'Open Access to Agricultural Research: Developments and policies' Audio recording and slides now online!

Open Access to agricultural research: Developments and policies" was the third topic presented by Alma Swan on the Open Access Week @ AIMS. The presentation was focused on the agricultural domain but its contents can also be transferred to other research areas.

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Presentation Overview

Within the last years the awareness about scholarly communication has been raised which is important for the formulation of future policies in this area. This development can be deduced from the growing number of Open Access journals and repositories which are mostly supported by the scholar community. The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) for instance currently counts around 8,300 journals. Still in many domains even more papers are published in Open Access repositories which together form a worldwide database. “It is obvious that there is a large academic interest in Open Access”, says Alma.

Together with the growing number of Open Access journals and repositories there is a growing number of policies that support or even demand the publication of contents in Open Access formats. These policies can be established either by research institutions or by research funders. It has turned out that without the corresponding policies the number of open accessible publications is far lower. Thus entrenched behavior has to be changed and the awareness of people for Open Access should be raised with the help of corresponding policies in future where the research funders inhabit a key role.

Questions during the Webinar

Are there any processes on Open Access data? Yes, there are processes like for example a pilot initiative on open data from the European Commission. Still the advancements depend on the area as there are i.e. ethic objections against the open publication of data in some domains. It can be concluded that this movement gets stronger but it needs more time to develop.

What do you think about the Finch report and the consequences on OA policies in the UK? It is good that not only universities but also a government takes Open Access seriously. Still the Finch report is not a good example for a national policy.

Which support mechanisms should be created by organizations in order to support Open Access policies? The best solution is to mandate the open accessible publication of research papers on the one hand and to show the benefits and reward the researchers for open publications on the other hand. This could be done by showing that papers are only recognized if they are published in an Open Access repository. Within such repositories services like the provision of i.e. statistics can motivate the researchers.

How can Open Access policies in the agricultural domain be supported? The reasons and benefits of Open Access policies in agriculture should be defined and underlined. Furthermore this movement could be strengthened by local initiatives baked by a good network.

Are there any major efforts to make OA available in areas with a low internet rate as it is the case in developing countries? There have not been any major efforts in this area until now. There are some initiatives that try to enhance the internet connectivity but still a lot has to be done. One good example is that the Worldbank supports some initiatives that raise the awareness of the technical problems of the third world.

About Alma Swan

Alma Swan is a consultant working in the field of scholarly communication. She is a director of Key Perspectives Ltd, Director of European Advocacy Programmes for SPARC, and holds honorary academic positions in the University of Southampton School of Electronics & Computer Science and the University of Warwick Business School.

Her work covers market research and business modelling, project management and evaluation, research communication practices and behaviours, and the study and promotion of new forms of scholarly communication in the age of the Web. She writes and makes frequent presentations on scholarly communication issues.

Alma has BSc and PhD degrees from the University of Southampton and an MBA from Warwick Business School. She is a Fellow of the Society of Biology and a Chartered Biologist, is an elected member of the Governing Board of Euroscience (the European Association for the Promotion of Science & Technology) and is the former editor of its online magazine, The Euroscientist.

URL for more info: http://aims.fao.org/oa-week-2012