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Irish Research Council announces open access policy

02.05.2008
Irish Research Council moves to improve access to research findings

The Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering & Technology (IRCSET) has taken moves today to ensure that research papers published by its funding recipients will be made available in an open access repository, within six months of their first publication.

The new development is in line with best international practice and is designed to enhance the public accessibility of State funded research.

A copy of the policy statement may be found at: www.ircset.ie

An Open Access Repository is an information storage and retrieval system where published research findings and papers are stored and made available for full, open and free access by the research community and the general public. Typically, open access repositories are managed by academic institutions.

The new IRCSET policy will take effect from 1st May 2008. IRCSET’s initiative follows a public consultation process in 2007 during which valuable inputs and support were received from the research community.

The accepted trend among researchers to date has been to publish research findings in one or other well known research journals, a process which the new policy still supports. Where a research publication arises in whole or in part from IRCSET funded research, researchers will now also be required to file their published research papers in an open access repository as soon as is practical, but within six calendar months at the latest.

The requirement will from now on form part of IRCSET’s terms and conditions in offering and providing funding to researchers.

IRCSET is now funded under the National Development Plan of Ireland and will allocate approximately €26.0 million in 2008 to the development of early stage research careers.

A number of Irish universities currently provide open access repositories of their own and a consortium of Irish universities is engaged in the development of a national open access repository system - connecting the repositories of each participating institution for fuller public accessibility.***

In an Open Access Repository system, the usual copyright and fair practice considerations are not waived and publication on Open Access does not preclude prior publication in a recognised research journal or commercial publication.

Making scholarly publications available on "Open Access" allows them to be freely accessed by anyone in the world using an internet connection. The potential readership of Open Access material is far greater than that for publications where the full-text is restricted to subscribers only. Open Access repositories are also designed to expose the details of their contents to specialised web search engines.

“This is intended to be a highly beneficial policy which is fully in line with European and OECD guidelines,” commented Professor Jane Grimson, Chair of IRCSET.

“The intellectual effectiveness and progress of the widespread research community can be continually enhanced where there is recourse to as wide a range of shared knowledge and findings as possible.”

“This is particularly the case in the realm of publicly funded research where there is a need to ensure the advancement of scientific research and innovation in the interests of society and the economy, without unnecessary duplication of research effort.”

“The publication policy confirms the freedom of researchers to publish first wherever they feel is the most appropriate. The policy is also intended to increase the visibility and accessibility of research funded by IRCSET and the State, where such research is already intended to be published by the researchers concerned.”

***Funded by HEA and led by the Irish Universities Association, a coordinated approach to the establishment of the necessary infrastructure is underway. See http://www.irel-open.ie/

Tim Kinsella | alfa
Further information:
http://www.ircset.ie

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