Best practices in the institutional implementation of the FP7 Post-Grant OA Pilot (I)

Implementing the FP7 Post-Grant Open Access Pilot at the University of Milan

Guest post by Paola Galimberti, Responsible for Open Access & Scholarly Communication at Università degli Studi di Milano

The University of Milan is a research-intensive multidisciplinary university. It’s currently the only member of LERU in Italy. The staff includes over 2000 researchers and professors and more than 1970 PhD-students and post-docs. Our researchers produce circa 8000 publications on a yearly basis – including journal articles, book chapters and monographs.

Open Access at the University of Milan is implemented via a close collaboration between the Research Office and the OA Office. Together we developed an internal procedure to streamline and enact a strong and efficient communication strategy addressed to our researchers on OA initiatives such as the FP7 Post-Grant OA Pilot and other EC initiatives.

FP7_Post-Grant_OA

In June 2015 an email was sent out to every Principal Investigator at the institution to inform them about this FP7 post-grant funding initiative.

We also generated a template letter addressed specifically to the PIs of the eligible FP7 projects. These were identified by filtering all the FP7 projects and project end-dates recorded in our research information system. We have automated the mailing of this letter: as soon as the FP7 project ends, a message is sent out to the PI reminding him/her of the post-grant funding initiative and providing them all the information they may need to apply for APC funding. We also invite the PI to contact our helpdesk if they encounter problems in any step of the application or need any clarification.

So far researchers have mostly managed the funding request on their own and haven’t required our assistance. Only in two or three cases they contacted the helpdesk and we supported them to solve the issue.

The University of Milan provided an insight on its dissemination workflows at the national webinar on the FP7 Post-Grant Open Access Pilot organized last March by CINECA, the Italian NOAD for OpenAIRE.

Now, as the FP7 Post-Grant OA Pilot starts to implement the pre-payment agreements with publishers, we are considering an additional dissemination strategy to make the process of receiving funding easier to our researchers: if they send us the manuscript ID and the submission date for their FP7 post-grant manuscript submitted to one of the eligible 385 fully Open Access journal titles under these agreements, we will make sure the APC fee for these papers is directly funded by the Pilot upon manuscript acceptance (we assume the manuscript will get accepted) without even requiring an invoice.

Summarizing, the first email sent in June 2015 proved insufficient for an efficient dissemination of this funding opportunity, so a customized dissemination was designed to remind the potential beneficiaries about it when their projects reach their end-date. This approach has resulted to be quite successful so far, see figures below, and will hopefully get even better as the pre-paid fees start to be used.

The results so far

The Università degli Studi di Milano is one of the most successful institutions so far in the implementation of the FP7 Post-Grant Open Access Pilot. Ten funding requests for journal articles have been granted to researchers affiliated with Unimi in the first year of the initiative, for a total funding of €10,955. This yields an average APC fee of nearly €1,1000, which is well below the global average for the initiative.

Four of these ten papers have been published with MDPI journals. The three eligible post-grant publications for two FP7 projects, WELFARE INDICATORS-266213 and PlantLIBRA-245199, have been submitted from the University. The APC fee for the most recently received funding request, for a PlantLIBRA manuscript accepted at BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, has been directly charged to the pre-paid fund with BioMed Central. No funding requests for books have been received so far.

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