Irish initiative strives to make research papers freely available

26 Oct 2022

Image: © mnirat/

The IREL consortium expects more than 60pc of its members’ articles published this year to be open access.

A consortium is succeeding in making Irish research publications openly available, according to the Government.

The IREL initiative aims to provide access to a wide range of licensed e-resources, open access publishing agreements and open science infrastructure.

It made agreements with many major academic publishers last year, allowing publications from participating Irish institutions be freely available to any citizen, student or researcher in any country.

Thanks to these agreements, the consortium said that 2,813 journal articles were published open access in 2021. This accounts for 42pc of the articles published annually by authors from IREL member institutions.

IREL expects more than 60pc of articles published in 2022 to be open access under these agreements.

The consortium is based in Maynooth University, with participating institutions including Dublin City University, University of Galway, University College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, University of Limerick and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

The group’s progress was announced today (26 October) by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris, TD. Harris said open access “benefits everyone” and helps to meet ambitions on the climate crisis, sustainability and disease control.

“Under the agreement, any researcher, lecturer or student from an IREL member institution writing in these publishers’ journals is now offered immediate open access by default, and at no cost to the author,” he added.

“I want to acknowledge the efforts of all those involved in increasing the number of open access publications that are available, and I’m delighted that the support of my department has made this possible.”

Earlier this year, the US government announced an updated policy guidance on open access that is expected to substantially expand public access to taxpayer-funded science research across the world.

Last week, a new open access charter was launched by Lero, the Science Foundation Ireland research centre for software. This aims to increase visibility for researchers, create more opportunities for collaboration and enable greater transparency in the research process.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic