Impact Factors — the revised RCUK open access guidelines

It has happened. Yesterday RCUK published the revised guidelines on its new open access policy and, as requested by this blog and everyone who signed up in support, the document (PDF) now includes, on page one no less, a statement that:

“When assessing proposals for research funding RCUK considers that it is the quality of the research proposed, and not where an author has or is intending to publish, that is of paramount importance” 

RCUK’s Alexandra Saxon was good enough to make particular mention of our request in her blogpost to explain the most significant revisions in the new guidelines. I’m also grateful to Peter Coles (aka @telescoper) for noticing.

This is only a small step on the road to elimination of the pernicious effects of impact factors on our processes of assessment. There is no case for resting on laurels. We still need leading scientists, other funders, universities and journals to listen to the mood music and respond in a like manner and suggestions for how to achieve that will be most welcome.

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6 Responses to Impact Factors — the revised RCUK open access guidelines

  1. Although, being devil’s advocate, this could also mean that any grant proposal specifically stating “we intend to publish our findings only in open access journals” would gain no benefit from doing so. At present there might, and I acknowledge this is a big “might”, be reviewers and indeed funders who see this as a positive.

    Whether or not that’s really going to be the case, I don’t know. I also am not a fan of the idea that I stated above, i.e. that a proposal might get extra “brownie points” for declaring for OA right up front, so the revised RCUK guidelines seem appropriate to me.

    • Stephen says:

      I can’t see that being a significant factor. In my experience panels are largely judging the quality of the science in the application and the quality of the scientist making it. The trouble has been that judgement of the latter has been over-reliant on impact factors.

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