Open-access proposal for the a2k treaty (fwd)

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Sun, 23 Jan 2005 22:17:18 +0000

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 23 Jan 2005 17:02:52 -0500
From: Peter Suber <>


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
<>. 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
Received on Sun Jan 23 2005 - 22:17:18 GMT

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