Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Higher Education Authority adopts OA mandate

Following a public consultation earlier this year, Ireland's Higher Education Authority has adopted an Open Access mandate effective from June 30th 2008. The HEA is the second major Irish research funder to adopt an OA mandate - the first was IRCSET with an OA mandate effective from May 1st this year. Both mandates are 'in keeping with the recommendations of the European Research Advisory Board (EURAB) Policy in relation to scientific publication' and 'with the combined OECD Ministers’ Declaration entrusting the OECD to work towards commonly agreed Principles and Guidelines on Access to Research Data from Public Funding'.

Also in common with the IRCSET mandate, the HEA requires deposit in an open access repository (ideally an institutional repository) upon acceptance for publication; repositories should release the metadata immediately, with access restrictions to the full text paper to be applied as required - but open access to the fulltext paper must be available not later than six months after publication.

Further information will be available shortly from the HEA website. Meanwhile the fulltext of the HEA mandate is available below (with thanks to Dr Gemma Irvine, Manager, Research Programmes, HEA):



The Higher Education Authority (HEA) has established and will promote the following policy relating to the placement of research publications in Open Access repositories.

Where a research publication arises in whole or in part from HEA funded research (i.e. where one or other of the researchers concerned receives HEA funds in support of their endeavours), the following policy will be adhered to with effect from 30th June 2008.


The HEA policy is adopted on the following key principles:

The intellectual effectiveness and progress of the widespread research community may be continually enhanced where the community has access and recourse to as wide a range of shared knowledge and findings as possible. This is particularly the case in the realm of publicly funded research where there is a need to ensure the advancement of scientific research and innovation in the interests of society and the economy, without unnecessary duplication of research effort.

  1. This publication policy confirms the freedom of researchers to publish first wherever they feel is the most appropriate.

  1. The effect of the policy is intended to increase the visibility of, and improve access to, the research funded by HEA and the State, where such research is intended to be published by the researcher(s) concerned.

  1. The policy is based on recognised best practice. It is in keeping with the recommendations of the European Research Advisory Board (EURAB) Policy in relation to scientific publication. It is also in keeping with the combined OECD Ministers’ Declaration entrusting the OECD to work towards commonly agreed Principles and Guidelines on Access to Research Data from Public Funding.

Conditions to which HEA funded award recipients should adhere:

  1. All researchers must lodge their publications resulting in whole or in part from HEA-funded research in an open access repository as soon as is practical after publication, and to be made openly accessible within 6 calendar months at the latest, subject to copyright agreement.

  1. The repository should ideally be a local institutional repository to which the appropriate rights must be granted to replicate to other repositories.

  1. Authors should deposit post-prints (or publisher’s version if permitted) plus metadata of articles accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals and international conference proceedings.

  1. Deposit should be made upon acceptance by the journal/conference. Repositories should release the metadata immediately, with access restrictions to full text article to be applied as required. Open access should be available as soon as is practicable but not later than six months after publication.

  1. Suitable repositories should make provision for long-term preservation of, and free public access to, published research findings.

  1. Books and book chapters are not covered by such repositories but the following condition applies in such cases. When a book goes out of print or four years following publication, whichever is sooner, and the publisher does not foresee a further print run or availability online for the work within a six-month period, then authors should make the work available online in an open and accessible way.

  1. Metadata has already been noted under point 3. Data in general should as far as is feasible be made openly accessible, in keeping with best practice for reproducibility of scientific results.

  1. Software, together with methods and algorithms, are not directly covered by Open Access repositories. However in keeping with best practice of scientific reproducibility key scientific results should be made available openly.

  1. HEA may augment or amend the above requirements wherever necessary to ensure best practice in Open Access.

How does Open Access work?

An Open Access repository is a storage and retrieval system where published research findings and papers would be stored and made available for full, open and free access by the research community and the general public.

A number of Irish universities currently provide open access repositories of their own and a consortium of the seven Irish universities is engaged in the development of a national open access repository system, i.e., connecting the repositories of each participating institution for fuller public accessibility as funded by SIF.

In an Open Access repository system, the usual copyright and fair practice considerations are not waived and publication on Open Access does not preclude prior publication in a recognised research journal or commercial publication.

Making scholarly publications available on Open Access allows them to be freely accessed by anyone worldwide using an internet connection. The potential readership of Open Access material is far greater than that for publications where the full text is restricted to subscribers only. Open Access repositories are also designed to expose the details of their contents to web search engines.