RRS discussed at FUN’s webinar in August

Glass walls of Linna. Picture: Reetta Oittinen Tampereen yliopisto / Tampere University
Glass walls of Linna. Picture: Reetta Oittinen Tampereen yliopisto / Tampere University

As part of the measures of its current strategy period, FUN organized an invitational webinar on RRS (Rights Retention Strategy) for university library managers and experts from their organizations.

Obstacles to the open publication of research results served as the bridge for the webinar. Open publication of research results is a prerequisite for everyone to have access to researched information without payment barriers. An economically sustainable way to implement stable and long-term access to scientific articles is to save them in parallel in your own organization’s publication archive. Publishers’ terms and conditions do not always allow parallel storage of the final author version of an article, or it is enabled as part of expensive transformative read-and-publish contracts.

There are already numerous and increasing examples in the world of how universities have implemented their policy of open publishing by defining for their researchers the right to always save their output in parallel, regardless of the publisher’s terms. In this webinar, we considered what RRS is from the point of view of Finnish universities and how university libraries could possibly promote it in Finland.

At the beginning of the webinar, FUN’s chairman Tommi Harju (Library Director, University of the Arts Helsinki) guided the participants in the promotion of open publishing from FUN’s context. Harju explained the phenomenon through cOAlition S’s RRS strategy, the tightening pressures brought by the Covid 19 pandemic and the work to reform Finland’s copyright legislation, as well as what options we could have to move forward from the expensive and stuck situation of transformative agreements. In terms of new solution options, the focus is on developing sustainable Diamond OA as well as strengthening Green OA. These were also reflected in the measures of the service vision of the FinELib consortium. However, the difficulty of the economic sustainability of open publishing has only grown and has become more relevant, so it is necessary to really hurry up to find solutions.

Harju also guided the participants through FUN’s action plan (2023–2024), where one of the priorities is promoting open science and promoting the Rights Retention strategy, implementing Open Science guidelines, and expanding and intensifying the cooperation necessary for it, as well as influencing the coordination of Open Science. FUN does and increases active cooperation and dialogue in these matters. Harju also reminded us of what the everyday life of researchers and universities is when it comes to parallel storage – the right to parallel storage alone does not solve everything that is needed, but it can be a big, significant step towards the wider and necessary change of financially sustainable open publishing.

Next, service manager Arto Ikonen (Open Science Centre, University of Jyväskylä) explained the issue through the costs of open publishing, relying on researched information (further reading tips at the end of his presentation). It’s expensive, outrageously, and unbearably expensive, we all found out! – And that’s even though we don’t even know all the costs and the whole harsh reality! Libraries have formal processes and data sources at their disposal (such as Tiedejatutkimus.fi and OpenAPC), but the mystery that remains outside them is unfortunately large, as the share of the publication fee for transformative agreements in the total amount is not systematically known. However, good estimates can be made of its size, and it would be good for us to examine and develop them even more closely in the extensive cooperation of university libraries.

Ikonen laid the groundwork for the discussion at the end by asking what we pay and what we want to pay for. In our operations, we tilt several important questions in the cross wave. So, do we pay above all for the openness of scientific research; the spread and visibility of the researched information; publisher’s services; improving the quality of science and research; the number of research publications; the quality of research publications; academic reputation; about supporting the evaluation of researchers or the researcher’s right to his own work.

In the third presentation of the webinar, which was also part of the background to the discussion, the undersigned covered the strategic goals and concrete goals of AVOTT’s guidelines, and the commitments already made by our organization in connection with the guidelines and the recommendations specifying them. – The reality here is different than the goals, and as individual organizations, our means are very limited. Contrary to the aforementioned goals and objectives, we are still not able, for example, to enable comprehensive openness and to keep the total costs of access to research publications at most “at a level similar to the current ones” when moving to open access (2019). We don’t have a sufficiently comprehensive CC license to protect the researcher’s rights, and if we want to achieve the goal by 2025 of having created a “co-financed publishing model that enables the immediate transparency of research articles published in Finland”, the time has already come for a straightforward magic trick.

The undersigned presentation also referred to the conference trip report prepared with her colleague, Chief Information Specialist Markku Roinila (see Nykyri & Roinila 2023) and continued to open the RRS concept. The European experiences were opened with the experiences of the SPARC Europe survey and by presenting the cOAlition S approach and the similarities and differences in the RRS strategies of the three universities, with the implementation methods of Tromsø, Oslo and Sheffield Hallam University as case examples. Experiences from outside Finland emphasize the importance of close cooperation, among other things, because the highly fragmented RRS politicking is very burdensome for researchers, and in Finland we nevertheless have good opportunities for cooperation to maximize clarity and clarify the best possible implementation method for our society (e.g., legal regulation) and operating environment in the selection of means of open and sustainable scientific publishing. It is also good to remember that RRS does not replace the need for other development and support of open science publishing, e.g., for the necessary infrastructure and editorial work.

After the presentations, the participants were divided into small groups, where open publishing experts from several different university libraries facilitated the discussion. The discussion was very lively and outlined the need for a domestic broad RRS strategy and what measures it would require. As a result, FUN started the activities of a working group that investigates and prepares the matter more closely.

The matter is also featured in the national AVOTT cooperation, where the issue will be met and discussed next with open publishing experts on October 3rd, 2023. Arja Tuuliniemi from FinELib and Tommi Harju from FUN will start the discussion at this AVOTT event.

Susanna Nykyri, YTT
Chief Specialist (open science)
University of Tampere

Anu Keinänen
Coordinator, OSC, University of Jyväskylä
Secretary of Cooperation, FUN

Further reading and sources

Asai, S. (2020). Market power of publishers in setting article processing charges for open access journals. Scientometrics 123, 1037–1049. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-020-03402-y

Crawford, W. (2022). Gold open access 2016–2021: Articles in journals (GOA7). Cites & Insights Books https://waltcrawford.name/goa7.pdf

Khoo, S. Y.-S. (2019). Article Processing Charge Hyperinflation and Price Insensitivity: An Open Access Sequel to the Serials Crisis. LIBER Quarterly: The Journal of the Association of European Research Libraries, 29(1), 1–18. https://doi.org/10.18352/lq.10280

Morrison, H., Borges, L., Zhao, X., Kakou, T.L., Shanbhoug, A.M. (2021). Open access article processing charges 2011–2021. Preprint. Sustaining the Knowledge Commons https://ruor.uottawa.ca/handle/10393/42327

Nykyri, S., & Roinila, M. (2023). Ajankohtaista ja kiperää tiedekustantamisessa ja -julkaisemisessa: 17th Munin Conference on Scholarly Publishing. Informaatiotutkimus, 42(1–2), 51–70. https://doi.org/10.23978/inf.127635

OpenAPC. https://treemaps.openapc.net/apcdata/openapc/

SPARC Europe. Project Retain. Enabling the dissemination of knowledge. https://sparceurope.org/what-we-do/open-access/copyright/project-retain/

Tiedejatutkimus.fi. https://tiedejatutkimus.fi/fi/

Zhang, L., Wei, Y., Huang, Y. et al. (2022). Should open access lead to closed research? The trends towards paying to perform research. Scientometrics 127, 7653–7679. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-022-04407-5

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