Secondly, there's a lack of consistency over the embargo period, with different councils tolerating different periods of time:
No support for publisher embargoes of longer than six months from the date of publication (12 months for research funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)).The fact that, presumably, agreement could not be obtained suggests that the AHRC and the ESRC are in deeper thrall to the publishers than are the science, medicine and technology councils. And the fact is that any embargo period is a contradiction of the Councils' avowed aim of ensuring open access to research findings. Given the pace of developments, especially in science, a six-month embargo period could mean that researchers in developing countries in particular proceed in research directions that would prove unproductive in the light of research published within that six-month period.
The biggest laugh of all is occasioned by the Council's claim:
Free and open access to publicly-funded research offers significant social andIn fact, as the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee noted in its report, "Free for all"
economic benefits. The Government, in line with its overarching commitment to
transparency and open data, is committed to ensuring that such research should be
It is discouraging that the Government does not yet appear to have given muchand the Government of the day ignored the Committee's recommendations and no Government since then has done anything at all to pick up on those recommendations. This is called "buttering up to the government" - let's not disturb the status quo too much, lads, otherwise our peerages and knighthoods may be at risk. And, as far as governments of all descriptions are concerned, the same applies - let's not disturb business too much, otherwise where will we get our highly paid, non-executive directorships when the electorate turn us out of office?
consideration to balancing the needs of the research community, the taxpayer and
the commercial sectors for which it has responsibility. (Paragraph 22)
The lack of real progress towards genuine open publishing - let's forget 'open access' since it allows bodies such as this to fudge the issues - is down to matters such as this - self-interest on the part of both politicians and research council leaders, timidity on the part of university administrators, and fear on the part of the academic community at large.