A key purpose of the Author Survey was to find out how useful it would be for authors to be able to access a service that provides clear and accurate information on whether a journal’s open access policy complies with the open access requirements for REF. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there is significant demand amongst the author community for such a service.
A Stakeholder Analysis report discussing the response to this and the other survey questions was sent to HEFCE in mid-February, together with details of the technical requirements of the service. The report should be made available under CC-BY licence within a month, but some preliminary findings are given below:
- 89% of completed responses indicated that a service to help them achieve compliance with REF open access requirements would be very or somewhat useful, with just 4% saying it was not useful at all.
- Over 80% of authors stated that it would be important, very important or essential to have the confidence that any publication could be eligible for the REF, suggesting that the SHERPA/REF service would be widely used.
- If SHERPA/REF did not exist, 54% of respondents would manually check a journal’s OA policy and 27% would seek institutional support.
- Authors were asked to estimate how long it would take them to check the compliance of a journal with the REF open access policy in the absence of SHERPA/REF. Estimates varied considerably, from 5 minutes to ‘a couple of days’, the majority of replies were in the range of 30 – 60 minutes, which indicates substantial cost savings from such a service.
- 87% of survey participants would like the new service to display information on other research funders’ OA policies, which supports the need for a high level of integration with SHERPA/FACT.
- Support for optional features varied considerably, with tracking services allowing authors to check a journal’s historic compliance or be informed of changes to journal OA policies and embargo periods receiving most support.