Open Access in the United Kingdom
The UK has a large number of institutional repositories -- currently around 117. This reflects the high degree of interest and the development work that has been funded in the UK over the past four years.
There are over 170 education institutions within the UK. These vary from research-led universities like Oxford, or Edinburgh, through to far smaller specialist organisations which may have more of the teaching focus. The Universities are divided into different groupings: those of the research led universities are the Russell Group and the 1994 Group. These two groups hold the top 40 research led institutions. At the time of writing every Russell Group University has an institutional repository, and most of the 1994 Group -- only about six of these did not have a repository.
Therefore, the infrastructure for the ingest and storage of open access material is largely in place. Work continues on advocacy to academics to encourage authors to use these repositories, and the expansion of these repositories the whole different materials; for example, datasets, multimedia material, and learning materials.
In response to requests from the repository community, and with input from UKCoRR members, SHERPA has compiled a skills set and description of the common repository roles needed to develop and manage a successful institutional repository. The document can be found on the SHERPA http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/news/staffandskillssecondrevision.html.
There are a number of open access organisations and groups are active within the UK. Some of these have arisen from funded projects, while others have been self created by their members. Please find below a list of some of the prominent open access organisations, links to their websites, and a brief description.
- SHERPA Partnership - the SHERPA partnership grew out of the original SHERPA project (2002 -- 2006). It currently holds over 30 institutional members, and an Affiliate Partnership programme is available.
- UKCoRR - this is a recent development that has been launched through the work of Sherpa plus. UKCoRR is intended to be a professional body for repository managers within the UK. As such, it concentrates on the practicalities of running institutional repositories rather than advocacy of open access itself. More information can be gained from its website.
- IRIScotland - this was an initiative funded by the JISC for the development of a federated open access environment for Scotland. This brings together all of the open access repositories within Scotland -- see the website for further details.
- ePrints.org - eprints software was the original institutional repository software, developed at the University of Southampton. This software now powers a significant fraction of the world's open access repositories and is under continuous development.
The vast majority of open access projects and initiatives have been funded by the JISC. The JISC is responsible for the disbursement democratic for the development of IT in higher education. The organisation has been responsible for much of the initiative and strategy in the development of the UK's open access environment.a full list of all of the open access projects that have been funded by the JISC would be impractical to list here -- there must be over a hundred. The JISC website has links to these projects through the different funded programmes through which they had managed. Some significant projects are as follows:
- Intute Repository Search
- The Depot
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The JISC have produced, along with SURF, a Licence that they suggest authors can use to give to publishers in order to retain some control of their work, particularly with regard to open access dissemination. The Licence is availabe from http://copyrighttoolbox.surf.nl/copyrighttoolbox/authors/licence/ This may be useful for authors elsewhere to use, or for copyright agencies elsewhere to use as a model for recommendations.
Most government funding for research in UK universities is directed through the research councils, which collectively are known as RCUK. Some of the individual councils have now adopted mandates for open access dissemination of the research outputs that they fund. Another significant Funder in the UK (although they work internationally) is the Wellcome Trust. The Wellcome Trust has a mandate which requires grant recipients to make their information available through open access -- in this case through the repository UKPMC. Further information on funding requirements in the UK and internationally is available through the JULIET service.
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- The best overall news service for development in open access is undoubtedly Peter Suber's blog. This is international in scope and has news, comments, information, and lists of significant International conferences and events.
- JISC maintains a news service with many items of relevance to open access, in addition to the other areas and work that it covers.
- DRIVER maintains a news pagewhere items of significant interest for Europena Open Access development are noted.
- SHERPA keeps a newspage current with significant updates of relevance to its partners and the UK. The SHERPA site also maintains a jobs page for vacancies within the open access environment.
Towards a Knowledge Lifecycle: Populating Repositories "Upstream" Sally Rumsey, Fedora HatCheck Newsletter, December 16th, 2008
Contributor's contact details
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Mary Robinson, European Development Officer, SHERPA
Page last modified: October 16, 2009, at 10:45 AM