Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Open Access Declaration of the Portuguese University Rectors

In mid-November the Council of the Rectors of Portuguese Universities approved a declaration on open access, which they presented at the Second Open Access Conference at Minho University (Braga Portugal, November 27-28, 2006).  (Thanks to Eloy Rodrigues.)  Excerpt:

The practical realities and the economics of the diffusion of scientific knowledge and cultural heritage have been radically changed with the spread of the internet.

In view of these new realities it is becoming clearer that the university mission to disseminate knowledge will only be accomplished if the corresponding information is rapidly made available to society at large through the new paradigm of Open Access via Internet.

The debate about the access to scientific publications has intensified over the last years, in particular with respect to peer review journal's publications. This results from the recognition that the present system, by limiting the accessibility, and subsequently the use of research results, represent a major obstacle to the scientific and technological progress....

The benefits of Open Access for each researcher and author of scientific publications, can be observed, not only in a larger dissemination and impact of his/her results, as well as a better access to research carried out by other researchers in its scientific area....

As a result the Council of Rectors of the Portuguese Universities decided to adopt the following position:

  1. To state its support and adhesion to the Open Access to scientific publications principles, subscribing, through its President, the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to knowledge.
  2. To recommend all Portuguese Universities to establish by themselves or on a cooperative basis, institutional repositories where researchers may place their scientific and academic publications.
  3. To recommend all Portuguese Universities to define institutional policies calling for its members to place their scientific and academic publications in those repositories and making them available for open access whenever possible.
  4. To explore together with internationally recognised scientific journals ways to place in Institutional repositories papers authored by Portuguese researchers and published in those journals thus preserving the legitimate priority to publish in those journals. 
  5. To recommend the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education (MCTES) to enforce policies determining that publications resulting from research projects directly or indirectly funded  by the MCTES be placed at least in one Open Access repository, therefore making publicly available results from research supported by public funds (following present discussions in the USA - Federal Research Public Access Act 2006 - and the EU recommendations - Study on the Economic and Technical Evolution of the Scientific Publication Markets in Europe.
  6. To support networking and interoperability between institutional repositories of Portuguese Universities and the establishment of a single portal website for accessing national scientific publications and requesting to the relevant Government authorities and agencies the necessary financial support for this project, which is critical for the production and dissemination of knowledge, innovation and technological development.


  • This is an excellent statement, one of the few to call on both universities and public funding agencies to mandate open access.  Kudos to the rectors, and I hope we'll soon see it translated into action.
  • If there's an exception, it's point 4, whose meaning is obscure.  It did not appear in the Portuguese version but was added to the English translation by the President of the Council. 
  • When I posted a copy of the declaration to SOAF, I said that it was approved in mid-October.  But I think I erred and the correct date is in mid-November.  When I get the exact date, I'll post it here.