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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Stevan Harnad's impressions of the Brussels meeting

Stevan Harnad, Impressions from Brussels EC Meeting, Open Access Archivangelism, February 17, 2007.  Excerpt;

My impressions of the Brussels EC Meeting:

  1. The petition demonstrating the very broad-based support for the proposed EC OA Self-Archiving mandate was presented to the EU Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potocnik. 
  2. The conference itself (which was organized before the petition) then proceeded with its programme, heavily weighted toward publishing and publishers' concerns rather than the access and impact concerns of the research community.
  3. Hence, predictably, most of the time and energy was spent on publishing finances rather than on research access and impact.
  4. Nevertheless, the overall impression (from the minority research and researcher representation at the meeting) was that the relentless focus on publishing finances was not their primary concern, Open Access was.
  5. The (rather bland) statement released at the beginning of the meeting had also been drafted before the meeting and the petition (and apparently with some involvement of the publishers, as there was evidence that they had seen it in advance).
  6. But my impression was that the EU Commissioners, Directors-General and Directors (or rather those of their delegates who were in attendance) were favorable to OA, and that concrete developments can be expected as a result of the conference and the petition.
Researcher and industrial support for OA and OA Self-Archiving Mandates will now be very vigorously consolidated.

PS I think a bit of a storm is now brewing in the physics community over the CERN initiative to promote an immediate transition to Gold OA publishing in particle physics. The concern is that this will divert scarce funds from research. I think the concern is warranted....