Very important - and very, very good news for open access today, from the U.K.!
The Research Councils U.K. today released their Open Access Position Announcement. In brief, each Council is developing its own policy, reflecting disciplinary differences.
The Medical Research Council has announced a very strong OA mandate policy (required deposit in PubMedCentral / PMC-UK when available) - preferably immediately, but no more than 6 months after publication.
The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council "will require a copy of any resulting published journal article or conference proceedings to be deposited, at the earliest opportunity, in an appropriate e-print repository". This policy refers to respecting publishers' copyright and embargo policies - which some might see as a weakness, but might actually refer to authors who have agreements with publishers predating this policy announcement, a sensitivity reflected elsewhere in the RCUK announcement.
The Economic & Social Reearch Council policy says: "For awards from grant applications submitted from 1 October 2006, it will be mandatory, at the earliest opportunity, to:
* Personally deposit, or otherwise ensure the deposit of, a copy of any resultant articles published in journals or conference proceedings, in the ESRC awards and outputs repository.
* Wherever possible, personally deposit, or otherwise ensure the deposit of, the bibliographical metadata relating to such articles, including a link to the publisher's website, at or around the time of publication, in the ESRC awards and outputs repository.
One other council is "strongly encouraging" open access, while the rest are still developing their policies.
For more comments, see:
JISC Welcomes RCUK's statement on access to research outputs
Peter Suber's notes and comments on Open Access News (and continue to watch OA News for further comments, of course).
Thanks to Stevan Harnad on the American Scientist Open Access Forum for sharing the news.