Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office
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This review was commissioned by the Department for International Development (DFID) to position themselves at the forefront of international efforts to promote openness and equity in research. In particular, DFID, which has now been replaced by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, sought to evaluate its open and enhanced access research policy.
The review recognised the complex relationships between accessible scientific knowledge and international development. While several voices are warning policymakers in low and middle-income countries against formally committing to open access initiatives, there is more that can be done closer to home to improve access to research worldwide. With these ideas in mind, DFID aimed to bring its open access policy into line with recent developments in the open access field.
The first phase of the review comprised an assessment of the performance of DFID’s current policy and showed that DFID had made significant progress towards increasing access to its research outputs in recent years. Most of DFID’s published outputs are free to read online, and the majority of academic articles are made open access immediately upon publication. However, the review also showed that there was a strong case for improving systems and processes underpinning research discoverability and accessibility.
Building on this analysis, in the second phase of the study we identified 41 opportunities to improve the effectiveness of DFID’s open access policy and bring it into line with recent developments in the field. We grouped these opportunities for improvement into five themes and assessed them using a cost-benefit analysis. This, in turn, informed the development of a set of priorities for action for DFID.
The review required a range of analysis and evaluation techniques, including desk-based research and stakeholder interviews.