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What kind of OA is promoted by targeted funding?

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The Open Access movement has been struggling with the funding issues since its very beginning. The model is not cost-free, and requires appropriate funding to grow and expand. But the issues of funding does not only refer to its sources, but also to the question of which OA model receives the strongest financial support?

Some light has been shed on this issue by the last  “Analysis of Open Access funding policies around the world”, prepared by SPARC. This analysis was based on 48 mandatory funding polices listed in the ROARMAP registry (Registry of Open Access Repositories Mandatory Archiving Policies). These data cover only a portion of OA policies; however they show an important trend in Open Access funding.

The analysis highlights that 33 funding bodies (68%) require a publication in Green OA. In 14 cases (29%) funders are satisfied with both Green and Gold OA. Only 1 requires Gold OA and it is, of course, Research Councils UK.

It is also worth noting, that most of the funding which requires Green OA comes from the UK; there are 8 organizations (24%), which promote this model. Among them we can find the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Department of Health or Wellcome Trust. Furthermore, there are 4 funding bodies from USA, 3 from Ireland, Spain and Canada.

As mentioned earlier, 14 of the funding bodies are satisfied with both types of OA. Most of them are from Canada, for example: Ontario Institute of Cancer Research or Canadian Health Services Research Foundation. Some funders, exactly 20 of them, are allowing covering APCs from research grants; but as I understand it, this permission is granted in special cases only.

This brief analysis shows that the majority of funders, which are listed in the ROARMAP registry, promote Green OA. However, this does not mean that universities and research institutions do not welcome Gold OA. After all, a significant number of funders allow covering APCs, and, as one can see, with every month and year, new funds for Gold OA are established. It is not surprising, that research institutions prefer to concentrate scientific content in special repositories. In spite of that, it seems that it is the role of Gold OA, rather than Green OA, to change the current situation and replace “traditional” journals. However, there is room for both models in Open Access.


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