Rita Gardner Reflects On Open Access And Learned Societies

British Academy | Socialsciencespace | July 2, 2013

Learned societies are a fundamental part of the research ecology, providing a substantial intellectual, public and reputational good, at minimal cost to the UK public purse. They are typically ‘not-for-profit’ organisations, with the work they do in support of academic disciplines funded by income derived from publishing discipline specific journals. Often this is from success of the journals overseas, rather than in the UK, and as such the learned societies directly contribute to the international standing of UK research.

In her chapter for a new British Academy publication, Debating Open Access, Dr Rita Gardner argues that green open access will probably be the dominant form for HSS disciplines in the current transition framework, for reasons of funding limitations and the more restrictive forms of CC-BY licensing preferred by HSS authors. However, the insistence by RCUK on a policy with short green open access embargo periods is unsupported by evidence. Learned societies must continue to work together to pursue and appropriate balance between access, excellence and sustainability. The current dearth of evidence needs to be overcome if societies in HSS are to argue their case(s) more effectively during the transition period...