Open access in Lithuania

Impact and achievements of EIFL’s support for open access in Lithuania

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EIFL support for open access (OA) has resulted in the launch of an OA publishing platform for all Lithuanian journals, an accredited online open science course for PhD students,  the creation of OA repositories, and adoption of OA policies that are improving the visibility of Lithuanian research.

BACKGROUND

On 30 April 2009, the law on Higher Education and Research stipulated that the results of all research carried out in state higher education and research institutions must be communicated to the public.

This was a big step forward for OA. However, there was no coherent national or institutional OA policy in Lithuania, and awareness about OA and how OA benefits research was limited.

In 2011, a survey of the Association of Lithuanian Serials (an umbrella organization for Lithuanian research journals) showed that the majority of Lithuanian research journals were uploaded to journal websites, but discoverability and visibility of Lithuanian research remained limited.

From 2011 to 2013 EIFL funded three projects to raise awareness about OA in Lithuania and to demonstrate its benefits to stakeholders, including young researchers; to improve journal publishing practices, and to take forward discussion of national and institutional OA policies. The three projects were:

  • ‘Promoting OA in Lithuania’, a project implemented by the Lithuanian Research Library Consortium (the case study is available here);
  • ‘Promoting OA through implementation of the Open Journal Systems (OJS) in Lithuanian research journals’, a project implemented by the Association of Lithuanian Serials and the Lithuanian Research Library Consortium (the case study is available here); and
  • ‘Promoting OA to young researchers’, a project implemented by the Lithuanian Society of Young Researchers, the Lithuanian Research Library Consortium, and the Association of Lithuanian Serials (the case study is available here).

Since then, EIFL has continued to support OA  in Lithuania through three European Commission-funded projects: PASTEUR4OA (Open Access Policy Alignment Strategies for European Union Research) from 2014 - 2016; FOSTER (Facilitating Open Science Training for European Research) from 2014 - 2019, and OpenAIRE (Open Access Infrastructure for Research in Europe) from 2009 - 2020.

As a result of EIFL support and the three European Commission-funded projects, OA in Lithuania has been fully embraced. In 2016 the Research Council of Lithuania adopted Guidelines for Open Access to Research Results.  The Guidelines encourage other research performing institutions in the country to adopt similar OA and open research data policies. The Electronic Academic Library of Lithuania (eLABa) serves as  the national OA repository of the Ministry of Education and Science and all academic institutions.

To encourage early career researchers to practise open access, open data and open science, Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) developed an accredited online Research Data Management course for PhD students. EIFL provided a small grant for development of the course in 2017.

MAIN ACTIVITIES

  • Hosting meetings, seminars, workshops and conferences to raise awareness about open access, open data, open science and altmetrics;
  • A survey of administrators of research and educational institutions to collect their opinions about introducing OA policies and practices in their institutions;
  • Providing advice on institutional OA policies and mandates;
  • A survey of current OA policies and practices among the publishers of Lithuanian research journals (editorial boards, publishing houses, research managers and reviewers);
  • Conducting video interviews with prominent scientists, publishers, policy makers, administrators of research and educational institutions on OA benefits, policies and practices, and using videos to promote OA;
  • Sharing experiences and best practices in OA publishing and developing recommendations for journal editors and publishers on how to implement Open Journal Systems in Lithuanian academic and research institutions;
  • Developing online courses in open science for PhD students.

TIMELINE

  • 2011 - ongoing

ACHIEVEMENTS

  • Increased awareness of the Lithuanian research community and policy-makers about the benefits of OA, open data and open science;
  • Introduced  the free and open source publishing software Open Journal Systems (OJS) to Lithuanian publishers.
    • For example, Kaunas University of Technology, that owns 11 journals, had just one OJS installation before the project started; during the project period, all eleven journals started using OJS.
    • OJS has streamlined journal editing and publishing processes, - for example, after OJS installation, the journal ‘Sveikatos mokslai’ (in English, Health Sciences) was able to increase the frequency of publication from four to six issues a year.
  • Improved online visibility and accessibility of Lithuanian research journals. By the end of the project in 2011, 35 journals from research institutes had moved to the OJS publishing platform and all had  been registered in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). Digital Object Identifier (DOI) and Cited By (by crossref.org) have been added to the OJS installations in the Lithuanian and English languages, as well as plagiarism detection tools (CrossCheck) (by crossref.org and iThenticate).
  • A national OA Working Group was created to implement the recommendations that resulted from the three EIFL-funded projects on OA for funding agencies and research institutions. The Working Group includes representatives of the Lithuanian Science Academy, the Lithuanian Research Library Consortium, the Lithuanian Society of Young Researchers, the universities, and the government agencies, the Research Council of Lithuania, the Research and Higher Education Monitoring and Analysis centre (MOSTA), Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology (MITA).
  • The Research Council of Lithuania adopted Guidelines for Open Access to Research Results.  
  • More institutions adopted OA policies and mandates: among them Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Mykolas Romeris University, Vytautas Magnus University,  Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences,  Vilnius Gediminas Technical University and Kaunas University of Technology.
  • Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) developed an accredited online course on Research Data Management for PhD students. The KTU Research Data Management module (six ECTS credits, European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) was approved in June 2017 by the Committee of the Joint Doctoral Programme in Educational Science. The course will start in September 2018 as an optional course for all 18 KTU PhD programmes.

READ MORE ABOUT THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION-SUPPORTED PROJECTS

  • The FOSTER project, which supports stakeholders, especially young researchers, in practising OA, open data sharing and open science. EIFL leads the training programme.

OpenAIRE, which implements the Horizon 2020 OA mandate for publications and its Open Research Data Pilot. EIFL and  Kaunas University of Technology are among 50 partners collaborating on this large-scale initiative that aims to promote open scholarship and improve the discoverability and reusability of research publications and data.