Getting to grips with Open Access requires a step-change in the way we do things. In this post the new SAS-Space manager considers this issue and shares with us some of his thoughts as he took up the appointment in February.
It would seem that Open Access is a process that continues to worry and confuse researchers. Its core idea is a great one: free academic work from the confines of a select few who can access subscription services and make it available to everyone. What’s not to like?
That I think is the wrong question. Whether or not we like the idea of open access is academic. Open Access is here to stay. What matters now is to understand what it means to us and how we can make best use of what should be an exciting but challenging change in the way we do things.
When I took over the managerial role for SAS-Space and SAS Open Journals back in February I knew that I had a steep learning curve ahead of me. Like many in the discipline I knew that the UK government wanted all academic research to be made open access as quickly as possible. The Research Councils are already demanding open access publication and other areas of academic funding/accountability will soon follow. I also knew that there were discipline-specific issues that meant that the humanities sat uncomfortably within the framework the government were putting forward; although I didn’t know what those issues were as such. That was about all I knew.
Like many of you (I’d imagine) I was aware that open access was something that I would need to get my head around sometime soon, but it was still some way down on my ‘to-do-list’ and a subject that frightened me simply because I didn’t yet understand it, and because it represents a step-change in how I and others do the things that we do.
Obviously as SAS-Space and SAS Open Journals manager I needed to become an expert quick. I now understand much more about open access (and realise that I actually understood more at the start than I had actually realised). For the School, open access represents an exciting change and challenge because this is an area where we can make a real difference. We have the basic infrastructure already in place. SAS-Space offers staff, students and other affiliates a space for publishing pre-publication versions of articles as specified for the ‘green’ route of open access.
SAS Open Journals offers another step forward by offering a place where journal editors can publish entirely in an open access forum. As a service it is open to both external and interior partners and it is a service that can only grow, expand, and thrive in this new world.
I am very pleased, therefore, for the opportunity to be involved in that process and to help shape its future. Anyone who has any questions about these services or might be interested in working with us you can contact me by email in the first instance at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This post was written by Matt Phillpott (SAS). Matt is manager of SAS Space and SAS Open Journals. He initially managed the Institute of Historical Research’s History SPOT platform, which offered online training in research skills, and is now developing a similar platform for humanities researchers which will include a course in Managing Data. Matt initially trained as an historian, focusing on early modern book history.