3. Expanding Access to Published Research Findings: The Finch Report

3.1. Conclusions and Recommendations

What were the conclusions of the Group?

The Group concluded that open access initiatives presented the best method for widening access to research.  However, the Group placed a higher priority on author-pays open access publishing and the ways in which this could and should be costed and supported through research funding in preference to the self-archiving route to open access provided through institutional, subject and disciplinary repositories. 

In addition to this preference for author-pays, the Group also preferred short embargoes, or 12-24 months, for content that is self-archived in a repository.  However, it did support the removal of restrictions on reuse and recommended work be undertaken to remove the specific copyright restrictions that make text data mining permissions a very complicated process.


What were the recommendations?

The full recommendations can be found in section 8 of the full report here; below are some of the summary recommendations from the Executive Summary report.

The ones we are particularly interested in are recommendations 1-3:

1. a clear policy direction should be set towards support for publication in open access or hybrid journals, funded by APCs, as the main vehicle for the publication of research, especially when it is publicly funded;

2. the Research Councils and other public sector bodies funding research in the UK should – following the Wellcome Trust’s initiative in this area but recognizing the specific natures of different funding streams - establish more effective and flexible arrangements to meet the costs of publishing in open access and hybrid journals;

3. support for open access publication should be accompanied by policies to minimise restrictions on the rights of use and re-use, especially for non- commercial purposes, and on the ability to use the latest tools and services to organise and manipulate text and other content;

and 8-10:

8. universities, funders, publishers, and learned societies should continue to work together to promote further experimentation in open access publishing for scholarly monographs;

9. the infrastructure of subject and institutional repositories should be developed so that they play a valuable role complementary to formal publishing, particularly in providing access to research data and to grey literature, and in digital preservation;

10. funders’ limitations on the length of embargo periods, and on any other  restrictions on access to content not published on open access terms, should be considered carefully, to avoid undue risk to valuable journals that are not funded in the main by APCs. Rules should be kept under review in the light of the available evidence as to their likely impact on such journals.