2. The Changing Landscape of Open Access Mandates

2.1. Institutional Mandate

Many institutions, similar to Southampton, have introduced a mandate in the intervening years between 2003 to-date.  These usually take the form of a requirement to do the following:

  • Make publications that are a result of the research undertaken within the institution open access as soon as possible after publication
  • Deposit those publications into an institutional repository, taking into account copyright restrictions, as soon as possible after publication

The detail of the mandate will vary from institution to institution, depending on a number of factors including whether the institution has an institutional repository, whether there is a culture of self-archiving already in place that can be easily incorporated into the new mandate, and whether there is support for open access publishing and the costs involved.  However, at their core, all institutional mandates attempt to make as much of the research accessible as soon as possible within the current model of academic publishing.

Some important dates

  • June 2005 - The Russell Group, representing 19 major research universities that receive 60% of the research grants in the UK, issued a statement endorsing open access.
  • September 8, 2005 - Universities UK, representing all UK universities, issued a statement endorsing open access and the draft RCUK open-access policy.
  • 2009 - The 1st Conference on Open Access scholarly publishing takes place.
  • October 19-23, 2009 - International Open Access Week sparked large numbers of events, announcements and similar awareness-raising activities including a series of events at the University of Cambridge.  Highlights were Yale ISP Celebrating Open Access Week with New Research, the announcement of German Research Foundation Funding for University Author Funds, and a press release from the Wellcome Trust commenting on the Wellcome Trust wishing ‘to see a commitment from publishers to show the uptake of their open access option and to adjust their subscription rates to reflect increases in income from open access fees.’
  • January 2010 - Universities UK (UUK) supports open access for REF.  As part of the Universities UK response to HEFCE's consultation on the Research Excellence Framework, UUK's response contains the following endorsement of an open access approach to the assessment process: ‘UUK supports the move towards "open access" of research outputs and, although not mentioned in the consultation, would encourage the REF guidance to require that all submitted outputs are available through some form of open access mechanism. This would build on good research and information management practice. Work currently being undertaken by JISC and other stakeholders can support this process.’
  • August 4, 2010 - New study examines the economic returns of public access policies.
  • 2010 - Over 120 HE leaders and 40 Nobel laureates in the US announce public support for the Federal Research Public Access Act, first proposed in 2006.
  • September 7, 2012 - The UK Government Department for Business, Innovation and Skills announces a £10 million fund to higher education institutions to assist in the transition to open access research publishing.
  • April 6, 2012 - UNESCO releases Dr Alma Swan’s Policy Guidelines for the Development and Promotion of Open Access, a guide to help institutions understand how to put OA policies into place.


Developing an Institutional Open Access Policy (from OASIS: Open Access Scholarly Information Sourcebook)

Good Practices for University Open Access Policies by Stuart Shieber and Peter Suber

ROARMAP - Registry of Open Access Repositories Mandatory Archiving Policies created in 2003 at University of Southampton