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UK Parliamentary Report on Scientific Communication

Staff of the SHERPA project are delighted to read the far-reaching report of the Parliamentary Science and Technology Committee and welcome its findings and recommendations.

This report was the result of an in-depth investigation by the Science and Technology Committee into scientific scholarly communication in the UK. It examined various publishing models, looking in particular at the arguments for and against open access. The Committee took evidence from libraries, publishers, funding bodies, learned societies, and government agencies. SHERPA submitted both written evidence and funding models concerning institutional repositories: copies can be found on the Committee's website as appendix 51 and 143.

The conclusion of this cross-party committee was that the current model of scientific publishing is unsatisfactory and that the principle of open access should be supported. Its report makes specific recommendations for the co-ordinated development of publishing and dissemination systems which provide open access to research results.

The report makes a number of recommendations related to institutional repositories, which will affect SHERPA's work. Among the more important of its recommendations are the mandating of open access to government-funded research results and the establishment of a national network of institutional repositories.

The report, published on 20th July, takes its place amongst other countries' national initiatives and declarations and has increased confidence and momentum in open access developments. The report calls for the UK to take a lead in the development of open access communications. The effects of the report and the work which will come from it are likely to be felt internationally.

A substantial section of the report was devoted to the issue of repositories and some of its recommendations in this area involve the SHERPA project. In particular there are suggestions for a role in the possible development of co-ordinated UK Higher Education repository work inspired by the Parliamentary report. Project staff are currently working towards the development of institutional repositories both within and external to the project partners and welcome support and policy development that will further this work.

Copies of the report and written evidence and transcripts of the oral evidence are also available from the Committee's website.

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