Australia’s biggest research funding body the ARC is preparing to change its funding rules to mandate open access publishing for the research it funds. The intention is to align with the new National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) policy which now requires that all researchers that it funds must add their outputs to an open-access repository within 12 months of publication.
This move is consistent with the broader Australian Government agendas of promoting digital economy and of supporting open government; as well as the direction happening in New Zealand, refer: http://ict.govt.nz/programme/opening-government-data-and-information. The benefits of this open access approach include an increased visibility of research, together with increased usage and impact, alongside an improved community awareness of research and its relevance.
Commenting on this Cathrine Harboe-Ree, (President, Council of Australian University Librarians, (CAUL) has said “it is critical that the ARC does align with the NHMRC policy in one very important way. Unlike the approach taken recently by the Research Councils in the UK, the NHMRC has been careful not to insist that research publish in open access journals using the so called “gold” pay-to-publish approach or to pay extra to publishers to reduce embargo periods. The repository infrastructure in Australian Universities allows us to support all forms of open access, including the deposit of peer reviewed final manuscripts (“green” open access). There is no need for Australian funding agencies to mandate or fund the “gold” approach and indeed it may be detrimental to scholarly publication patterns and the cost of research to do so.”
It is worth noting that the repository infrastructure Cathrine mentions has also been established in New Zealand – all NZ Universities run a DSpace repository for research outputs.