The University of Cambridge recently received its 10,000th Open Access submission – highlighting its commitment to making research freely available to anybody who wants to access it, without publisher paywalls or expensive journal subscriptions.
The 10,000th submission, reporting on the impact of eating a Mediterranean diet on the risk of developing cardiovascular disease in a UK population, was deposited by Signe Wulund at the MRC Epidemiology Unit, on behalf of Unit PhD student Tammy Tong, together with colleagues Dr Fumiaki Imamura, Professor Nicholas Wareham, Professor Kay-Tee Khaw, and Dr Nita Forouhi.
The Open Access movement has been growing in strength in academia for many years, and it is increasingly being mandated by funding bodies and government.
Dr Forouhi said:
Through open access our research can reach a worldwide audience. It would be a huge pity if interested researchers, practitioners or policy makers could not read about new research, such as our latest findings on the link between the Mediterranean diet and cardiovascular health in a non-Mediterranean setting, because of something as simple as lacking a journal subscription.
“Open access enables wider dissemination of research findings, and in turn, facilitates better research and evidence-based policy and clinical practice.”
The Cambridge Open Access Service was established within the University Library in 2013 in response to Research Councils UK (RCUK) making Open Access mandatory for anyone accepting their funding. Many other major funders, including the Wellcome Trust, Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation, have similar policies.
In 2014, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) announced that Open Access would be compulsory for any article included in the next Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercise. This policy came into force on April 1, 2016, effectively meaning that all research in UK institutions now has to be made freely available.
Since its inception in 2013, the Open Access service has processed 10,000 manuscripts, across all University faculties and departments and worked with 3,000 different members of staff. 6,000 of the papers were covered by the HEFCE open access policy; 4,000 acknowledged RCUK funding and 1,900 COAF (many papers fall into multiple categories, and some into none). More than £5.4 million of Open Access grants from funding bodies have also been distributed.
Meeting these requirements is a major task for the University, and one it has tried to make as simple as possible for researchers. Authors are simply required to upload their manuscript to www.openaccess.cam.ac.uk when it’s accepted for publication, and the Open Access team advise them on what they need to do to comply with funder requirements, eligibility for any funding body grants, and handle depositing the article into Apollo, the University’s institutional repository.
Earlier this year, in an article entitled “Promoting Open Access in a department – what works” the University of Cambridge Office of Scholarly Communication (OSC) highlighted how Signe Wulund, CEDAR Administrator and Unit Administration Assistant, had developed and promoted a process that has enabled MRC Epidemiology Unit researchers to submit 80% of their manuscripts to the Open Access team on time, as compared to about a third of manuscripts across the University as a whole. Commenting on the 10,000th Open Access submission, Signe said:
Thanks to the University Library’s Open Access Team’s streamlined process we have been able to increase the MRC Epidemiology Unit’s open access compliance, and the personal service and easy-to-use interface makes it easy to comply with both REF-requirements and funders’ open access policies.
The Open Access Team’s expertise saves us a lot of time, as they can sort out the thorniest compliance and policy issues and will handle the entire invoicing process from start to finish.”
Ten thousand manuscripts have now been received in this way, and the vast majority of them have been able to be made Open Access, free for anyone who wants to read and benefit from them.
The 10,000th article is ‘Prospective association of the Mediterranean diet with cardiovascular disease incidence and mortality and its population impact in a non-Mediterranean population: the EPIC-Norfolk Study’ in BMC Medicine. DOI:10.1186/s12916-016-0677-4 can and you can read more about it in our research news article “Mediterranean diet could lower the risk of cardiovascular disease in the UK“.
The Open Access team at the University of Cambridge is part of the Office of Scholarly Communication (OSC), within the University Library. As well as assisting researchers with Open Access and Open Data compliance, it advises on scholarly communication tools, techniques, policies and practices, and provides training. For more details, visit www.osc.cam.ac.uk.