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The SHERPA partnership is delighted that the UK Research Funding Councils have now released their statements supporting open access and the use of institutional and subject-based repositories. The councils' statements means that the eight publicly funded research councils in the UK join with the National Institutes for Health in the USA and the international Wellcome Trust in supporting Open Access and the results of research funding being made available to the widest audience.
The principle that public funding of research should result in public availability of research findings is of undoubted benefit to researchers, the research process and the public good. The guidance that the Research Councils have given in supporting open access to funded research will increase the availability, dissemination and use of UK research with benefits to both individual researchers and institutions. Different Research Councils have slightly different requirements for their researchers to fulfill: some recommend open access deposition, while others require it as a condition of grant. All of them support the RCUK position statement previously released and available from the RCUK website.
The repository network established within UK higher education and other research institutions is able to assist in this work and allow free access to its contents. The SHERPA partnership of 25 of the UK's most prominent research-led institutions will support academics in complying with the councils' request.
Assistance to individual authors in archiving their work is available through the SHERPA website - http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/guidance/authors.
Further assistance is also available. SHERPA runs the RoMEO listing, which gives information on publisher's copyright agreements and the extent to which these restrict or allow open access archiving of author's work. SHERPA also runs OpenDOAR, which lists available repositories for depositing work world-wide.
This move by the UK Research Councils will act as an example to other research funders within the UK and world-wide. It is hoped and expected that others will follow in promoting the use of Open Access as an effective way of ensuring the greatest use of funded research outputs.
SHERPA is pleased to release the JULIET listing as a companion to RoMEO. The new JULIET list analyses the different archiving policies of research bodies as a guide to researchers and as a record of Open Access support. A separate announcement of this launch has been made.