European scientific information – too late on open access?

By EDRi · December 5, 2007

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

The recent meeting on 22-24 November 2007 of the Competitiveness European
Council meeting adopted its conclusions on scientific information in the
digital age: access, dissemination and preservation.

The conclusions underline the importance of scientific output resulting from
publicly funded research being available on the Internet at no cost to the
reader under economically viable circumstances, including delayed open
access. They also ask the member countries “to systematically assess
conditions that affect access to scientific information”, including:
a.The way in which researchers exercise their copyright on scientific
b.The level of investments in the dissemination of scientific
information as compared to total investments in research, and
c. The use of financial mechanisms to improve access, such as refunding
VAT for digital journal subscriptions to libraries.

But the Slovenian Minister for Growth, Ziga Tur, considered the conclusions
as coming too late, explaining in his blog: “The bottom line is
that in the scientific publishing process there is a decreasing value added
by the publishers. The research is funded by the governments or the
industry, performed by the researchers, papers are written and reviewed by
them for free, only at the very end a publisher comes along that takes over
the copyright, publishes the work and sells the journal at great expense to
the community that created and edited the content for free.”

He also considers that the document aims too low, in talking only about
“delayed open access” and suggesting refunding VAT that would mean “simply
subsidizing commercial publishers”.

The Slovenian Ministry suggests a much more categorical European approach to
the open access issues considering that “the explosion of the internet based
technologies in the US have been made possible by the (1) open access to
software, (2) open standards and (3) freely available scientific articles on
the subject. The cited document brings nothing like that to Europe.”

Council Conclusions on scientific information in the digital age: access,
dissemination and preservation – 2832nd Competitiveness (Internal market,
Industry and Research) Council meeting (22-23.11.2007)

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