Chris Wickham considers OA in the UK and international environment

In his chapter for Debating Open Access, a new publication from the British Academy, Chris Wickham considers the view from Humanities and Social Science both from the UK and international environment. Since HSS disciplines receive only a small percentage of RCUK funds, HEFCE’s policy on the admissibility of work for future REFs will be the most important determining factor. Other countries do not have RAE/REF equivalents to drive them down the Gold route; hence they are more likely to stay with Green and with longer embargo periods. Some leading international journals, particularly in the Humanities, have set their face against Gold OA and the introduction of APCs. UK scholars in HSS thus face a dilemma. If they publish in noncompliant international journals their work risks being ineligible for future REFs; if they don’t publish in these venues they risk falling off the international pace. A particularly intense variant of this dilemma threatens those whose professional community does not operate in English. Future REF criteria will need to reflect these discipline-specific circumstances.

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Chris Wickham is Vice-president (Publications) at the British Academy and represents the Academy on open access. He is Chichele Professor of Medieval History at the University of Oxford, where he was Head of History 2009-12. He is chair of the REF2014 History sub-panel and is running a joint research project between the British Academy and HEFCE on some of the effects of open access. He has published numerous books on medieval historical topics, especially on early medieval socio-economic History and the History of Italy, and publishes extensively abroad, in books and journals.

Read more about Debating Open Access, a collection of a series of 8 reflecting on the challenges and opportunities for humanities and social sciences open access publishing practices.

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The British Academy is the UK’s national body which champions and supports the humanities and social sciences. It is an independent, self-governing fellowship of scholars, elected for their distinction in research and publication. Our purpose is to inspire, recognise and support excellence in the humanities and social sciences, throughout the UK and internationally, and to champion their role and value.

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Stevan Harnad

HEFCE/REF Policy Proposal Facilitates Green OA Two remarks: 1. Chris Wickham is quite right that this collection of 8 essays for the British Academy lacks an essay that makes the case for Green OA (self-archiving): it is focussed on Gold OA publishing. This is a pity since, as Chris also notes, the rest of the world is taking the Green route; only the UK, because of the Finch Committee recommendation and the resulting RCUK policy preference for Gold, is even considering taking the Gold route, with its constraint on journal choice and its double-payment (Gold OA fees on top of… Read more »

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