Re: Berlin Declaration on Open Access

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Fri, 24 Oct 2003 02:41:30 +0100

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 23 Oct 2003 18:02:26 -0400
From: Peter Suber
To: SPARC Open Access Forum <>
Subject: Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences
    and Humanities

[Forwarding a 10/22/03 message from David Prosser, Director of SPARC
Europe, with his permission. --Peter.]

Dear All

I have just returned from Berlin where all the major German funding bodies
have signed a document in support of open access - The Berlin Declaration
The funding bodies realise that part of the research process includes
dissemination of research results and they believe that their mission is
only half fulfilled if research is not made widely and readily available to
society at large.

At this stage, the Declaration is an expression of support. However, at
the meeting which proceeded the issuing of the Declaration there was
discussion of what practical steps the funding bodies can take to change
support to action. In particular, I noted three areas where the funders
realised they must take positive steps:

1. It was noted that the procedures put in place by funding bodies to
evaluate research and researchers can influence where research is
published. One of the main actions, therefore, will be for the funding
bodies to look at adopting reward structures that take account of range of
dissemination, rather than just journal impact.

2. The power of authors self-archiving their research papers in
OAI-compliant repositories was noted. The funding bodies feel that they
should either set up their own repositories or encourage researchers to
deposit in institutional repositories. (In fact, there was some discussion
as to whether it was a right of the funding body to insist that authors
archive their papers, in the same way that many insist that authors make
data available!)

3. It was accepted that new open access journal publishing will require
new business models. For example, one model is that authors pay for
publication in an open access journal and there was an understanding that
the funding bodies would have to provide grants to cover these charges.

Peter Gruss, President of the Max Planck Society, told us that the funding
bodies see the Declaration as a beginning, not an end it itself. There are
plans for a second meeting to be help very shortly to look in detail at how
the finding bodies can actively support open access. This would include
forming policies in areas such as the three I mentioned above. I got the
strong impression that the Max Planck Society in particular is very keen to
move these issues on as quickly as possible. They already have set up a
repository and I am sure that they will soon make a commitment to cover
publication charges for open access journals.

This year we have already seen the Bethesda Statement on Open Access
and the Wellcome Trust position statement on open access publishing
both showing commitments from major funding bodies towards open access. We
must build on these statements and the Berlin Declaration by explaining to
our researchers what this means for them and the impact on their researcher
and also by lobbying other funding bodies to persuade them to follow this
lead. Obviously, this is an area in which SPARC Europe will devote time
and effort over the next year and I would be happy to have your thoughts on
specific actions that we can take in your institutions.

Best wishes

David C Prosser PhD
SPARC Europe

E-mail: <>
Tel: +44 (0) 1865 284 451
Mobile: +44 (0) 7974 673 888
Received on Fri Oct 24 2003 - 02:41:30 BST

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