UiA has recently adopted a new open access policy. It will contribute to even more UiA research being available to the public.
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Open access means that research is being made available to the general public. A decision in UiA’s research committee states that all UiA’s scientific publications will be made available this way in the future.
“Open access actually means free online access to scientific results”, says Igor Goncharenko.
He is responsible for open access at UiA and has led the work on the new policy. But why is open access important?
“The public pays taxes, and the government funds research with this money, so they should have access to the research they have contributed to funding. They should have the opportunity to read it, and to make use of its results. At the same time, we shouldn’t forget our privilege here in Norway, with access to databases and costly journals, for example. For researchers in countries with other economic conditions, open access is crucial”, says Goncharenko.
For UiA researchers, who now must make all their publications available, there are also opportunities to be found in open access:
“Researchers are often concerned with getting cited by other researchers. Open access makes it easier to get these citations, as the research is more available. It is almost like a form of marketing. And the earlier the research is published openly, the more citations, and, consequently, recognition, it will receive”, says Goncharenko.
Research funding is changing, with new funding sources with different requirements for the publication of research they pay for. These are also gravitating towards open access, and consequently researchers, journals and universities have to adapt.
Both the Norwegian Research Council and the European Research Council require open publication of results in projects they fund. The Ministry of Education and Research also says that all publicly funded research in Norway must be open access, and national goals and guidelines say that point-awarded research must be openly available for the universities to receive funds based on their researchers’ production.
The management at UiA does not doubt the importance of this work:
“Open access is an extremely important research political question these days”, says Hans Kjetil Lysgaard, vice rector for research and interdisciplinary projects at UiA.
“This autumn UiA signed the DORA declaration that emphasizes that research should be assessed based on its quality, not on where it is published. Therein lies the basis for Plan S, that will be a leading principle for publication of research results funded by the Norwegian Research Council from 1 January. They emphasize that research should be openly available no matter where it is published. The work we are currently undertaking with regards to open access has to be seen in light of these important research political changes”, he says.
The University Library has the skills and infrastructure needed to assist researchers in making their publications openly available.
There is for example a fund to finance publication in open access journals. In the AURA archive, researchers can publish their own works. The library can also assist researchers with publication in the journals UiA has agreements with, with open access and copyright, among other things.
“It is a challenge that different publishing houses have different practices when it comes to open access. Some journals provide open access on everything they publish, others are based on subscriptions. Researchers should be able to publish wherever they want, and we have different systems for making the articles that are behind paywalls openly available, and for financing publication in open access journals”, says Goncharenko.
“It can be a bit overwhelming for researchers, so it’s important to remember that we have people and services available to contribute with this work”, says Goncharenko, who is in no doubt that this is the way forward for scientific publication:
“We can really conclude at once: This is the future!”
Do you want to know more about how UiA pursues open access, or learn more about what kind of services and opportunities are available at UiA? Go to the web pages of the University Library.