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The Publishers Association comments on release of the Finch report on how to expand access to research publications

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Press Release London

London, 19 June 2012 – The Publishers Association (The PA) warmly welcomes and supports the ‘balanced package’ of recommendations for extending access to research outputs within the UK that are set out in the Finch report released today.

We feel confident in confirming that the industry we represent will endorse and work to implement the recommendations of Finch as a balanced package of measures to extend access. Practical outcomes will include: setting up workflows for the APCs (article publishing charges)  that will fund so-called Gold Open Access (OA) (whereby publishing is paid for by the author or funding body); extending existing licences for the universities, research institutes and the health sector; enabling free walk-in access via the public libraries network; supporting authors with their manuscript deposit mandates.

 Critical to the ‘balance’ in the package from the publisher perspective will be: that sufficient funds are available via the research councils, the funding councils and the universities to fund Gold OA APCs for UK researchers, and that the budgetary workflows are in place to deliver these to their publishers; a commitment from the research funders not to require manuscript-posting embargo periods of less than 12 months when dedicated funding to support Gold OA publishing costs is not provided; and good faith in negotiating licence extensions in those sectors (primarily the universities and health sectors) that already enjoy good access.

The Finch recommendations represent an opportunity not only to extend access to research outputs globally for the benefit of UK research and UK researchers, but also to do so through active collaboration between stakeholders with different needs and perspectives, but convergent objectives.

The PA and the publishers we represent stand ready to endorse and to implement the Finch balanced package and we invite our colleagues and fellow stakeholders to join us in the spirit of collaboration that has characterised the Finch group deliberations, for the benefit of our common purpose: the further progress of world leading UK research, and the globally recognised researchers who deliver it.

Richard Mollet, CEO of The Publishers Association, added: “The Finch review has been a constructive exercise in terms of bringing a forensic analysis to a complicated area of public policy and achieving a consensus across different stakeholders as to a sustainable path to progress.  We wish to extend our thanks to Dame Janet Finch, the review team, and of course all of the members of the Group for the positive and valuable engagement in the process.” 

Notes to Editors

The PA has been involved in this initiative from its inception, following a roundtable discussion on Transparency chaired by David Willetts in March 2011. We proposed the establishment of an independent cross-sector working group to explore the options for extending access to global research outputs for the benefit of UK researchers. Working alongside representatives from the funding agencies, the research councils, universities, libraries, the learned societies and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, we agreed terms of reference, a balanced delegate list was invited, a secretariat appointed, and Dame Janet Finch was invited as chair. The PA has not been party to the proceedings of the Finch group itself, other than through three publisher representatives, but we have worked to keep scholarly publishers informed of the issues under debate, the direction of travel, and the likely recommendations.

The UK is a global leader in research, accounting for just 3% of R&D spending yet 6% of the world’s articles and 11% of the world’s citations. The UK is also a global leader in IP-based industries including its Science, Technical and Medical (STM) information industry which supports the leadership position of UK research. Annually the STM information industry generates no less than £1.2 billion of export revenue for the UK, employs over 10,000 people in the UK, and is a leading investor in electronic technologies.

The Publishers Association

The Publishers Association is the leading trade organisation serving book, journal, audio and electronic publishers in the UK. Membership is comprised of 117 companies from across the trade, academic and education sectors.  Its core service is representation and lobbying, around copyright, rights and other matters relevant to members, who represent roughly 80% of the industry by turnover. www.publishers.org.uk.  For further information on accessibility initiatives visit www.publishers.org.uk/accessibility

For further comment please contact Richard Mollet This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it on 0207 691 1400 or Graham Taylor This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it on 0207 691 1377.

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