Early career researchers and independent scholars are in favour of Open Access to disseminate research but also to make available research that is often ‘inaccessible’ without affiliation to an institution in the years after PhD or as independent scholars.
The assumption by the RCUK policy of institutional repositories does not take into account that many researchers are not attached to an institution, especially independent scholars. Early career researchers (post PhD, post doc, teaching fellows, etc) do not have an institution throughout a REF cycle or are not on research contracts (teaching fellows) and would not be put forward for the REF at the institution in which they are employed at that given time. There needs to be some discussion on alternative repositories for those who are unattached to a university, rather than a blanket assumption that all researchers have an institution.
The RCUK policy regarding APC funds is unclear as to where they are available – especially for those only temporarily attached to institutions or not attached to an institution at all. Gold funds would not be easy to come by, making Green a more natural route. The embargo period, however, would need clarity and investigation on the benefits /pitfalls of short vs. long embargos especially for early career and independent researchers.
The RCUK policy needs to address all members of the community – PhDs, early career and independent scholars – to date, RCUK and HEFCE have not done so.
Dr Kimm Curran, Chair, History Lab Plus