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Call for sector to unite behind open access

29 October 2010

Ten leading organisations from the higher education and research sectors have joined forces to drive forward the implementation of open access in the UK, both in terms of policy and promoting a deeper understanding of the opportunities the UK has to maintain its world-wide reputation and impact.

Open access is part of a movement toward more openness and transparency in the public sector and in universities. It promises significant benefits for universities and the UK economy as papers, educational resources and data are more widely available to support teaching, research and innovation.

Evidence suggests that opening up access to research outputs provides substantial gains for both researchers and research institutions. These gains vary across an increasingly differentiated sector, but to be fully realised the policy and infrastructure need to be better coordinated across the sector. This is the role the UK Open Access Implementation Group will take on.

The group will coordinate evidence, policies, systems, advice and guidance, to make open access an easy choice for authors, and one that benefits all universities. The Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) will map out a programme of practical work to make progress in these areas.

Martin Hall, Vice Chancellor at the University of Salford and Chair of the Group says: "The UK has consistently led the way in opening access to research. A UK alliance is now established at the highest level to ensure that we don't lose that lead, and that the impact of UK research (and therefore the contribution of UK universities to the economy and society) is maximised."

The Group consists of senior representatives of two UK universities (Edinburgh and Salford), Universities UK, Research Libraries UK, the Society of College, National and University Libraries, JISC, the UK Research Councils, the Wellcome Trust, the Association of Research Managers and Administrators UK, and the Public Library of Science, a leading open access publisher.

Image: Illustration depicting the teaching process. Credit: Rowena Dugdale, Wellcome Images.

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