Modelling an Open Access Future




Research Libraries UK (RLUK)

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Development of a modelling tool to allow UK research libraries to understand the financial implications of the transition to open access publication of their research outputs.

RLUK is a consortium of the most significant research libraries in the UK and Ireland, whose purpose is to shape the research library agenda, and contribute to the wider knowledge economy through innovative projects and services that add value and impact to the process of research. It also contributes to the health of society through the preservation and sharing of knowledge: one of the pillars of an open society.

In early 2020, a key question facing RLUK’s university members was “what are the potential costs under a fully open access policy regime relating to all of the research articles published by member institutions?”. RLUK therefore set up a rapid Task-and-Finish Group to discuss the modelling of expected spend, to identify the relevant sources of data, to describe the assumptions underpinning the formula, and give an indication of the accuracy of the resulting figures

Research Consulting was commissioned by RLUK to support the group’s work. We worked with them to develop a spreadsheet model that institutions could use to understand the potential costs of open access, and drafted an accompanying guidance and frequently asked questions document.

Our work was completed to a tight timeframe, and required us to work in partnership with representatives of RLUK, Jisc Collections and representatives of 10 research libraries.

We engaged Research Consulting for a focussed, quick piece of research on open access costs. The work had a hard deadline and required significant liaison with our members and some external bodies. All of this was handled expertly and Research Consulting brought extensive knowledge of modelling and scholarly communication to the project – completing it in time and to budget.David Prosser, Executive Director, RLUK