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1.1. Subject Area and
Background for the Research

Links to: Ideas; My Dissertation; Abstract; Table of contents; Lists; References; Bibliography; Appendices; Interviews; Coding; Memos; Notes; Categories; Chapter One; Chapter Two; Chapter Three; Chapter Four; Chapter Five; Chapter Six

In a multi-media environment, there are significant changes in the process of showcasing research output to the wide world. The Internet and a new outlook on academic networking allows consenting copyright-holding authors to offer their work digitally, free of charge and also free of most of licensing restrictions, through avenues continuously developed by supporters of the Open Access (OA) movement. In continuous ascension toward critical mass, in the contest against unfair journal publication practices, OA could have, and still “can move faster” (The right to research coalition 2016 p. 5) – economic considerations being one of the most impeding factors.

Aiming to unchain university outputs from the throttling commercial practices of  journal business models, much investment has been poured into research establishments, subsequently giving rise to mechanisms for accountability of the quality and effect of publicly funded research output in the UK.

When the initial institutionalised exercise to inform funders on the quality and effect of research output in the UK society and industry as such, When HEFCE1 replaced the Thatcher-era periodic Research Assessment Exercises (RAE) with the new Research Excellence Framework (REF), the original mechanism to evidence the ‘value for money’ for the public funds was also reinforced with an intentionally less elaborate assessment of the impact of the supported research in the community at large.

Given the unprecedented crescendo of the role of open access to research materials in over 15 years since the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI), one of the most prominent trends in the scholarly communication landscape is the proliferation of institutional repositories as a vehicle for disseminating research output freely and openly, in parallel to the traditional avenue of journal publishing, which industry has also largely embraced the practice of OA.

 The latest UK regulation in vigour is the REF3 2021 open access policy which, aligned with European regulations, requires that articles accepted for publication must be deposited in OA institutional repositories. The level to which HEIs comply with this regulation will be rewarded in both funding and prestige by ranking level. Robert Gordon University has issued a mandate shortly post REF 2014, requiring deposition into the IR - a policy which is gaining momentum in 2018, in preparation for the next review. 

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