Research Consulting was commissioned by DFID to undertake this review of its Research Open and Enhanced Access Policy. The review comes at a time of rapid development in the open access (OA) and open research data (ORD) landscapes, and it aims to put DFID at the forefront of the international effort to promote openness and equity in research.
The first phase of the review comprised an assessment of the performance of DFID’s current policy. It showed that DFID has made significant progress towards increasing access to its research outputs in recent years. The policy has a broader scope than those of other development funders, most of DFID’s published outputs are free to read online, and the majority of academic articles are made open access immediately upon publication.
However, the review also showed that there is a strong case for improving systems and processes underpinning research discoverability and accessibility. For instance, much of DFID’s research is not made available on Research for Development (R4D) on a timely basis, very little research data is openly accessible, publication costs are not supported beyond the lifetime of a project, and there is no comprehensive process to monitor policy compliance. DFID’s existing policy falls short of current international best practice.
Building on this analysis, in the second phase of the study we identified forty one opportunities to improve the effectiveness of DFID’s open access policy and bring it into line with recent developments in the field. The opportunities for improvement have been grouped around five themes; they have then been assessed using a cost-benefit analysis that takes into account DFID’s need to prioritise actions on the face of limited resources. From this analysis, a subset of key recommendations has emerged that will help DFID set priorities for action.