Open Access: Petition to the German Parliament

From: Stevan Harnad <amsciforum_at_GMAIL.COM>
Date: Thu, 12 Nov 2009 15:31:36 -0500

** Apologies for Cross-Posting **

Professor Eberhard Hilf is inviting the German and international
scholarly and scientific community to sign a petition to mandate Open
Access in Germany.

Professor Hilf writes:

A Petition to the German Parliament (Deutscher Bundestag) for Open
Access of documents in science and research has been launched by Lars
Fischer, see the English version of the Petition:

It can be signed online at Signing the petition:;sa=details;petition=7922

The large and renowned Science Organisations in Germany and the
Coalition for Action "Copyright for Education and Research" are
calling all persons, active in science and academic education,
students and staff, librarians, scientists, to sign the petition, SEE
[Press Release in German].

Statement of the Workgroup Open Access of the Alliance of the German
Science Organisations (Allianz der Wissenschaften): Open Access:
positions. processes, perspectives; (in German): Open Access:
Positionen, Prozesse, Perspektiven; Arbeitsgruppe Open Access in der
Allianz der deutschen Wissenschaftsorganisationen.


Lars Fischer's statement is vague and thereby poses some risk of
having no practical effect unless it is made clear exactly what the
Bundestag is being asked to do, why, and how.

Fortunately, it can be stated very clearly exactly what the petition
is for, and why, and if this clarification can be coupled with the
text sufficiently prominently, the outcome will be a coherent and
positive one:

WHAT IS OPEN ACCESS? Free online access to all peer-reviewed research
articles (2.5 million annual articles published in 25,000
peer-reviewed journals, in all fields of science, social science and
humanities, worldwide).

WHY OPEN ACCESS? To ensure that research findings are accessible to
all their potential users worldwide, so as to maximize research
uptake, usage, applications, impact, productivity and process, by
making it accessible to all its potential users worldwide, and not
just to those whose institutional libraries can afford a subscription
to the journal in which it happened to be published.

HOW OPEN ACCESS? All universities and research institutions, and all
funders of research, need to mandate that the final, peer-reviewed
draft of all their research output must be deposited in an Open Access
Repository (Institutional or, optionally, Central) immediately upon
acceptance for publication, making it immediately accessible online,
free for all:

If these three points could be made, the petition will be precise,
comprehensible, and focussed.


Here is the petition:

Petition to the German Bundestag, the National Parliament

Lars Fischer has created a petition to the Deutscher Bundestag to
support Open Access as an amendment to the pending legislation.
Signatures are now invited.


The German National Parliament (Deutscher Bundestag) should decree
that scientific publications that result from public funding, should
be openly accessible. Those institutions that are autonomous should be
called upon by the Bundestag to set up and enforce suitable
regulations and to install suitable technical preconditions to ensure
that this is the case.


The Government supports research and development -- according to the
German Ministery for Education and Research in the amount of about 12
Billion Euro annually. The results of this research are published, but
mostly in toll-access journals. It is not acceptable that the taxpayer
should have to pay for research results for whose creation he has
already paid.
Because of the large costs and the multitude of scientific journals,
research results are accessible only in a few libraries. Most citizens
are thus de facto excluded from access to scientific results for which
they have paid.

To exclude citizens from science is not only harmful, but unnecessary.
Other countries have already implemented what is being proposed here.
The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) is requiring that all
publications that it has funded should be openly accessible within 12
months at a central server. The general structure of the scientific
publication system is not affected by this petition.
Received on Thu Nov 12 2009 - 20:32:36 GMT

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