25 October 2012

Open Access Week 2012: OA Mandates

Despite the many benefits of Open Access, advocates acknowledge that authors have been slow to jump on the OA bandwagon.  As I mentioned in yesterday's post, one of the proposed solutions is some kind of mandate requiring researchers to make their scholarly output Open Access. These mandates might come from the institutions that employ scholars or the bodies that fund research.  There are also mandates that focus specifically on theses and dissertations.  For a list of who has what kind of mandate, visit the ROARMAP collection.

So do any forced migration authors in JRS come from institutions which mandate Open Access?  Looking just at the affiliations of JRS authors who published articles in the 2010 volume and the first two issues of the 2011 volume, I identified six institutions with institutional mandates.  One could assume that some eprint version would be available in full-text: either the preprint, for which authors maintain copyright, or the postprint, at least for the issues for which the embargo period of 24 months stipulated by OUP is over.  I looked for the specific JRS reference in the repository as well as other references for the author.  Here is what I found (the indicated year is when the mandate was due to "come into force"):

Belgium:  Ghent University (2010) [mandate] [access]
- A record for the relevant 2011 JRS article is available; however, no eprints are provided.  Perhaps this is because, as the policy stipulates, "Only publications with attached electronic full text can be included in libraries."  At the same time, the record indicates a PDF of some version is available but only to IR staff.

Finland: University of Tampere (2011) [mandate] [access]
- Even though ROARMAP indicates that the institutional mandate was registered with them in 2009, the policy itself wasn't implemented until two years later, so after the publication of the 2010 JRS article in question.  As such, there is no record of the article in the IR.

Norway: University of Bergen (2010) [mandate] [access]
- The mandate requires the deposit of peer-reviewed journal articles.  Therefore, no record for the 2011 JRS article in question could be located in the IR since the embargo period for the postprint is not yet completed, and the preprint by definition is not peer-reviewed.

UK: Queen Margaret University (2008) [mandate] [access] [article about the IR]
- Extract from the policy:  "We have...adopted the policy that all research output is to be archived in the departmental institutional repository before or after peer-reviewed publication."  In other words, either the pre- or postprint.  Records for two 2010 JRS articles by three authors affiliated with this institution were located in the IR.  Both the records indicate full-texts are available (although it is not clear what version they are), but apparently only repository staff have access to them.  I clicked on the "request a copy" button for both, and will report back accordingly.

UK: University of Strathclyde (2009) [mandate] [access]
- Extract from the policy: "Staff are required to deposit from October 1st 2009: Bibliographic details of all research outputs, and the full text of other research outputs where appropriate."  The bibliographic record for the relevant 2010 JRS article is available, but not the full-text.  I sent an email to the IR requesting clarification; the reply indicated that I could alert the author about the status of the publication and request a copy of the full-text.  In the process, this could hopefully result in the postprint being uploaded to the IR.

US: Princeton University (2011) [mandate] [access]
- While the mandate was established after the publication of the 2010 JRS article in question, it is interesting to note that Princeton apparently adopted its mandate before it even had established an institutional repository!  It has one now, but holdings are limited.

So while mandates sound good in theory, there is no standardization in terms of how they are worded.  As these examples demonstrate, you really have to read the fine print to learn what authors are expected to deposit and what consumers can expect to find in a given institutional repository.  (Read this article for more information about variations in mandates and the impact on repository holdings.)

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