Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Unanimous OA recommendations from the European University Association

On January 25, the European University Association (EUA) unanimously adopted the recommendations of its Working Group on Open Access.  (Thanks to Bernard Rentier via Stevan Harnad.)  Excerpt:

...The WG [Working Group] recommendations (below) are based upon the following core premises: the university's role and responsibility as guardian of research knowledge as a 'public good'; the results of publicly-funded research should be publicly-available as soon as possible; and quality assurance peer review processes are pre-conditions for scholarly publishing and therefore are essential to be maintained in the digital publishing mode.

It is important to emphasise that the scope of the WG recommendations cover as a priority the need for the enhancement of open access to peer-reviewed published research literature only, and not scientific research data, teaching materials etc. Issues of access to research data, its archiving and preservation need further attention from universities, funding agencies and scientific professional bodies, and are subject to several initiatives at the national and European level which are not addressed here (e.g. the Alliance for Permanent Access and European Digital Information Infrastructure).

A. Recommendations for University Leadership

1. Universities should develop institutional policies and strategies that foster the availability of their quality controlled research results for the broadest possible range of users, maximising their visibility, accessibility and scientific impact.

2. The basic approach for achieving this should be the creation of an institutional repository.  These repositories should be established and managed according to current best practices (following recommendations and guidelines from DRIVER and similar projects) complying with the OAI-PMH protocol and allowing inter-operability and future networking for wider usage.

3. University institutional policies should require that their researchers deposit (self-archive) their scientific publications in their institutional repository upon acceptance for publication. Permissible embargoes should apply only to the date of open access provision and not the date of deposit....

4. University policies should include copyright in the institutional intellectual property rights (IPR) management. It should be the responsibility of the university to inform their faculty researchers about IPR and copyright management in order to ensure the wider sharing and re-use of the digital research content they have produced. This should include a clear policy on ownership and management of copyright covering scholarly publications and define procedures for ensuring that the institution has the right to use the material produced by its staff for further research, educational and instructional purposes.

5. University institutional policies should explore also how own resources could be found for author fees if 'author pays model' of open access publishing prevails in the future in some scientific fields/domains.

B. Recommendations for National Rectors' Conferences

1. All National Rectors' Conferences should work with national research funding agencies and governments in their countries to implement the requirement for self-archiving of research publications in institutional repositories and other appropriate open access repositories according to best practice models of the ERC and existing national research funding agencies operating open access mandates. National Rectors' Conferences should encourage government to work within the framework of the Council of the European Union Conclusions on Scientific Information in the Digital Age: Access, Dissemination and Preservation" adopted at the EU Competitiveness Council meeting on 22nd-23rd November 2007.

2. National Rectors' Conferences should attach high priority to raising the awareness of university leadership to the importance of open access policies in terms of enhanced visibility, access and impact of their research results.

C. Recommendations for the European University Association

1. EUA should continue to contribute actively to the policy dialogue on Open Access at the European level with a view to a self-archiving mandate for all research results arising from EU research programme/project funding, hence in support of and building upon the ERC position and other international initiatives such as that of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH)....


  • These are the strongest OA recommendations for universities I've seen to date.  Kudos especially to Lesley Wilson, Secretary General of the EUA, and Sijbolt Noorda, chair of the Working Group on Open Access.
  • Here's a digest of the most important of the recommendations.  European universities should...
  1. launch OAI-compliant institutional repositories (A2)
  2. adopt OA mandates for their research output (A3)
  3. educate faculty about copyright and encourage the removal of permission barriers at least for users in the author's institution (A4)
  4. consider paying publication fees for faculty who publish in fee-based OA journals (A5)
  5. work with public funding agencies with OA mandates to encourage deposit in institutional repositories (B1)
  6. educate university rectors about the importance of OA (B2)
  7. support OA mandates for publicly-funded research in the EU (C1)
  • The EUA represents 791 universities in 46 countries throughout Europe.  These unanimous recommendations should carry great weight with this wide range of institutions.
  • The recommendations are not EU-specific and should also carry weight with universities and university associations worldwide.  While many university associations have already made public statements in support of OA, I hope they will take note of these strong recommendations, and the strong support for them, and use this opportunity to tighten and reiterate their own support for OA and their own specific recommendations to members.
  • Note how the EUA recommendations dovetail with the recent signs that rectors and provosts are organizing (in South America, Europe, Finland, Germany, Portugal, Switzerland, and the US) to promote OA mandates at universities and public funding agencies.