCs) associated with Gold open access. Universities and other institutions will be expected to set-up and manage their own publication funds.

The Higher Education Funding Councils have announced that they are developing proposals for implementing a requirement that research outputs submitted to a REF or similar exercise after 2014 shall be as widely accessible as may be reasonably achievable at the time; and that they will consult their partners in research funding, and a wide range of other interested bodies, before finalising their plans.

The EU Commission has also announced new policies both for open access to publications and for access to data arising from research funded under Horizon 2020, the successor to Framework Programme 7 which will come into effect in 2014

Implementation of the Finch Group’s recommendations will require co-ordinated action from all the key stakeholders in the research and scholarly communications landscape. The Group itself will meet in a year’s time to review progress.

Accessibility, sustainability, excellence: how to expand access to research publications by Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings (‘Finch Group’) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Reseach Information Network (RIN)