In 2009, the university board agreed to work towards making the UiB more conspicuous by publishing research results in open electronic archives. From the beginning of 2010, UiB researchers were therefore encouraged to send their own research articles to the university’s own open electronic archive - BORA.
But a pilot project in 2010, which included specially chosen academic milieu from seven institutes, shows that UiB researchers are not particularly interested in publishing their articles. In spite of the fact that the UiB actively encouraged researchers to deliver articles, only 37 of a possible 607 articles were published in BORA.
The researchers that took part in the project meant that it took too long to publish their articles in BORA. The system meant that they needed to get legal clearance from the researcher’s publishing house and permission from all of the co-authors.
They didn’t see the point. Usually, publishing rights only allow manuscripts and short versions to be published in BORA.
- The results show that it will be difficult for the UiB to become more visible with the aid of BORA. We need to use other channels if we are to make UiB research results available to all, ways that make use of more channels, says Dir. Randi E. Taxt of the UiB.
The Research Committee has asked the university leadership to appoint a workgroup to evaluate UiB’s open access system. The group will, among other things, look into the possibility of establishing a publishing fund that covers publishing expenses.
- It’s important to orientate oneself regarding current publishing practices in order to find out which is the best method for the UiB. It’s expensive to publish in some of the open electronic journals. We must therefore decide who will pay the bill - a fund set up by the UiB, or the individual researcher, says Vice-Rector Berit Rokne, leader of the Research Committee.
It costs from 3000 to 100.000 Norwegian Crowns to publish an article in an open electronic journal.
- UiB’s media budget doesn’t have the resources to cover this, and we don’t think that the individual researcher should have to pay, says Taxt.
Taxt thinks that open publishing channels will have a lot more influence in the future, and a new generation of scientists who are used to digital publishing, is on the way.
- UiB doesn’t need to be in the forefront regarding this type of support system, but it’s important that we are not left behind. It’s usual to have this type of fund both in Norway and at international research universities. The University of Tromsø has recently established a fund to cover open access publishing expenses, says Taxt.
The 2010 pilot project showed that scientists are more or less positive to publishing their research results, as long as it doesn’t create unnecessary extra work and doesn’t influence their academic freedom to decide which publishing channel to use.
Taxt thinks that scientists should think carefully about where they publish.
- I don’t believe that the UiB wants to force researchers to use open publishing systems. But open access publishing is the type of publishing that gets the most notice, says Taxt.
She believes there will be more open publishing in the future, and the fact that more open access journals are available will be important for academia.
The UiB director also wishes to take a look at the electronic archiving and the availability of publications, master’s degrees and PhD dissertations at the various UiB faculties.