A year after releasing a draft policy on open access, the umbrella organization of Britain’s publicly financed research councils has softened its stance. The group, Research Councils UK, originally called for free access to papers resulting from research it financed “at the earliest opportunity” (The Chronicle, June 29, 2005). But now, in a new policy statement released today, the group will allow each of the eight member councils to formulate its own policy.
Thus far, only one research council—the Medical Research Council—requires free access, according to the blog of a leading open-access advocate, Peter Suber, who is director of the Open Access Project at Public Knowledge, a nonprofit group in Washington.
Nonetheless, the updated policy statement continues to support open access and asserts that “ideas and knowledge derived from publicly funded research must be made available and accessible for public use, interrogation, and scrutiny, as widely, rapidly, and effectively as possible.”
The open-access movement in the United States also seems to be evolving in fits and starts (The Chronicle, May 11).