Quantitative Study of the Impact of Research Funders' Open Access Mandates
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A year after the Wellcome Trust inaugurated its pioneering open access publications mandate in 2005, it commissioned SHERPA to undertake a quantitative study of how well publishers' existing policies were complying with its requirements. The study was based on a bibliography of 3,766 journal articles emanating from Wellcome Trust funded projects, and these were checked against copyright policies registered in the SHERPA/RoMEO database. The results revealed that 70% of the articles could have complied with the mandate, with only 5% definitely not complying. Since 2005, over 40 further research funders have also implemented open access mandates. Publishers have responded by adjusting their open access policies and/or introducing hybrid paid OA schemes in order to accommodate or even exploit funders' mandates. The resulting landscape is not a level plain. There are several ways in which a publisher may or may not comply with funders' rules. This paper will outline the results of the original quantitative study, and then compare this with a re-analysis of the data set against publishers' current revised policies. This will show how the level of theoretical compliance with the Wellcome Trust mandate has changed, and reveal the qualitative differences in how compliance is achieved or evaded. This theoretical compliance can then be compared with actual compliance. More generally, the paper will show how the landscape has changed over the past three years, and provide evidence for deciding whether or not funders' open access mandates have been a step in the right direction.