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Second FP7 Post-Grant Open Access Pilot progress report

       The second progress report is already available for the EC FP7 Post-Grant Open Access Pilot providing information on the first four months of the project with data as of Sep 30th. The results show that the initiative is gradually taking up, with more than double funding requests having been granted in this 4-month period than in the first two months of the Pilot. The rhythm of growth is however slower than initially expected, due to both the season which the initiative has been launched in and the difficulty to reach out to eligible researchers on a rather specific funding policy. The activity is however steadily increasing and factors like the enhancement of the system for collecting and processing funding requests and the consistent dissemination work being done by NOADs and institutions will surely provide the basis for a steeper growth in forthcoming months.

Conversations are already under way too with publishers in order to discuss the first pre-payment agreements to be signed by the FP7 Post-Grant OA Pilot. Besides streamlining the invoicing process and allowing to test specific technical workflows for information exchange on funded outputs, these agreements will also increase the effectiveness of the initiative at identifying funding requests in publishers' manuscript processing systems. Once these identification mechanisms are implemented, there will be a double strategy in place to reach out to eligible researchers, via their institutions and through their publishers. A balance will need to be kept anyway between both worklines, since even if the communication through publishers may eventually prove more effective in identifying eligible manuscripts, the advocacy work the institutions are doing in explaining the Pilot's policy guidelines and the reasons why they are the way they are is irreplaceable.

Besides the FP7 Post-Grant OA Pilot dissemination that friendly publishers like DeGruyter or Ubiquity Press are already doing towards their authors, an awareness-rising letter will imminently be sent to all eligible FP7 project coordinators from the OpenAIRE Project Office in Brussels. These further outreach efforts should also be a guarantee for better results in future reports.

As of Sep 30th, the number of granted funding requests is up to 52 (46 of them for research articles and 6 for books) from the 20 that had been collected as of Jul 31st. The distribution by country of such 52 requests is shown in the table below, with the number of new approved requests collected in the last two months shown in brackets. This distribution is the result of considering the institutional affiliation by country of the researcher who delivers the funding request into the system, and constitutes a good indicator for the level of awareness of the Pilot in different countries, even if other distributions by country like the one for project coordinating institutions are also significant and are independently analysed in the report.


As shown in the table, two countries – the UK and Spain – have jointly provided more than half of the collected funding requests in these first 4 months of the initiative. While this suggests that there will be geographic biases in the funding distribution, it also shows that the initiative can succeed if it gets adequately disseminated at the right level and incidentally not just in countries where the workflows for dealing with Gold Open Access are well established.

The average APC fee paid so far, which only applies yet to research articles, is €1,352, totally in line with the previous €1,356 average figure collected in the first report. The APC fee histogram shows a wider range of APC fees being paid as the months go by, with an increasing number of APCs in the top €1,900-2,000 interval but also with a significant number of them under the €1,000 boundary.


The distribution of the funding by publisher in these first four months is shown in the table below. Macmillan/NPG continues topping the list thanks to the very successful Scientific Reports record (this is the most frequently selected journal by the Pilot-funded authors) while Copernicus, which was not in the list for the previous report has collected a large number of requests in this term and is now featured in second place.


The full report – available here – contains many other statistics which are not dealt with in detail here such as funding requests collected by institution, average APC paid by publisher, funded FP7 project distribution by number of partners or the above-mentioned distribution of project coordinating institutions by country.

The report also mentions specific countries and geographic areas where the current level of activity around the initiative is lower than expected. More dissemination activities for the FP7 Post-Grant OA Pilot will be carried out in forthcoming weeks, including during the imminent Open Access Week 2015, specifically targeting these geographic areas for which little activity shows up thus far in the system for processing funding requests.

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