Monitoring the transition to open access
Following the Finch Report in 2012, Universities UK established an Open Access Coordination Group to support the transition to open access (OA) for articles in scholarly journals. The Group commissioned to produce an initial report published in 2015 to gather evidence on key features of that transition.
This second report aims to build on those findings, and to examine trends over the period since the major funders of research in the UK established new policies to promote OA.
Like the initial report, the work is structured around five strands:
- the OA options available to authors
- the take-up of those options
- levels of downloads of OA and non-OA articles
- financial implications for funders and universities
- implications for learned societies
The numbers and proportions of OA and hybrid journals have continued to rise, and almost all of them allow articles to be published with a CC BY licence. Headline levels of article publishing charges (APCs) have continued to rise, and journals’ policies relating to the posting of articles on websites, repositories and other sites have become more complex.
- The proportions of journals published globally offering immediate OA rose from under 50% in 2012 to just over 60% in 2016; and to nearly 70% for those journals in which UK authors have published. As a consequence, the proportion of subscription-only journals has fallen.
- Headline APCs remain higher for hybrids than for fully OA journals; and for both kinds of journals they have continued to rise.
- Almost all fully-OA and hybrid journals allow articles to be published under a CC BY licence.
- Policies for the posting of articles on websites, repositories and elsewhere are becoming more complex, especially in relation to scholarly collaboration networks such as ResearchGate.
The numbers and proportions of articles published on immediate Gold OA terms is rising, and the take-up by UK authors of Gold OA in hybrid journals is rising especially sharply. More subscription-based articles are also being made accessible via repositories and other services. Well over a third of all UK-authored articles are accessible immediately either on the publisher’s or on some other platform.
- The global proportion of articles published on immediate Gold OA terms rose from 12% in 2012 to 19% in 2016, but the rate of growth slowed between 2014 and 2016.
- The proportion of UK-authored articles published on immediate Gold OA terms rose from 12% in 2012 to 30% in 2016, an annual growth rate of over 30% sustained throughout the period.
- More than half of UK articles in 2016 were published in hybrid journals, and the proportion of such articles published on immediate Gold OA terms rose from 6% in 2012 to 28% in 2016.
- The global proportion of subscription-based articles accessible in some version, on Green OA terms, within 24 months of publication via a non-publisher website, repository or elsewhere, rose from 19% in 2014 to 38% in 2016; and the UK proportion rose from 23% to 48% in the same period.
- The global proportion of all articles accessible immediately on publication, either on Gold or Green OA terms rose from 18% in 2014 to 25% in 2016