[Open-access] SPARC Europe has classified the UK's open access policy in a category of it's own

Ross Mounce ross.mounce at gmail.com
Wed Feb 13 23:34:01 GMT 2013

I emailed SPARC & Alma about this. Here is Alma's reply (and the message I
sent to them). I completely disagree tbh and am at a loss with what to do
next. Alma seems to avoid directly addressing the clear point I addressed
to her/SPARC:


On 13/02/2013 19:22, "Ross Mounce" <ross.mounce at okfn.org> wrote:


It has come to my attention that you have recently published an analysis of
funder Open Access policies:

I am perplexed by the classification of RCUK in this scheme. Fred Friend
has put it in a class of it's own under the title: "Gold (journal-based)
Open Access required"

The RCUK policy is summarised here:
this document it clearly says "The Research Councils will continue to
support a mixed approach to Open Access..."

All of the documents available on the site clearly indicate that both green
and gold OA are allowed
http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/research/Pages/outputs.aspx if only that gold is
preferred. Preferred does NOT equal 'required'.

So whilst I appreciate that the RCUK policy has certain interesting
features, in Friend's classification scheme it clearly belongs with the
other funders in the "Either Green or Gold routes satisfy policy
requirements" category.

Could this change be made ASAP?
I fear RCUK's lone listing may adversely affect opinion of it. Furthermore
it undermines the credibility of SPARC if they publish untrue statements
such as this.

Many thanks,


On 13/02/2013 19:22, "Alma Swan" <> wrote:

Dear Ross

Thank you for your message. I am sorry you are perplexed. Our
classification, unlike that of Science Europe, is trying to show the
differences between policies and the directions in which policymakers
appear to wish to travel.

RCUK is claiming that it's 'leading the world' and Fred’s classification
reflects that. RCUK can't do that and be the same as others that have gone
before, and indeed it isn't.

This classification acknowledges the ground-breaking move that RCUK has
made. The policy requires publication in an RCUK-compliant journal, which
it defines as one that provides immediate OA (on payment of an
article-processing fee if it requires to be paid). If the journal does not
provide OA, then the Green route can be used. No other policy in the world
is the same as this and the classification highlights this individual

Best  regards,


Alma Swan, BSc, PhD, MBA
Director of Advocacy Programmes, SPARC Europe: www.sparceurope.org
Director, Key Perspectives Ltd: www.keyperspectives.co.uk
Convenor, Enabling Open Scholarship: www.openscholarship.org
Director, Directory of Open Access Journals: www.doaj.org
+44 (0)1392 879702
Skype: almaswan
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