Principles for the Transition to Open Access to Research Publications

With regard to Open Access to research publications, Science Europe Member Organisations share the view that:

• publication and dissemination of results are an integral part of the research process. The allocation of resources within the research system must take this into account;

• Open Access to the published results of publicly-funded research will have huge value for the research community and will offer signifi cant social and economic benefi ts to potential users in industry, charitable and public sectors, to individual professionals, and to the general public;

• Open Access, as defi ned in the Berlin Declaration, is not only about the right of access, but also about the opportunity to re-use information with as few restrictions as possible, subject to proper attribution;

• the common goal of Science Europe Members is to shift to a research publication system in which free access to research publications is guaranteed, and which avoids undue publication barriers. This involves a move towards Open Access, replacing the present subscription system with other publication models whilst redirecting and reorganising the current resources accordingly.

Science Europe is committed to playing a role in accomplishing the transition to Open Access as quickly as possible, in an effi cient and sustainable way, and thus avoiding unnecessary costs. This transition process must be as co-ordinated and transparent as possible.

Therefore the Science Europe Member Organisations:

• will continue to support any valid approaches to achieve Open Access, including those commonly referred to as the ‘green’ and ‘gold’ routes;

• recognise repositories and related facilities as key strategic research infrastructure which should comply with high quality standards;

• stress that research publications should either be published in an Open Access journal or be deposited as soon as possible in a repository, and made available in Open Access in all cases no later than six months following first publication. In Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, the delay may need to be longer than six months but must be no more than 12 months;

• require that as part of the publication services provided against the payment of Open Access publication fees, effective mechanisms are in place to ensure that the publication of research outputs is subject to rigorous quality assurance;

• will co-ordinate efforts to ensure the effi cient and cost effective use of public funds, and combine programmes for covering Open Access costs with budget control mechanisms and to build up monitoring systems for these costs;

• accept that it is essential that Open Access transactions need to be managed effi ciently, with the co-operation of all parties involved;

• require that funding of Open Access publication fees is part of a transparent cost structure, incorporating a clear picture of publishers’ service costs;

• expect publishers to apply institutional-, regional-, or country-based reductions in journal subscriptions, in line with increases in author- or institution-pays contributions;

• stress that the hybrid model, as currently defi ned and implemented by publishers, is not a working and viable pathway to Open Access. Any model for transition to Open Access supported by Science Europe Member Organisations must prevent ‘double dipping’ and increase cost transparency;

• recognise that some redirection and reorganisation of current budgets will be necessary. Governments should give due consideration to the fact that public funds for journal subscriptions often come from other ministries or institutions than those directly responsible for funding research; consequently, some rebalancing of budgets may be required….”