IRCSET to create easy access to research papers

1 May 2008

The Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (IRCSET) has announced plans to create an Open Access Repository (OAR) for published research findings and papers.

An OAR is an information storage and retrieval system where published research findings and papers are stored and made available for full, open and free access by the research community and the general public. Typically, they are managed by academic institutions.

The new IRCSET policy, which begins today, follows a public consultation process in 2007 during which inputs and support were received from the research community.

The accepted trend among researchers to date has been to publish research findings in one or other well-known research journals. This will continue to be done under the new policy but where a research publication arises in whole or in part from IRCSET-funded research, researchers will now also be required to file their published research papers in the OAR as soon as is practical but within six calendar months at the latest.

The requirement will from now on form part of IRCSET’s terms and conditions in offering and providing funding to researchers.

A number of Irish universities currently provide OARs of their own and a consortium of Irish universities is engaged in the development of a national OAR system, connecting the repositories of each participating institution for fuller public accessibility.

In an OAR, the usual copyright and fair practice considerations are not waived and publication on open access does not preclude prior publication in a recognised research journal or commercial publication.

Anyone in the world with internet access will be able to access publications in an OAR.

“This is intended to be a highly beneficial policy which is fully in line with European and OECD guidelines,” commented Professor Jane Grimson, chair of IRCSET.

“The intellectual effectiveness and progress of the widespread research community can be continually enhanced where there is recourse to as wide a range of shared knowledge and findings as possible.

“This is particularly the case in the realm of publicly funded research where there is a need to ensure the advancement of scientific research and innovation in the interests of society and the economy, without unnecessary duplication of research effort.

“The publication policy confirms the freedom of researchers to publish first wherever they feel is the most appropriate. The policy is also intended to increase the visibility and accessibility of research funded by IRCSET and the State, where such research is already intended to be published by the researchers concerned.”

Since its inception in 2002, IRCSET has allocated €60m to support the career formation of over 1,000 researchers in Ireland.

IRCSET is now funded under the National Development Plan and will allocate approximately €26m in 2008 to the development of early-stage research careers.

By Niall Byrne