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New Open Access policy in Australia

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The Finch report and the new British policy for Open Access have been discussed for several months now. In short, it has been decided that publicly funded research should be published in Open Access, more specifically, in a Gold OA model. Meanwhile, a new Open Access policy of the Australian Government came into force, and it proposes a different approach in this matter.

Under the new guidelines, which came into force on 1 January 2013, all the results of research conducted with the financial support of the Australian Research Council must be published in an Open Access model within 12 months of publication. It was also outlined that these materials should be published in specific institutional repositories. Thus, it was decided to adopt the Green OA model. As we can read on the ARC’s website:

„The overarching aim of ARC’s Policy is to ensure that the findings of publicly funded research are made available to the wider public as soon as possible. Both the research community and the public gain from knowledge derived from ARC funded research, and both wish to derive maximum benefit from these outputs.”

All this brings us to an old topic, which has been discussed many times before: which of the OA models is better for the development of science, Gold or Green? On the one hand, Green seems to be much less expensive – though it is not by any means costless. It is also more open than Gold, where APCs prevail. Clearly, the repositories do not always provide sufficient visibility for scientific work, or the quality of infrastructure, and can occasionally result in fragmentation of content. On the other hand, while Gold OA introduces cost for the author, mostly covered by the institutions, it also offers (although not always), suitable infrastructure, visibility, and, in a growing number of cases, the prestige. Personally, I think both of these models can and should complement each other.

One thing is certain: the publishing of research results that are funded by public money in OA is becoming more common.

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