The seventh Q&A in a series exploring the current state of Open Access has been published. On this occasion the questions are answered by Danny Kingsley, Executive Officer of the Australian Open Access Support Group (AOASG), an organisation founded at the end of last year by six Australian universities in order to provide “a concerted and coordinated Australian voice in support of open access.”


Prior to taking on her role at AOASG, Kingsley spent five years studying the OA situation in Australia for her PhD, and then four years as a repository manager at the Australian National University (ANU), so she has a keen understanding of the OA scene in Australia.


What is the current state of Open Access from an Australian perspective?


On the positive side, says Kingsley, the flood of international statements about OA we have seen this year has strengthened the voice of those advocating for OA. And Australia is well placed to benefit from this: All of its universities now have an institutional repository, and both the Australian Research Council and the National Health and Medical Research Council have introduced OA mandates that favour Green OA.


On the negative side, says Kingsley, researchers’ lack of engagement with Open Access remains “a continual disappointment.” As a result, she suggests, OA advocates need “to stop talking to ourselves and work out the best way to engage the researchers.”


Unfortunately, however, this task has been made that much harder by the recommendations of the Finch Report, and the consequent decision by Research Councils UK to favour Gold OA, and endorse Hybrid OA.


Indeed, Kingsley’s account suggests that, rather than being a tipping point for OA, the RCUK Policy has impeded progress, not just in the UK but globally. “The Finch/RCUK decision to back and fund Gold Open Access including Hybrid has had ramifications around the world with publishers tightening the deposit and embargo rules for repositories,” she says. “While this is ostensibly to encourage UK researchers to take the Gold OA option to comply with their rules it affects everyone.”


Moreover, adds Kingsley, “Hybrid is tainting Open Access because researchers often think this is what Open Access means and are (understandably) upset and angry about the changes they feel are being forced upon them.”


The Q&A can be read here: