Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Friday, February 02, 2007

Statement from the EUA Working Group on OA

The European University Association's Working Group on Open Access has released a Statement on Open Access, January 26, 2007.  Here it is in its entirety:

The European University Association (EUA) has established a “Working Group on Open Access” as a European platform of expert opinion to provide both a voice for, and visibility to European universities as major stakeholders in the policy debate. Its mission is dual-fold: (i) to raise awareness of the importance of the open access issue to the wider university community, both in terms of its impact upon the research process and its financial implications for university libraries; and (ii) to develop a common strategy for the university sector on key selected issues to be presented to policy-makers.

The EUA Working Group seeks to build upon the important momentum given to the Open Access debate by the findings and recommendations of the “Study on the Economic and Technical Evolution of the Scientific Publications Markets in Europe” (European Commission, January 2006) and to support strongly the recent “ERC Scientific Council Statement on Open Access” and the EURAB Report on “Scientific Publication: Policy on Open Access” (both published December 2006).

Five groups of “priority issues” have been identified by the EUA Working Group on Open Access as the foci of its work. In forwarding these issues, the EUA Working Group will work with and build upon the basis of available expert opinion and good practices (rather than develop new home grown products).

  1. Universities’ public role and responsibility as “guardians” of research knowledge/results as “public goods” – the preparation of statements and positions addressed to academic authors, and to public funding bodies.
  2. The need for well-functioning open access repositories and networking between them (on the basis of common standards) for archiving purposes as a viable alternative to other modes of publication in the digital world.
  3. Strengthening of legal rights position (non-exclusive copyright) and related legal requirements through the promotion, advancement or encouragement of model copyright agreements at university/ institutional as well as individual researcher level.
  4. The promotion, advancement or encouragement of business models for publishing based upon open access principles.
  5. The promotion, advancement or encouragement of peer review and quality control mechanisms by academic researchers for open access journals.

The EUA Working Group on Open Access aims to rally expert opinion to develop “University Stakeholder Perspective” on these issues in European policy forums in 2007.

Also see the interview with Sijbolt Noorda that the EUA released yesterday.  Noorda is the chairperson the EUA Working Group Open Access as well as the chairperson of the VSNU.  Excerpt:

What is the open access debate about, and why is it important?

The digital world has changed the possibilities for publication, and made all information faster and easier to share. Scientific research should be able to benefit from this progress, and research results should be available to the wider public. Yet, unfortunately the publishing companies have so far not adapted and responded adequately to these needs.

What are the policy implications of this debate?

There needs to be a fairer balance between the interests of the academic community and the market interests of the publishers. Publishers have moved to the digital mode without lowering their prices or their access regulations. It is important to take action now to build on findings and recommendations on this topic that were published recently by the European Commission, the European Research Council and the European Research Advisory Board. This is a debate where EUA’s voice, representing so many universities across Europe, must be heard.

What are the main priorities for the EUA Working Group on Open Access?

Firstly, to ensure that universities are able to fulfil their public responsibility as guardians of research knowledge and results, and to provide public access to research results. A second priority is the great need for sharing practice on self-archiving and making better use of the tools of the digital world....


  1. Note that by supporting the recommendations of the EC report, the ERC statement, and the EURAB  proposal, the Working Group is supporting a Europe-wide OA mandate.  Kudos to Sijbolt Noorda and the other members of the group.  I hope the larger EUA will soon endorse the Working Group's statement and start persuading the EUA's member institutions to support EU-wide action and adopt their own local, institution-wide OA policies.
  2. I don't think the EUA Working Group on OA has its own web site yet.  But I'll blog one when I find one..