Support for immediate access to articles: OpenAIRE and others issue statement

A number of organisations committed to open access, including OpenAIRE, recently endorsed the overarching  need for immediate access to research articles in an online statement. This was initiated by the Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR), and one of the outcomes of the recent Aligning Repository Networks Meeting.

The Statement

As organizations committed to the principle that access to information advances discovery, accelerates innovation and improves education, we endorse the policies and practices that enable Open Access - immediate, barrier free access to and reuse of scholarly articles.

Policies that promote Open Access are increasingly being adopted worldwide by research funders, academic institutions and national governments in order to improve the use and value of scholarly research. We fully support such policies and the dual avenues for implementing them: open access repositories and open access journals. These policies play an important role in creating an environment where our collective investments in research can be maximized for the benefit of the public, and for society at large.

Many policies have employed the use of embargo periods - delayed access to research articles for a short period of time to help protect publishers' subscription revenue as they shift to new business models. We consider the use of embargo periods as an acceptable transitional mechanism to help facilitate a wholesale shift towards Open Access. However, embargo periods dilute the benefits of open access policies and we believe that, if they are adopted, they should be no more than 6 months for the life and physical sciences, 12 months for social sciences and humanities. We further believe that mechanisms for reducing - or eliminating - embargo periods should be included in any Open Access policy.

Any delay in the open availability of research articles curtails scientific progress and stifles innovation, and places unnecessary constraints in delivering the benefits of research back to the public.

Signatories

  • COAR: Confederation of Open Access Repositories
  • EIFL: Electronic Information for Libraries
  • LIBER: Ligue des Bibliothèques EuropĂ©ennes de Recherche - Association of European Research Libraries
  • National Science Library, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • OpenAIRE: Open Access Infrastructure for Research in Europe
  • SPARC: Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition

For more information contact Kathleen Shearer, Executive Director, COAR

Lock image courtesy of Brenda Clarke in Flickr.

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