Swissinfo article: Swiss scientific organisations have agreed to allow open access

From: Michael Kurtz <kurtz_at_CFA.HARVARD.EDU>
Date: Mon, 13 Feb 2006 10:37:32 -0500

Swiss scientific organisations have agreed to allow open access to their
research information for all interested parties, free of charge.

The joint signing of the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge
in the Sciences and Humanities will help break down barriers for
accessing scientific knowledge.

The declaration, launched in 2003, is the response from the science
world to the new information-sharing opportunities offered by the
Internet, a statement from the Swiss National Science Foundation said on

The National Science Foundation, along with four other organisations, is
one of the signatories of the Berlin Declaration.

Open-access publishing allows readers to access, copy, and distribute
research papers freely, subject to proper attribution of authorship.

In treating science as a public asset for researchers, the objective is
to "return science to the scientists" and stimulate new research ideas.

"We want to open up our archives to a wider public because as taxpayers,
they fund our work," Andreas Dick of the National Science Foundation
told swissinfo.

"Researchers will put whatever they have published online, making it
easily available and fast-tracking the way from the journal to the
public," he added.


The Conference of Swiss University Libraries has already been canvassing
for the widespread signing of the declaration for some time, mainly on
cost-saving grounds.

Open-access systems will offer an alternative to the rapid increase in
prices for subscriptions to commercial magazines from scientific
publishers. In all, around 2.5 million articles are published every year
in 24,000 scientific magazines.

"There are small specialised scientific journals that cost thousands and
some universities just can't afford them. Open access should force
journals to publish online sooner," Dick explained.

According to the Berlin Declaration, establishing open access requires
the active commitment of every individual producer of scientific
knowledge and holder of cultural heritage.

Open access contributions include original scientific research results,
raw data and metadata, source materials, digital representations of
pictorial and graphical materials and scholarly multimedia material.

In October 2003, the Berlin Declaration issued an open invitation to
governments, universities, research institutions, funding agencies,
foundations, libraries, museums, archives, learned societies and
professional associations to sign up to the principle of open access.

Dr. Michael J. Kurtz
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
60 Garden Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
VOICE: +1-617-495-7434
FAX: +1-617-495-7467
Received on Mon Feb 13 2006 - 17:29:53 GMT

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