Richard Poynder
Richard Poynder - Independent Journalist
Richard Poynder
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Richard Poynder is an independent journalist and blogger specialising in information technology, scholarly communication, professional online database services, open science, e-Science, and intellectual property. Richard takes a particular in interest in the Open Access movement, whose development he has been following for more than a decade. More information is available here.

New Interview Series: The State of Open Access

Recent Articles and Interviews

Open Access: Springer tightens rules on self-archiving
(Open & Shut?, Tuesday, June 25, 2013)

Last month Danny Kingsley — Executive Officer of the Australian Open Access Support Group (AOASG) — highlighted a number of publishers that have recently changed their self-archiving (Green OA) policies. 


Amongst those named by Kingsley was Springer — the world’s second-largest journal publisher — which changed its self-archiving policy earlier this year.

While Springer had previously insisted that where a funder required papers to bedeposited in a central repository like PubMed Central this could only be done aftera 12-month embargo, it allowed authors to post their papers in institutional repositories immediately. Under the new policy, however, the 12-month embargo has been extended to cover papers posted in institutional repositories as well. (Although authors can still post copies of their accepted manuscripts on their personal web sites without embargo). Read more »


Open Access: Emerald’s Green starts to fade?
(Open & Shut?, Monday, June 17, 2013)

When last July Research Councils UK (RCUK) announced its new Open Access (OA) policy it sparked considerable controversy, not least because the policy required researchers to “prefer” Gold OA (OA publishing) over Green OA (self-archiving). The controversy was such that earlier this year the House of Lords Science & Technology Committee launched an inquiry into the implementation of the policy and the subsequent report was highly critical of RCUK.


As a result of the criticism, RCUK published two clarifications. Amongst other things, this has seen Green OA reinstated as a viable alternative to Gold. At the same time, however, RCUK extended the permissible maximum embargo before papers can be self-archived from 12 to 24 months. OA advocates — who maintain that a six-month embargo is entirely adequate — responded by arguing that this would simply encourage publishers who did not have an embargo to introduce one, and those that did have one to lengthen it. As a result, they added, many research papers would be kept behind publishers’ paywalls unnecessarily. Read more »


Developing a unified rule for openness: Interview with Alek Tarkowski
(Open & Shut?, Thursday, May 30, 2013)

Alek Tarkowski
Alek Tarkowski

Twenty years ago the European Organisation for Nuclear Research — better known as CERNpublished a statement that made the technology that underpins the Web available on a royalty-free basis. By making the software required to run a web server, along with a basic browser and a library of code, free for all CERN paved the way for a revolution in innovation and creativity.

As a result, the Web has impacted the world in many varied ways  not least by generating a stream of new products and services, and by allowing the creation of a multitude of novel new ways for sharing information and knowledge, and on a global basis.

It has also seen the emergence of an accompanying flood of free and open movements committed to promoting greater sharing of ideas and content, and for increased transparency and civic participation in organisations, in communities, and in government. We have seen, for instance, the emergence of the open access, free and open-source software, open data, open science, open politics, and open government movements. Read more »


The UK’s Open Access Policy: Controversy Continues
(Open & Shut?, Thursday, May 23, 2013)

The new Open Access (OA) policy introduced this year by Research Councils UK (RCUK) — in response to last year’s Finch Report — has been very controversial, particularly its exhortation to researchers to “prefer” Gold over Green Open Access.

When it was first announced there was an outcry from UK universities over the cost implications of the new policy. In response, on 7th September last year the UK Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts made an additional £10 million available to 30 research intensive universities to help pay OA transition costs.

But the controversy has continued regardless, and in January this year the House of Lords Science & Technology Committee launched an inquiry into the policy. The subsequent report roundly criticised RCUK for the way it had been implemented, and concluded that lack of clarity about the policy and the guidance offered was ‘unacceptable’. RCUK responded by making a number of “clarifications”, and extended the permissible embargo period before research papers could be made available under Green OA from 6 and 12 months, to 24 months — an extension that led many OA advocates to complain that a bad policy had been made worse. Read more »


Open Access in Poland: Interview with Bożena Bednarek-Michalska
(Open & Shut?, Monday, April 22, 2013)

Bożena Bednarek-Michalska
Bożena Bednarek-Michalska

Bożena Bednarek-Michalska is an information specialist and deputy director of the Nicolaus Copernicus University Library in Torun, Poland. She is also a member of Poland’s Open Education Coalition (KOED), a board member of SPARC Europe, and the EIFL-OA country coordinator for Poland.

While conducting the interview below with Bednarek-Michalska three things struck me as noteworthy about the current state of Open Access (OA) in Poland.

First, Bednarek-Michalska reports that access to research information in Poland is “not bad”. In light of Harvard University’s 2012 Memorandum arguing that subscription-based scholarly publishing is now “fiscally unsustainable” this is striking. Harvard is the world’s wealthiest university. If Harvard is struggling, why are Polish universities not struggling too? Read more »





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