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First FP7 Post-Grant Open Access Pilot Progress Report

This post shows the main results of the first report on the FP7 Post-Grant OA Pilot initiative. The report examines the project progress during its first two months of operation, based on the data for approved funding requests for Open Access publishing fees for research articles and monographs collected until July 31st, 2015. The parallel project workline for implementing an APC-equivalent funding mechanism for non-APC-based Open Access journals and platforms will be summarized in an independent post.

A key aspect to be kept in mind when examining the early outcomes of this Pilot is that the sample available so far is not sufficiently large to enable a statistically significant analysis. This is mainly a result of the season of the year the Pilot has been launched in, and means that although there are already emerging trends in the data, it is too early yet for them to be fully reliable. These early trends should be checked on a second progress report to be produced at the end of September when the Pilot will be fully functional.

Some early results
20 eligible funding requests have been collected so far, 16 for journal articles and 4 for books. This is to some extent a surprising distribution, with the original expectation being that funding requests for articles would vastly outnumber those for books, and it’s mainly due to the excellent Pilot dissemination work done towards eligible authors by specific Open Access book publishers (see also this post “FP7 Gets its Open Access Pilot Policy Right“).

There was also a significant number of rejected funding requests so far, mainly due to their applying for funding for publications in hybrid journals, which are not supported according to the Pilot policy guidelines, or for articles that were published far before the Pilot was launched. These issues are expected to gradually diminish as authors start to check with their institutional library or research office before submitting a request as recommended in the Pilot policy guidelines.

Funding request distribution by publisher
Some early trends arising from the approved request distribution by publisher are:
  1. Fully OA publishers co-exist with mixed ones in the researchers’ preferences
  2. Some book publishers are collecting as many eligible submissions as the most popular journal publishers
  3. Some relevant fully OA journal publishers are still missing in this table at this early stage
APC analysis
APC_distribution_20150731The average APC paid by the Pilot so far is €1356. This is far below the €2,000 funding cap set in the policy guidelines.

The APC fee distribution lies between the minimum value of €1065 paid for an article in Palgrave Communications and the maximum of €1730 paid for an article in BioMed Central’s Particle and Fibre Toxicology. Even if this is still a small sample, the distribution looks rather homogeneous, with a standard deviation value of €210.

Approved funding request distribution by country
It’s remarkable that 80% of the approved funding requests so far have arrived from just five countries and that the total number of countries where eligible requests have arrived from is just nine. This shows that more emphasis needs to be made on dissemination. Collecting at least one approved funding request from every country involved in OpenAIRE looks a reasonable – and achievable – goal for the next reporting period.


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