Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Friday, January 25, 2008

Text of the OA mandate from the ISS

Institute's compliance to open access principles, a press release from the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (National Institute of Health, or ISS), January 17, 2008.  (Thanks to Paola de Castro.)  Excerpt:

Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS, the Italian National Institute of Health) encourages communication and exchange of the research results from our institutional activities, to increase their visibility and impact in the whole scientific community and to enable the development of new standards for research evaluation. This intent is achieved by compliance with the principles of open access to research literature and through the most advanced techniques of registration and dissemination of digital data....

Open access to the research literature can be achieved in two complementary ways: 1) publication in OA journals, and 2) archiving of publications in digital repositories compliant with the OAI-PMH specifications....

In compliance with OA principles, the ISS has created an online digital repository [DSpace.ISS] which functions as the institutional archive for its publications, guaranteeing open access and long term preservation of research results.

DSpace.ISS contains all the scientific works produced by the research staff of ISS (authorised for publication following an internal procedure) published at a national and international level. The data contained in the repository are bibliographic data (metadata) of the publications, along with full texts.

The ISS policy applies only to peer-reviewed articles, but sometimes researchers may wish to include non-peer-reviewed material in DSpace.ISS too. The peer-reviewed status of each article deposited is clearly shown and it is possible to search DSpace.ISS only for peer-reviewed material if desired....

All scientific works produced by ISS staff must be transmitted in electronic format (author's final copy, after peer-review: "post-print") to the Publishing Activities Unit of ISS, at the moment of acceptance for publication. This Unit will immediately make them available on the ISS Intranet. The metadata will also be made available on the Internet, via DSpace.ISS and, after the publisher embargo period has expired, the full texts will be made available too. During the embargo period, individual works can be requested from their authors through an automated function of DSpace....


  • I like the way this policy mandates deposit at the time of acceptance, and supports immediate release of metadata, limiting the effect of embargoes to the release of full-text.  (I call this the dual deposit/release strategy and Stevan Harnad calls it the  immediate deposit / optional access strategy.)  I also like the way ISS supports the "request eprint" button during the embargo period, which I believe makes it the first funding agency to do so.  ISS could have stipulated its own upper limit for the embargo period, instead of deferring to publisher policies, and perhaps will do so at a future policy review. 
  • The policy only applies to ISS research staff.  I don't know whether ISS funds extramural research and therefore whether there are ISS grantees who do not count as staff.  If I find out, I'll update this post.
  • I blogged the policy on Wednesday, but at the time didn't have access to the text in Italian or English.  

Update. I have just confirmed with ISS that, while it does have some external grantees, the current policy only applies to ISS staff researchers.