Research and Higher Education Policy
We provide informed advice to Government, Parliament and other organisations to advocate and promote the value of humanities and social science (HSS) research. We are committed to safeguarding the health and well-being of the HSS research base.
16 April 2013: British Academy gives evidence to House of Commons select committee inquiry into open access
Professor Chris Wickham, British Academy Vice-President, appeared in front of the House of Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Committee on Tuesday 16 April to give evidence as part of its inquiry into open access. In his evidence, Professor Wickham continued to make the case for a slower, more nuanced approach to implementing open access for research findings, and argued for a better understanding of the issues surrounding licence conditions.You can watch the committee hearing on Parliament TV here
The British Academy has offered advice to the Higher Education Funding Council for England to support it in developing the forthcoming consultation on the role of open access publishing in the submission of outputs to the post-2014 Research Excellence Framework.
The British Academy has responded to the RCUK’s call for comments on its Open Access Policy and Supporting Guidance, published earlier this month. We criticise the limited amount of time given by RCUK to offer comments on such an important policy, particularly in light of the recent report from the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee that noted the lack of previous consultation. In our response, we call on the RCUK to improve the clarity and consistency of its guidelines on embargo periods and licences to take into account the impact on the humanities and social sciences. We also urge RCUK to be clear about how the policy will be reviewed and to engage more widely with universities and subject bodies on any further changes, in order to reflect different publication practices across the full spectrum of disciplines.
13 March 2013:British Academy believes that the current structure of the research councils is effective and contributes to the UK’s highly successful track record in research
For the humanities and social sciences, there is no evidence to suggest that there would be any advantage in changing the current structure and number of research councils. At a time of fiscal constraint, it would be risky to rethink this structure when the prospective benefits of such a move are unproven and are likely to be costly in the immediate short-term.
25 February 2013: Open access implemenation should be done well, not quickly
7 February 2013: British Academy submits evidence to House of Commons Business, Innovation and Skills select committee inquiry into open access
30 January 2013: Is Excellent Better Than Best? League Tables in Higher Education
Watch the debate, featuring Professor Michael Arthur, Phil Baty, Professor Harvey Goldstein and Baroness Onora O'Neill. Chaired by Victoria Derbyshire, BBC 5Live.
18 January 2013: Academy submits evidence to House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee inquiry into the implementation of open access
The British Academy has submitted evidence to the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee to support its inquiry into the implementation of open access. We have reiterated our concern that the current policies are being implemented too quickly and without a full understanding of the likely impact on humanities and social sciences disciplines. A particular point of concern is the discrepancy between positions on embargo periods. The Finch Report and the Government both expressed the view that these needed to be considered carefully, with an embargo period of 24 months not being unreasonable. RCUK, however, has stated that the maximum embargo period would be 12 months. It is important to ensure that the policies on open access are appropriate and sustainable rather than rush into a one-size-fits-all approach.