3 OA policies updated: emphasizing Gold OA: WHO, CERN and the Norwegian Research Council

So far most OA-policies and mandates have a preference for green OA, although many allow payment for APC´s via grants or dedicated OA-publication funds.

Three well-known organizations have recently updated their OA-policies and mandates and now emphasize and/or facilitate Gold OA for slightly different reasons.

The first one to mention is the World Health Organization (WHO).

The new WHO OA-policy:

“applies to all articles or chapters published in non-WHO publications that are authored or co-authored by WHO staff or produced by individuals or institutions funded in whole or in part by WHO”.

“From 1 July 2014, articles authored or co-authored by WHO staff will have to be published in an open-access journal or a hybrid open-access journal under the terms of a Creative Commons 3.0 intergovernmental organization (IGO) ported licence, or in a subscription journal that allows for the depositing of the accepted author manuscript in Europe PubMed Central (Europe PMC) within 12 months of the official publication date. Similarly, articles produced by recipients of WHO funding will have to be published in an open-access journal or a hybrid open-access journal under the terms of a standard Creative Commons licence or in a subscription journal that allows for the depositing of the article in Europe PMC within 12 months of the official publication date”.

“WHO will include the costs of open-access charges, where appropriate, in its applications to donors who support WHO’s work. It will also invite external entities applying for project support from WHO to include such costs, where appropriate, in their applications”.

The new WHO policy not only covers WHO´s own publications accessible via the WHO Institutional Repository for Information Sharing (IRIS), but also publications published elsewhere. The preferred route is now Gold OA including Hybrid OA with PMC deposit also given as an option. 

The second updated OA-policy worth mentioning here is the new CERN OA-policy:

According to the newly updated CERN OA-policy

“CERN authors are now requested to publish all their results Gold Open Access.”

“While all LHC physics articles are Gold Open Access, only 60% of CERN physics results were published as Gold Open Access in 2013. Thanks to the SCOAP3 initiative and the additional partnership with APS this figure will rise to 90 – 95 % in 2015. CERN now aims to reach 100% Gold Open Access for all its original High-Energy Physics results, experimental and theoretical, by the end of 2016.”

“The easiest way to publish Gold Open Access is to prefer journals covered by SCOAP3 [http://scoap3.org/scoap3journals] or through Open Access arrangements where no additional fee should be paid by CERN.”

“When circumstances require publication in any other journal, Open Access fees can be paid with funds external to CERN, e.g. EUprojects. Where this is not possible, authors are requested to get permission from their Department Head.”

The new policy is an update of the earlier CERN OA-policy, requiring Green OA and encouraging Gold OA:

  1. It requires CERN researchers to deposit a copy of all their published articles in an open access repository.
  2. It encourages its researchers to publish their research articles in open access journals where a suitable journal exists and provides the support to do so.

The third updated OA-policy to mention here is the OA-policy of the Norwegian Research Council.

This policy has similarly been updated. This contains a very interesting model that might help speed up the transition to a new scholarly communications system.

The policy announcement cites:

“The Research Council of Norway is introducing a new, five-year funding scheme that will cover a significant share of the costs incurred by research institutions for publication in open access journals.”

“With this scheme we hope to facilitate a more rapid transition to open access publishing of Norwegian research. This is important for giving all interested parties free access to new research results as soon as they are published,” says Arvid Hallén, Director General of the Research Council.”

“Ensuring open access to scientific publications is an overall research policy objective in an international context. In Norway, open access has been listed as an important objective in the Government’s white paper on research.”

“We know that the institutions are in the midst of a costly transition period in which they must maintain their journal subscriptions as well as pay fees to open access journals,” says Mr Hallén. “The new funding scheme will make this period manageable for the institutions, and at the same time they can develop effective systems for financing open access publishing through dedicated publication funds.”

“The Research Council is now setting aside NOK 8 million per year for the new scheme, which is open to all Norwegian research institutions and is not limited to articles funded by the Research Council. The scheme’s financial framework may be expanded if this is warranted by the volume of publications.”

“The research institutions may apply for funding to cover up to 50 per cent of their expenses related to publishing in open access journals.”

“The most important requirement to receive funding is that the journals in which the articles are published must be open access journals at levels 1 or 2 in the registry of publication channels from the Norwegian Association of Higher Education Institutions. In addition, universities and university colleges are required to have established their own publication funds”.

The new funding scheme hereby aims to speed up the transition from the subscription model to an open access publishing model. The Research Council will support APC-payments for research funded by other research funders and will require universities to contribute as well for publishing channels approved by the Norwegian registry of publication channels. It is worth noting that this funding scheme will not support Hybrid Open Access.

Quite an interesting move, and a much more responsible and focussed way of promoting immediate (non-embargoed) access compared to what we have seen for instance in the UK.


Lars Bjørnshauge, November 2014

SPARC Global