Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Sunday, April 06, 2008

The EUA updates its OA recommendations

The European University Association (EUA) has released the latest set of Recommendations from the EUA Working Group on Open Access.  The recommendations were adopted by the EUA Council at a meeting on March 26, 2008, at the University of Barcelona.

From the EUA's announcement and condensed version of the recommendations (April 4, 2008):

Universities need to do more to develop institutional policies and strategies that increase access to their peer-reviewed research results to the widest range of users, to maximise the impact and visibility of university research.

This is one of the key recommendations published by EUA’s Working Group on Open Access, which aim to raise awareness of the importance of the open access issue within the university community, both in terms of its impact upon the research process but also its financial implications for university libraries.

EUA is recommending that universities across Europe set up an ‘institutional repository’ (or take part in a shared repository)...[and] ensure that researchers deposit their publications in the repository on acceptance of publication. Embargoes should only apply to the date of open access provision and not the date of deposit....

The working group’s recommendations are based on the core premises: the university’s role and responsibility as guardian of research knowledge as a “public good” and that the results of publicly funded research should be publicly available as soon as possible; and that quality assurance peer review processes are pre-conditions for scholarly publishing.

From the recommendations themselves:

...The Working Group recommendations seek to build upon the findings of the “Study on the Economic and Technical Evolution of Scientific Publications Markets in Europe” (European Commission, DG Research, project report, January 2006), and public statements issued by the European Research Council (ERC) and the European Research Advisory Board (EURAB) on Open Access as well as the current practices of some funding agencies such as UK Research Councils and the newly adopted policy of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States concerning open access mandates for peer-reviewed publications arising from grants....

A. Recommendations for University Leadership

  1. Universities should develop institutional policies and strategies that foster the availability of their quality-controlled research results (in the form of research papers and other outputs) 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 or participation in a shared 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 interoperability 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. Such policies would be in compliance with evolving policies of research funding agencies at the national and European level such as the ERC.
  4. ...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 reuse of the digital research content they have produced....
  5. University institutional policies should explore also how resources could be found and made available to researchers for author fees to support the emerging "author pays model" of open access.

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 governments 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).
  2. EUA should continue to be visible and to rally expertise from Europe’s universities on Open Access issues to provide input to European and International events advancing open access to scientific publications, research data and their preservation.


  • Kudos especially to Lesley Wilson, Secretary General of the EUA, and Sijbolt Noorda, chair of the Working Group on Open Access. 
  • These new recommendations update the similar OA recommendations which the EUA unanimously adopted in January 2008.  They not only build on the momentum of the January recommendations, but on the momentum from the Harvard OA mandate in February and the background movement of rector and provost activism for OA in South America, Europe, Finland, Germany, Portugal, Switzerland, and the US.  The EUA represents 791 universities in 46 countries throughout Europe, and these unanimous recommendations should carry great weight with this wide range of institutions.
  • Here's my condensation of the major recommendations.  European universities should...
  1. launch OAI-compliant institutional repositories (A2)
  2. adopt OA mandates for their research output (A3)
  3. require deposits in the IR upon acceptance for publication even if OA release is delayed by an embargo (A3)
  4. educate faculty about copyright and encourage the removal of permission barriers at least for users in the author's institution (A4)
  5. consider paying publication fees for faculty who publish in fee-based OA journals (A5)
  6. work with public funding agencies with OA mandates to encourage deposit in institutional repositories (B1)
  7. educate university rectors about the importance of OA (B2)
  8. support OA mandates for publicly-funded research in the EU (C1)