Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, February 15, 2007

20,000+ signatures for OA presented to the EC

Worldwide petition on open access delivered to European Commission, a press release from JISC, February 15, 2007.  Excerpt:

More than 20,000 call for public access to publicly funded research

A petition calling on the European Commission to adopt polices to guarantee free public access to research results was delivered today to Janez Potocnik, EU Commissioner for Science and Research. Nobel laureates Peter Agre, Martinus Veltman, and Harold Varmus...are among the more than 20,000 concerned researchers, senior academics, lecturers, librarians, and citizens from across Europe and around the world who have signed the petition.    

Organisations too are lending their support, with the most senior representatives from nearly 750 education, research and cultural organisations from around the world adding their weight to the petition, including research funders (e.g., the European Research Council, German Research Council, Swedish Research Council, UK's Medical Research Council, and the Wellcome Trust), research organizations (e.g., CERN, CNRS, and the Max Planck Society), and national academies (e.g., Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Royal Netherlands Academy for Arts & Sciences (KNAW), and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences).

The petition calls on the EC to formally endorse the recommendations outlined in the EC-commissioned Study on the Economic and Technical Evolution of the Scientific Publication Markets of Europe.  Published in early 2006, the study made a number of important recommendations to help ensure the widest possible readership for scholarly articles. In particular, the first recommendation called for 'Guaranteed public access to publicly-funded research results shortly after publication'....

The petition was initiated to demonstrate the overwhelming public support for the EC to accept the recommendations of the EC-Study and implement a policy of public access to publicly-funded European research.

'Open access to the published scientific literature is one of the most desirable goals of our current scientific enterprise. How can we do cutting edge research if we don't know where the cutting edge is?'  Richard J Roberts, Nobel Prize winner for Physiology or Medicine in 1993 and petition signatory.

JISC Executive Secretary Dr Malcolm Read, said: 'Maximising public investment in European research and making more widely available its outputs are key priorities for the European Union as it seeks to enhance the global standing of European research and compete in a global market. JISC is proud to be sponsoring a petition which seeks these vital goals and which has already attracted such widespread support.' ...

The petition is sponsored by JISC, the SURF Foundation (Netherlands), SPARC Europe, DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Germany), DEFF (Danmarks Elektroniske Fag- og Forskningsbibliotek, Denmark).

PS:  The short-term goal of this petition was to generate a large number of signatures for today's presentation.  But the campaign is not over until the EC adopts a strong EU-wide OA policy.  Hence, the petition is still open for signatures.  If you haven't already signed, please  do so and spread the word.  If you have already signed, thank you.  When I just checked, the signature tally was up to 21,143.