The Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (IRCSET) has released a Statement of Policy Relating to: the Open Access Repository of Published Research Papers. See: IRCSET adopts an OA mandate, Peter Suber, Open Access News, May 1, 2008.
The first “key principle” in the IRCSET policy is this one:
1. This publication policy confirms the freedom of researchers to publish first wherever they feel is the most appropriate.
However, the first of the “Conditions to which IRCSET funded Award Recipients should adhere” specifies a maximum embargo of 6 months:
1. All researchers must lodge their publications resulting in whole or in part from IRCSET-funded research in an open access repository as soon as is practical, but within six calendar months at the latest.
The first condition cannot be met for some journals, so the first principle and the first condition are clearly incompatible. Might the “should adhere” (rather than “must adhere“, in the wording of the heading “Conditions to which IRCSET funded Award Recipients should adhere“) provide the necessary loophole?
It seems to me that this incompatibility will either: 1) force researchers who support the first principle to ignore (sometimes) the first condition; or, 2) require the IRCSET to (sometimes) ignore the first principle in order to enforce compliance with the first condition; or, 3) challenge the publishers of those journals that either do not permit self-archiving, or require an embargo of longer than 6 months, to decide whether or not to attempt to enforce compliance with their current policies.
How will the IRCSET policy be implemented? Should be interesting.