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Apr 30, 2024

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OpenAIRE Signs Barcelona Declaration: A Catalyst for Change in Open Research Information

Apr 30, 2024

The Announcement:

On April 16, the Barcelona Declaration on Open Research Information was officially announced. Signed by OpenAIRE, along with over 45 research performing and funding organisations and 15 data, service, and infrastructure providers, the Declaration signifies a formal commitment to actively supporting the open circulation of open research information. This includes embracing best practices for knowledge creation and dissemination, free from restrictions on data usage.

As signatories from this first phase, we are devoted to shaping a future where research is accessible to all! Through this collective effort, we aim to advance the establishment of a sustainable and community-driven research ecosystem globally. 

About The Barcelona Declaration:

The Barcelona Declaration is a collective effort led by Bianca Kramer (Sesame Open Science), Cameron Neylon (Curtin Open Knowledge Initiative, Curtin University), and Ludo Waltman (Centre for Science and Technology Studies, Leiden University). These architects crafted an irreplaceable team of over 25 research information experts and representatives from more than 45 organisations involved in conducting, funding, and evaluating research, as well as those providing research information infrastructures.

The signatories of the Barcelona Declaration commit to leading the transformation of how research information is used and produced. Openness must become the new norm, enabling transparent evidence-based science policy decisions, accessible research evaluations, and supporting the global movement toward Open Science.


The Commitments:

  • Make openness the default for the research information we use and produce.
  • Collaborate with services and systems that support open research information.
  • Support the sustainability of infrastructures for open research information.
  • Promote collective action to accelerate the transition to open research information.


                    BarcelonaDeclaration WeSigned3


Why the Need?

Unrestricted access to research information is crucial for every step and every actor throughout the research lifecycle. However, much of this information is locked within proprietary infrastructures, leading to a lack of transparency and closed, uninformed decision-making processes. The Barcelona Declaration aims to address these issues by promoting open research information to help both advance scientific knowledge and policy- and decision-makers to make better informed decisions.

OpenAIRE Commitment:

In 2023, after years of dedicated and collective efforts in the field of Open Science, we observed a significant change in the field of openness of research information with various scientific organisations and academic professionals dropping out of closed sources in favor of using open ones such as OpenAIRE Graph.  

Our mission has and will always be to promote open scholarship and improve discoverability, accessibility, shareability, reusability, reproducibility, and monitoring of data-driven research results, globally. We create the infrastructures/services that facilitate these processes for all actors in the research ecosystem, at the heart of which lies the OpenAIRE Graph, an open scholarly knowledge graph that provides these services with the invaluable data they need to function and thrive.


 OpenAIRE Graph logo


The OpenAIRE Graph is the European response to the need for open data, essential to further discovery, bibliometrics and monitoring, and decision-making processes. At OpenAIRE, we have a dedicated team comprised of experts from various fields working daily to build, enhance and improve the OpenAIRE Graph. The timing of the Barcelona Declaration announcement provides us with the context to speak out again, to both proclaim and promote our convictions for how to create a better future for scientific and scholarly knowledge-sharing and discovery. Values that we align with by nature.

We have spent the last ten years working on our vision of transitioning from proprietary to open databases used in research assessment, which is why we, along with the EC and our members, invested and worked hard to create the OpenAIRE Graph. An asset with global research coverage, interconnected and trustworthy data that we are proud to present as a reliable option for a global Open Research Information database. We hope that more organisations will follow suit and recognise that open research information transforms the landscape of discovery and assessment by enabling a seamless and transparent journey from idea to outcome to evaluation. And we would be delighted to work with them -Natalia Manola- CEO, OpenAIRE

Others Taking Action:

VU Amsterdam has already embarked on this journey by making the use of open alternative sources, such as  OpenAIRE, the standard in their analyses of research impact. It also aligns its practices with the objectives of the International Coalition for Advancing Research Assessment (CoARA), to which VU Amsterdam also belongs.

Sorbonne University discontinued its subscription to the Web of Science last year, switching to open bibliographic bases such as OpenAlex.  Sorbonne’s scientific and scholarly representatives state that "by signing the Declaration, we want to demonstrate that not only should the move towards open research information be an objective, but that it is achievable."  

This shift may also help address the current focus of existing databases on English-language journals. Furthermore, open information could enhance the circulation of scientific and local knowledge produced in various languages, formats, and geographic regions.

Elizabeth Gadd, head of research and innovation culture and assessment at Loughborough University,  who was involved in preparing the declaration, called it an “excellent development.” She remarked that “many organisations have made public commitments to open research practices but continue to rely on closed and commercial bibliographic data sources for research analytics.”

In addition, Declaration supporters aim to establish a Coalition for Open Research Information to plan the next steps. On this aspect, Bianca Kramer notes, “We want to make it easier for organisations to work towards this transition, among other things, by leveraging each other’s expertise and exploring collective action.”