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Open Access behind the scenes: Managing Cardiff University’s Open Access team

28 February 2018

I dipped my toe into the Gold OA publishing world for the first time when Cardiff University received some of the BIS funding available to institutions in late 2012 to kick-start Open Access. Up until then, I had been busy raising awareness of our institutional repository, ORCA, amongst the Schools and advocating Green OA. I was also checking, re-checking, and triple-checking repository metadata required for Cardiff’s outputs to be submitted to REF2014. How little did I know then about the complexities around Gold OA!

Cardiff University’s Library Service took on the administration of the RCUK Gold OA block grant when it commenced in April 2013. We soon realised that the Wellcome Trust grant should ideally also come under our management, allowing authors to contact one team for any central Gold OA funding.

Demand on the funds grew quickly, resulting in an expansion of our team to cope with the flood of emails, invoices and enquiries and the demand for OA training sessions.

When I came back from maternity leave in September 2015, our Diamond OA Cardiff University Press (which I was going to manage) had been launched, the REF2021 OA policy had been announced and the University had recently approved our own institutional Gold OA fund to cover non-funded authors.

Since then, the work our team does still constantly evolves and we remain adaptable and able to react to changes swiftly – including the creation of our wonderful network of REF OA Coordinators busy raising awareness of OA around campus. Cardiff University is now official an Open Access University and our team takes pride in the personalised support we provide to our colleagues, staff and students.

Things that have helped us along the way:

  • Busy academics appreciate support – so give as much as you can, and tailor it
  • Firm rules and structures provide clarity and security
  • Being open and transparent, including about limits, builds trust
  • Enthusiasm and willingness to adapt and change are crucial
  • Be proud of the service you are offering – it’ll show in the delivery of it!

I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the central OA team and look forward to following the team’s future adventures on Twitter.

Sonja Haerkoenen, Scholarly Publications Manager