Two projects on transitions in scholarly communications

Added by Stephane Goldstein on 08 January 2010

The RIN and the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) are looking to commission two research projects as part of a broad portfolio of activities aimed at developing the evidence base on transitions in the scholarly communications process.

Interested research groups and consultancies were invited in December 2009 to express their interest in one or both of the following:

  • Project on dynamics of improving access to research papers, which will provide evidence for a better understanding of the dynamics of the transitions needed to improve access to research papers.  The improvements are to be described and analysed with reference to a selection of plausible end-points following a potential five-year transition, starting now, and the scope of the project covers the costs, benefits, opportunities and risks that this entails. Transition is understood to relate to changes in practice, business models and organisational culture within the relevant constituencies, and any new entrants, over defined timeframes. The end-points, to be defined during the course of the project, will be associated with four broad models: open access journals (gold OA); open access repositories (green OA); extensions to licensing; and transactional solutions. The project will be founded on a comparative description of the transitions that (i) are taking place now, and (ii) would need to take place over the next five years, in order to reach each of the selected end-points. There will also be an analysis of the drivers and mechanisms underlying these transitions, and associated costs and benefits (both cash and non-cash).
  • Project on gaps in access, which will investigate the extent to which journal articles and other research outputs are available, or not, to different parts of the research and other communities which could make use of them; and to identify priorities in seeking to fill gaps in access, barriers to filling them, and actions that might be taken to that end.

The broad portfolio of related activities, of which these two projects form an integral part, is endorsed by a range of organisations with a stake in scholarly communications. These are listed in a joint statement of intent.

The call has now closed; almost 30 organisations expressed an interest. On that basis, an invitation to tender has now been issued for the first project, on dynamics of improving access. The specification for this is attached below. We anticipate that a funding decision for this will be taken around mid-February 2010, so that the work can get off the ground as soon as possible after that.

An invitation to tender for the second project, on barriers to access, is likely to be issued during February, so that work can commence in March or April. We will be updating this page to keep abreast of progress.

For further information on this initiative, please contact either or

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