Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris has today announced that the IReL initiative, funded by the department, is succeeding in making Irish research publications openly available.
In 2021 agreements were struck with a large number of major international academic publishers to allow publications from participating Irish higher education institutions be freely available to any citizen, student or researcher in any country.
As part of International Open Access Week, the department is pleased to announce that these transformative agreements supported by IReL have resulted in 2,813 journal articles being published open access in 2021, which accounts for 42% of the articles published annually by corresponding authors from IReL’s members. It is expected that more than 60% of articles published in 2022 will be open access under these agreements.
Speaking today, Minister Harris said:
"Open Access benefits everyone and is particularly important in helping us meet our ambition on climate change, sustainability and disease control.
"Under the agreement, any researcher, lecturer or student from an IReL member institution writing in these publishers’ journals is now offered immediate open access by default, and at no cost to the author.
"I want to acknowledge the efforts of all those involved in increasing the number of open access publications that are available, and I’m delighted that the support of my department has made this possible."
This progress aligns with Ireland’s National Framework on the Transition to an Open Research Environment, which called for all Irish scholarly publications resulting from publicly funded research to be openly available, and also aligns with recommendations from the European Commission and UNESCO.
Professor Eeva Leinonen, the Chair of IReL’s Governing Committee and President of Maynooth University, added:
"IReL has helped make Ireland an open access leader: research shows that Ireland is in the top 10 globally in making its published work immediately open access, largely driven by transformative agreements.
"This ensures that research conducted in Ireland has the greatest possible impact: making it available without barriers to the researchers, policy makers, students and citizens who need it most."
IReL is a consortium of Irish research libraries, providing access to licensed e-resources, open access publishing agreements, and open science infrastructure.
IReL currently provides these services and resources to:
Dublin City University
National University of Ireland Galway
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
Technological University Dublin
Trinity College Dublin
University College Cork
University College Dublin
University of Limerick
Following a HEA review in 2019 it was agreed to expand the IReL initiative, beginning with the inclusion of the Institutes of Technology (IoTs) and newly formed Technological Universities (TUs) from 2023.
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