Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Belgian officials endorse OA

Next week, 13 senior officials in Belgian research and education will sign the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge.  From today's announcement:

On Tuesday 13 February 2007 a national conference for Open Access to Belgian research will be held at the Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences in Brussels in the context of DRIVER, a European project for the advancement of open access to scientific research. On that occasion the Berlin declaration will be ratified by the signature of ten Belgian university rectors, the president of the Flemish Council of Schools of HE and the two regional Ministers of Science (Minister Fientje Moerman and Minister Marie-Dominique Simonet).

Apart from the signing ceremony of this Declaration, scientists from different disciplines will give a talk on the advantages of Open Access for their field of expertise. In short, the Belgian scientific world rallies around the same principle, which benefits the international renown/reputation of Belgian research. It is a clear signal to the researchers that their administrations and authorities support them in the transgression to the new paradigm and shows Belgium as a unified country, ready to take on a strong position in the global knowledge economy.

The names of the Berlin Declaration signatories are:


  • Minister Fientje Moerman, Vice-President of the Flemish Government, Minister of Economy, Enterprise, Innovation, Science and Foreign Trade for the Flemish Government
  • Minister Marie-Dominique Simonet, Vice-President of the French Community, Minister of Higher Education, Scientific Research and International Relations for the French Community, Minister of Research and New Technology and Foreign Affairs for the Walloon Region


  • Prof. P. Van Cauwenberge, Universiteit Gent (UGent)
  • Prof. B. Van Camp, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)
  • Prof. P. Vincke, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB)
  • Prof. M. Scheuer, Facultés Universitaires Notre-Dame de la Paix Namur (FUNDP)
  • Prof. Dr. L. De Schepper, Universiteit Hasselt (UHasselt)
  • Prof. B. Rentier, Université de Liège (ULiège)
  • Prof. M. Vervenne, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KULeuven)
  • Prof. F. Van Loon, Universiteit Antwerpen (UA)
  • Prof. C. Delporte, Faculté Universitaire Catholiques de Mons (FUCaM)
  • Prof. A. Thewis, Faculté Universitaire des Sciences Agronomiques de Gembloux (FSAGx)
  • Prof. S. Boucher,  Faculté Polytechnique de Mons (FPMs)
  • Prof. B. Coulie, Université Catholique de Louvain (rector UCL)


  • Prof. B. Hoogewijs, President of the Flemish Council of Schools of Higher Education (VLHORA)

Comment.  This is a spectacular display of national support for OA.  It's important for Belgium and OA.  But its timing also makes it important for Europe:  the signing ceremony will take place in Brussels just two days before the EC-hosted conference, also in Brussels, Scientific Publishing in the European Research Area (February 15-16, 2007).