The European University Association recommendations on Open Access
The European University Association (EUA), headquartered in Brussels, has over 800 members in 46 countries. In January 2007 it established a Working Group on Open Access, under the chairmanship of Professor Sijbolt Noorda, to convene for a year and provide expert opinion and a voice for European universities as stakeholders in the public debate about Open Access. The pressure to do this came from member universities that wanted the EUA to work for Open Access at a European level in Brussels.
The Working Group developed a set of recommendations regarding the peer-reviewed published research literature (see below), based on the following core premises: the university’s role and responsibility as guardian of research knowledge as a ‘public good’; the results of publicly-funded research should be publicly-available as soon as possible; and quality assurance peer review processes are preconditions for scholarly publishing and therefore essential to be maintained in the digital publishing mode.
Recommendations for university leadership
Universities should develop institutional policies and strategies that foster the availability of their quality-controlled research results (in the form of research papers and other outputs) for the broadest possible range of users, maximising their visibility, accessibility and scientific impact.
The basic approach for achieving this should be the creation of an institutional repository or participation in a shared repository. These repositories should be established and managed according to current best practices (following recommendations from DRIVER and similar projects), complying with the OAI-PMH protocol and allowing interoperability and future networking for wider usage.
University institutional policies should require that their researchers deposit (self-archive) their scientific publications in their institutional repository upon acceptance for publication. Permissible embargoes should apply only to the date of open access provision and not the date of deposit. Such policies would be in compliance with evolving policies of research funding agencies at the national and European level such as the ERC.
University policies should include copyright in the institutional intellectual property rights (IPR) management. It should be the responsibility of the university to inform their faculty researchers about IPR and copyright management in order to ensure the wider sharing and re-use of the digital research content they have produced. This should include a clear policy on ownership and management of copyright covering scholarly publications and define procedures for ensuring that the institution has the right to use the material produced by its staff for further research, educational and institutional purposes.
University institutional policies should explore also how resources could be found and made available to researchers for author fees to support the emerging ‘author pays model’ of open access.
Recommendations for National Rectors’ Conferences
All National Rectors’ Conferences should work with national research funding agencies and governments in their countries to implement the requirement for self-archiving of research publications in institutional repositories and other appropriate open access repositories according to best practice models of the ERC and existing national research funding agencies operating open access mandates. National Rectors’ Conferences should encourage governments to work within the framework of the ‘Council of the European Union Conclusions on Scientific Information in the Digital Age: Access, Dissemination and Preservation’ adopted at the EU Competitiveness Council meeting on 22nd/23rd November 2007.
National Rectors’ Conferences should attach high priority to raising the awareness of university leadership to the importance of open access policies in terms of enhanced visibility, access and impact of their research results.
Recommendations for the European University Association
EUA should continue to contribute actively to the policy dialogue on Open Access at the European level with a view to a self-archiving mandate for all research results arising from EU research programme/project funding, hence in support of and building upon the ERC position and other international initiatives such as that of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).
EUA should continue to be visible and to rally expertise from Europe’s universities on Open Access issues to provide input to European and International events advancing open access to scientific publications, research data and their preservation.