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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Petition for OA to publicly-funded research in Europe

A group of European institutions is petitioning the European Commission to mandate OA for EU-funded research.  Specifically, the petition calls on the Commission to adopt the recommendations of the report on scientific publishing it requested in 2005 and published in 2006.  (See my article on the report from May 2006.)  From the petition:

In January 2006 the European Commission published the Study on the Economic and Technical Evolution of the Scientific Publication Markets of Europe. The Study resulted from a detailed analysis of the current scholarly journal publication market, together with extensive consultation with all the major stakeholders within the scholarly communication process (researchers, funders, publishers, librarians, research policymakers, etc.). The Study...made a number of balanced and reasonable recommendations to improve the visibility and usefulness of European research outputs.

Now, a year after publication of the Study, we urge the EC to endorse the recommendations in full. In particular, we encourage you to adopt the first recommendation as a matter of urgency:


Research funding agencies...should promote and support the archiving of publications in open repositories, after a (possibly domain-specific) time period to be discussed with publishers. This archiving could become a condition for funding.

The following actions could be taken at the European level: (i) Establish a European policy mandating published articles arising from EC-funded research to be available after a given time period in open access archives, and (ii) Explore with Member States and with European research and academic associations whether and how such policies and open repositories could be implemented.

We would recommend that, in accordance with the recent recommendations from the European Research Advisory Board and the statement of the European Research Council on Open Access, any potential 'embargo' on free access should be set at no more than six months following publication.

Research must be widely disseminated and read to be useful. Adopting Recommendation A1 will immediately ensure the widest possible readership for EC-funded research, increasing the potential benefits resulting from the research, and promoting European scholarship both within Europe and beyond. Evidence is accumulating to indicate that research that is openly accessible is read more and used more and that open access to research findings would bring economic advantage across the European Research Area. The Commission has a unique opportunity to place Europe at the forefront of the dissemination of research outputs and we encourage you to adopt the Study recommendations for the benefit of European research.

The petition is sponsored by JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee, UK), SURF (Netherlands), SPARC Europe, DFG (Deutsches Forschungsgemeinschaft, Germany), and DEFF (Danmarks Elektroniske Fag- og Forskningsbibliotek, Denmark).

Comment.  The 2006 report not only made excellent recommendations for OA, but made the prospect of an EU-wide OA mandate suddenly realistic.  This petition can make a real difference and it's critical that we get as many signatures as possible from researchers and research institutions, worldwide but especially from Europe.  Please sign and spread the word.

Update. Also see JISC's press release on the petition.