Open access monitoring

This study was commissioned by Universities UK’s Open Access Co-ordination Group in response to a recommendation of the Finch Group in its second report in 2013 that reliable indicators should be gathered on key features of the transition to open access (OA) in the UK. The findings presented in the report from the study, Monitoring the Transition to Open Access, are thus a first attempt at generating such indicators covering five sets of issues:

  • OA options available to authors: the numbers of fully-OA and hybrid journals, along with issues such as the level of article processing charges (APCs), the availability of CC-BY and other licences, and the length of embargo periods
  • Accessibility: authors’ take-up of OA options: the numbers – and the proportions of the overall population – of articles accessible on OA terms via different routes
  • Usage: the levels of usage of OA articles as compared to those that are not accessible on OA terms
  • Financial sustainability for universities: the amounts paid by UK universities in subscriptions and in APCs; and
  • Financial sustainability for learned societies: the overall income and expenditure – as well as the volumes of journal-related income and expenditure – of UK learned societies which have some publishing income.
  • There are of course other issues highly relevant to the monitoring of progress towards OA, including such matters as the quality of services provided by publishers to authors and readers; and we hope that these will be addressed in subsequent studies.

We are aware that the data we have been able to gather presents a number of challenges to which we draw attention in the body of this report. We make some recommendations that could lead to improvements in the quality of the data; and we are also aware that in subsequent exercises, improvements could be made in the methodologies we have adopted. Hence we have tried to be both clear and cautious in presenting the findings, set out in the report.

The report includes an executive summary, and the findings are also outlined in a Universities UK factsheet, downloadable here.

This report is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Reseach Information Network (RIN)