Efforts to ensure open access to scientific publications are gaining support. The latest breakthrough is that all the universities in the Netherlands have now signed the Berlin Declaration. In the declaration (an initiative of the Max Planck Society), a large number of universities throughout Europe and beyond declare to make all their scholarly and scientific articles available in open access archives. The results of publicly funded research will then be available to all, free of charge, via online databases. At the moment, access to such articles is impeded by the high subscription fees for scientific periodicals. The European Commission intends experimenting with open access in the coming years. SURF was one of the first signatories of the Berlin Declaration.
According to the European Commission, the results of research financed by the European Union should be accessible to all, free of charge, after a certain period of time. Scientists submitting research proposals to the Commission are therefore invited to apply for a grant to publish the results of their research in an open access database. The Commission nevertheless favours an embargo period on free access in order to avoid antagonising publishers.
In response, SURF initiated an Internet petition in early February calling on the Commission to restrict the embargo period for research articles to six months following publication. After that six-month period, articles should be available via open access databases. Researchers may still add their names to the Internet petition, which can be found [here]. The signatures will be presented to the European Parliament in the spring.
Peter Suber at 3/01/2007 11:39:00 AM.
The open access movement:
Putting peer-reviewed scientific and scholarly literature
on the internet. Making it available free of charge and
free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.
Removing the barriers to serious research.