DFID stood-up alongside big names of the Open Access movement today by publishing its own Open and Enhanced Access policy. From November 1st, all recipients of DFID funded research must make their findings freely available.
While over a million scholarly articles are published every year in around 25,000 journals, only 20% are freely accessible. DFIDs new policy guidelines propose to make more research ‘open access’ - which refers to the immediate, irrevocable and free access to online scientific and scholarly material.
“Research into new technologies, better ways of doing things and understanding the drivers of poverty are essential if we are to reduce poverty and the effects of poverty,” said Chris Whitty, Chief Scientific Adviser and Director of DFID’s Research and Evidence Division.
“But it also has to be available to those who need it - excellent and important research not available to those who need it is at best useless, and arguably unethical.
“DFID’s Open and Enhanced Access Policy is our call to the global research community to share their knowledge and learning - in a systematic way - to ensure that we influence development policy and practice in the future, and we back that up with practical suggestions and resources,” he added.
Under the new policy, researchers will be required to make peer-reviewed journal articles open access through one of two routes: open access publishing (gold open access) or self-archiving (green open access).
“As a major funder of agricultural research, DFID’s open access policy is a major step forward. It should help us change the rules of the game, adjusting the rewards and the incentives so access is as important as quality,” said Peter Ballantyne, Head of Knowledge Management and Information Services at the International Livestock Research Institute.
“It will help ensure that potential life-changing knowledge gets into the hands of smallholder producers, traders, governments and even consumers. We need to ensure that this policy is picked up by other funders and bodies to ensure consistency and ‘one voice’ to the publishing world,” he said.
For a fuller range of perspectives on the importance of the DFID policy, see the Research for Development feature.