Petition for guaranteed public access to publicly-funded research results

You may sign this petition to register your support for free and open access to European research and for the recommendations proposed in the EU's 'Study on the Economic and Technical Evolution of the Scientific Publication Markets of Europe'.

Dear Commissioner,

Our mission of disseminating knowledge is only half complete if the information is not made widely and readily available to society.
Berlin Declaration, October 2003

In January 2006 the European Commission published the Study on the Economic and Technical Evolution of the Scientific Publication Markets of Europe. The Study resulted from a detailed analysis of the current scholarly journal publication market, together with extensive consultation with all the major stakeholders within the scholarly communication process (researchers, funders, publishers, librarians, research policymakers, etc.). The Study noted that 'dissemination and access to research results is a pillar in the development of the European Research Area' and it made a number of balanced and reasonable recommendations to improve the visibility and usefulness of European research outputs.

Now, a year after publication of the Study, we urge the EC to endorse the recommendations in full. In particular, we encourage you to adopt the first recommendation as a matter of urgency:

RECOMMENDATION A1. GUARANTEE PUBLIC ACCESS TO PUBLICLY-FUNDED RESEARCH RESULTS SHORTLY AFTER PUBLICATION

Research funding agencies have a central role in determining researchers' publishing practices. Following the lead of the NIH and other institutions, they should promote and support the archiving of publications in open repositories, after a (possibly domain-specific) time period to be discussed with publishers. This archiving could become a condition for funding.

The following actions could be taken at the European level: (i) Establish a European policy mandating published articles arising from EC-funded research to be available after a given time period in open access archives, and (ii) Explore with Member States and with European research and academic associations whether and how such policies and open repositories could be implemented.

We would recommend that, in accordance with the recent recommendations from the European Research Advisory Board and the statement of the European Research Council on Open Access, any potential 'embargo' on free access should be set at no more than six months following publication.

Research must be widely disseminated and read to be useful. Adopting Recommendation A1 will immediately ensure the widest possible readership for EC-funded research, increasing the potential benefits resulting from the research, and promoting European scholarship both within Europe and beyond. Evidence is accumulating to indicate that research that is openly accessible is read more and used more and that open access to research findings would bring economic advantage across the European Research Area. The Commission has a unique opportunity to place Europe at the forefront of the dissemination of research outputs and we encourage you to adopt the Study recommendations for the benefit of European research.

28446 signatories since January 17th, 2007.

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