N – The Finch Report

The Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings, chaired by Dame Janet Finch (co-Chair of the UK Government’s Council for Science and Technology, published its findings in June. The group’s remit was to investigate how UK-funded research findings could be made more accessible. Its report recommended better, faster communication of research results through open access, with the aim of benefiting public services and economic growth, as well as improved efficiency for researchers, and more opportunities for public engagement with research. The report received a large amount of attention in both mainstream and social media and was generally supported by publishers, who broadly acknowledged that some kind of open-access model was the way forward. Coming only a few months after the widespread criticism of some publishers for their support of legislation designed to prohibit open-access mandates, this seemed like a significant shift in viewpoint. Indeed, a few days before the report was published, Nature editor-in-chief, Philip Campbell, acknowledged that open-access was “going to happen in the long run”. However, the Finch report was criticised for its strong support of ‘gold’ OA (publisher-led open-access) over ‘green’ OA (institutional repository-based access), among other concerns.