4pm, Friday 8 November 2013, School of Geography and the Environment, Oxford

Listen to the Panel Discussion [MP3: 71.3MB : 76 mins] | Read Dr Jepson's follow up notes PDF: 72.6 KB

In July last year the government's working group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings, chaired by Professor Dame Janet Finch published its report.

The Government response supported the reports recommendation of moving towards the 'Gold Route' - where author's pay to have their papers to journals published and accessing journal article would be free. Higher Education Funding Councils are planning proposals for implementing requirements that research submitted to Research Excellence Framework (REF) (or similar) after 2013 shall be as assessable as reasonably achievable at the time.

We are following up Open Access Week 2013 (titled 'Redefining Impact) with a panel discussion of the issues.

The move to Open Access, whilst sounding noble in principle, could have profound and far reaching implications for the practice of our discipline, not least because much human and intra-disciplinary research has less access to funding sources able to pay for publishing.

There are some nice 'knotty' questions to debate, for instance:

  • Is open access really about instant access? The request a reprint process is easier than ever.
  • Is it ethical we have to pay to publish our research so that business and enterprise gets it free?
  • From where will open access costs be sourced and who will decide what papers to support? How will this affect younger researchers publishing from DPhil or other low-funded research?
  • Are there other agendas masquerading under this ideal? Saving on University Library budgets.
  • Whatever, this is an important and fascinating debate and one this is increasingly interacting with wider debates on peer review and scientific credibility.

Come and hear what our panellists have to say and then have yours.


  • Prof. Heather Viles, Chair SoGE Research and Development Committee
  • Prof. Robert Whittaker, Editor Journal of Biogeography
  • Sue Bird, SoGE librarian, Radcliffe Science Library
  • David Clark, Social Sciences publishing, Elsevier Publishing
  • Chair: Dr Paul Jepson

Preparatory Readings

If you would like to read up on some of the issues along with the wider context here are some starting points:

Further Information

Please direct all enquiries to