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Open Access: service planning and increasing advocacy and engagement

Working in the area of open access within an institutional setting is at times challenging, frustrating and yet immensely rewarding. This morning we processed an invoice for £4, 440, the cost for publishing one article via GOLD open access, the publisher Article Processing Charge (APC). The nature of our work means we do this very often, as we allocate funds from our UKRI OA block grant and the COAF fund.

Our research services team have recently been spending some time thinking about our OA service priorities and activities, naturally OA compliance and REF being our highest priority. Our open access website contains guidance for our community at Leicester, where we try to make the process as simple as possible, to comply with both funder and institutional OA expectations. We have a very busy helpdesk, do a significant amount of OA advocacy, embed OA training into the researcher development programme, and are currently in the process of migrating the Leicester Research Archive from its existing DSpace platform to Figshare. So we are working in a rather busy and sometimes complex processing and workflow space in order to facilitate OA.

Our engagement and conversations around OA frequently are focussed on OA and REF and OA and APCs, which is what we expect, but what we want to do is think about and advocate OA from many different perspectives, not least the benefits of OA and keeping up-to-date and thinking about the implications for our services and priorities around all the key sector activities and initiatives, including the implications of Plan S, the new Wellcome Trust Open Access Policy, and the significant challenges around OA monographs.

So, for starters we are going to produce a monthly OA newsletter, which will be published on this blog, and we will be discussing a range of topics, issues, and hopefully much more than just OA compliance issues. 

We were recently successful in recruiting to our first ever 'Open Research' role. We expect that we shall have a much more 'open lens' on everything we do, and to increase our services and tools to consider much more than open access to research publications, theses, and research data - which are our current priorities.

We would love to hear from any University of Leicester staff or student on the topic of open access, and we welcome guest blog posts. If you are interested, please do contact us on <>. Many thanks to Keith for his interesting post on OA in health and medicine, and the recommendations around choosing where to publish.

Apart from a collection of open access focussed blog posts, we are also going to be delivering more webinars, drop-in surgeries, funder-specific workshops, and much more in 2019/2020.

The University Open Research Group meets next week, and top of the agenda is open access - I think we are working in a very exciting and transformative OA landscape.

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