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Open-access proposal for the a2k treaty (fwd)

Stevan Harnad harnad at ecs.soton.ac.uk
Sun Jan 23 17:17:18 EST 2005

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 23 Jan 2005 17:02:52 -0500
From: Peter Suber <peters at earlham.edu>
To: a2k at lists.essential.org, SPARC-OAForum at arl.org, boai-forum at ecs.soton.ac.uk


I propose the following provisions for the Access to Knowledge 
Treaty.  Their purpose is to promote open access to scientific and 
scholarly research literature.

* Signatory nations should put an open-access condition on publicly-funded 
research grants.  By accepting a grant, the grantee agrees to provide open 
access (OA) to any publications that result from the funded research.

The funding agency should give the grantee a choice of methods for 
providing OA to the resulting publications.  Grantees should be able to 
choose between OA journals and OA archives (also called OA 
repositories).  The OA archives should meet certain conditions of 
accessibility, interoperability, and long-term preservation.  The 
interoperability condition could be satisfied by complying with the 
metadata harvesting protocol of the Open Archives Initiative 
<http://www.openarchives.org/>.  Qualifying archives need not be hosted by 
the government; they could, for example, be hosted and maintained by 

If the grantee chooses to publish in an OA journal that charges an upfront 
processing fee on accepted articles, then the funding agency will agree to 
pay the fee.

The OA condition on research grants could make reasonable exceptions, for 
example, for classified military research, for patentable discoveries, and 
for works that generate revenue for the author such as books.

* Signatory nations should provide funds and technical assistance for all 
universities and research centers in the country to set up and maintain 
their own OA repositories.  One condition of government assistance should 
be that the institution adopt a policy to encourage or require its 
researchers to deposit their research output in the repository.  Again, the 
policy could recognize reasonable exceptions.

* Signatory nations should provide funds and technical assistance for 
digitizing and providing open access to the nation's cultural heritage.

* Signatory nations should sign the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to 
Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities.

I may suggest other recommendations in the coming weeks.


For further reading, see the following:

Open Access Overview
(An introduction to OA for those who are new to the concept.)

Timeline of Open Access
(A brief history to show what has been done in this area and to answer 
objections that OA is new, untried, or radical.)

Scientific Publications:  Free for All?
(The exemplary July 2004 report of the UK House of Commons Science and 
Technology Committee; all nations signing the a2k treaty should consider 
the 82 recommendations in this report; by contrast, these nations should 
*not* follow the much-weakened policy of the US National Institutes of Health.)

      Thank you taking up this important topic,
      Peter Suber

Peter Suber
Open Access Project Director, Public Knowledge
Research Professor of Philosophy, Earlham College
Author, SPARC Open Access Newsletter
Editor, Open Access News blog
peter.suber at earlham.edu

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