On July 25, 2012, I had a long, helpful phone conversation with Mark Thorley, convenor of the RCUK Research Outputs Network (RON), the group responsible for developing and implementing the RCUK Open Access policy.
I initially contacted him to talk about what I took to be important differences between the new RCUK policy and the Finch recommendations , especially on (1) embargoes, (2) open licenses, and (3) the role of green OA. I knew that the RCUK disbursed public funds but was independent of the government. I wanted to learn more about that independence, and in particular whether the RCUK felt free to depart from the Finch recommendations, especially after David Willetts, the UK Minister of State for Universities and Science, accepted all the major Finch recommendations on behalf of the UK government.
“Open access (OA) journals distribute their content at no charge and use other means of funding the publication process. Publication fees or article-processing charges (APC)s have become the predominant means for funding professional OA publishing. We surveyed 1,038 authors who recently published articles in 74 OA journals that charge APCs stratified into seven discipline categories. Authors were asked about the source of funding for the APC, factors influencing their choice of a journal and past history publishing in OA and subscription journals. Additional information about the journal and the authors’ country were obtained from the journal website. A total of 429 (41%) authors from 69 journals completed the survey. There were large differences in the source of funding among disciplines. Journals with impact factors charged higher APCs as did journals from disciplines where grant funding is plentiful. Fit, quality, and speed of publication were the most important factors in the authors’ choice of a journal. OA was less important but a significant factor for many authors in their choice of a journal to publish. These findings are consistent with other research on OA publishing and suggest that OA publishing funded through APCs is likely to continue to grow.”
Here in the UAE, home to the world’s tallest building, playground of the world’s leading architects and birthplace of countless ambitious and globally resonant cultural initiatives, it can sometimes feel as though one is living at the centre of the modern world.
In fact, according to one vision of our times, when it comes to scientific, medical and technical research, the UAE and almost the entire Middle East is living in the dark ages.