Open Access funds: getting a bigger bang for our bucks
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Many libraries offer open access publishing funds to support authors in paying article processing charges (APC) levied by some OA journals. However, there are few standard practices for managing or assessing these funds. The Open Access Working Group (OAWG) of the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) was asked to investigate and articulate best practices for successful open access fund management. In spring 2015, the OAWG surveyed Canadian academic libraries with OA funds to review their criteria and collect feedback on current practices. The survey proved timely because many OA funds are under review. Shrinking budgets, ending pilots, and questions around scale and sustainability of funds provide context for some institutions revisiting or reconfiguring these funds. At the same time, Canada’s principal funding agencies have issued the new Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications (effective May 2015) which mandates open access for funded research and which is increasing the demand from researchers for financial support from their institutions to pay APCs and other OA costs. This paper addresses findings of the survey, some best practices for open access publishing fund management, counter-arguments for OA funds, as well as other strategies developed by international agencies including SPARC.
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