UK lights the way: agreements on public policy goals in scholarly communication

Added by Sarah on 27 February 2007 15:11

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The RIN is today setting out the major public policy goals for the scholarly communications process, endorsed by the major representative organisations for librarians, publishers and research funders in the UK.

News release - 22 February 2007

Scholarly communications has become a battlefield over the past four or five years. Tension between publishers, librarians, funders and researchers was evident at a conference on scientific publications organised by the European Commission in Brussels last week. And it was also recently highlighted in the stories about US publishers hiring high-profile PR agents to combat the open access movement.
In the UK, however, the RIN has brought together representatives of all the key players to reach agreement on the key principles and goals at the heart of the scholarly communications process.

The statement has been endorsed by the following organisations:

  • The Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP)
  • The British Library
  • The Consortium of Research Libraries in the British Isles (CURL)
  • The International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers
  • The Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC)
  • The Publishers Association
  • Research Councils UK (RCUK)
  • The Research Information Network (RIN)
  • The Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL)
  • The Wellcome Trust

Michael Jubb, Director of the RIN, said, ?This statement represents a significant step forward in articulating a shared understanding of the core goals of the scholarly communications process. While there will be continuing debate about the ways and means of achieving those goals, we have provided a clear and agreed framework for the development of policy by Government and other key agencies, both in the UK and beyond.?Robin Green, Executive Director of CURL, said, ?The support this framework has received from a wide range of stakeholder groups involved in the scholarly communications process makes it an important step forward. This recognition of principles beyond the specific interests of each group will facilitate debate on future developments in this complex and fast-changing arena.?

Ian Russell, Chief Executive of ALPSP, said, ?The scholarly communications environment has recently been a source of a great deal of frantic and often heated debate.  RIN have displayed a deep understanding of the issues and concerns of the various stakeholders - this statement represents a major step forward by providing a framework for constructive dialogue between them all.  It makes clear the importance of the publishing industry and recognizes the value that they add, while at the same time urging continued innovation. It will play an important role in building consensus and advancing the debate.?

The statement of principles is available at

Contact:

St├ęphane Goldstein ? Planning & Project Officer, Research Information Network. Email: stephane.goldstein@rin.ac.uk ? telephone: 020 7412 7303

Notes to editors:

The Research Information Network (RIN) was established by a consortium of UK sponsors:

  • the four Higher Education funding bodies
  • the three National Libraries
  • the eight Research Councils

The RIN?s mission is: ?To lead and co-ordinate new developments in the collaborative provision of research information for the benefit of researchers in the UK

Researchers, funders, publishers and librarians have debated how best to exploit the opportunities presented by new technologies to maximise access to the information resources that researchers create. Researchers now expect immediate access to articles in scholarly journals and other information resources directly on their desktop; and there is potential to transform the provision of information still further, through text-mining and linking different information sources together.Maximising access to research results through an effective scholarly communications system is an essential underpinning for high-quality research and knowledge transfer in the UK. But publishers are concerned that developments such as the deposit of journal articles in freely-accessible repositories may put at risk the whole future of scholarly publishing, and the highly-valued and quality-assured services that they provide.


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