Outcome of Berlin 3 at Southampton UK Stevan Harnad 01 Mar 2005 19:36 UTC

On Tue, 1 Mar 2005, Gretchen Vogel wrote:

> Dear Dr. Harnad,
> I've been following the program for the Open Access meeting yesterday
> and today. I also spoke with Georg Botz on Friday about his expectations
>  for the meeting. I'm wondering if you might have a few minutes this
> afternoon to discuss any decisions that were reached today. We would
> like to run a brief update on the meeting's results in this Friday's
> issue of Science. Unfortunately, my deadline is tight: my story needs to
> be finished this evening by 6 pm, your time. Could you please let me
> know if there's a way I can reach you by phone this afternoon? Many
> thanks for your time.
> Best regards,
> Gretchen Vogel
> *********************************************
> Gretchen Vogel, Berlin correspondent
> Science

Dear Gretchen,

Pity I didn't get this in time. The outcome was (surprisingly)
good!  Until now, the Berlin Declaration was just an abstract
expression of principle. The institutions who signed declared
they were "for" Open Access -- but without any indication of
what might be done practically to *provide* Open Access.

This meeting was meant to formulate a practical policy that institutions
can adopt to *implement* the Berlin Declaration, and the policy is
simple, and almost exactly identical to the recommendation of the UK
Select Committee (which was *rejected* by the UK government!):

(1) Institutions who commit themselves to implementing the
Berlin Declaration will adopt it as a policy that all their
researchers must place all their published research articles
in their own institutional open access repository.

(Several institutions that have already adopted this policy have said
that the way they implement it is that their researchers must deposit
the metadata and the full text, otherwise they will be "invisible"
for research assessment: The institutional repository will be the
data on which their performance assessment and the institution's own
record-keeping of its own research output will be based.)

This is almost is *exactly* what the UK Select Committee recommended:


(2) Apart from *requiring* the above, the implementation policy
*encourages* publishing in an Open Access Journal *if a suitable
one exists.* (This is not, and cannot be, a requirement, as
authors must be allowed to select their own journals, and only
5% of journals are Open Access Journals.)

The outcome is important for 4 reasons:

(a) It gives the signers of the Berlin Declaration a clear direction
as to what should be done to implement the Berlin Declaration,
concretely and practically speaking.

(b) It provides the world with an alternative to the recent NIH-12
policy (which merely encourages NIH fundees to self-archive in NIH's
central repository, Pub Med Central, within 12 months of publication --
instead of *requiring* them to self-archive *immediately* in their own
institutional repository.

(c) It is very likely now to be adopted widely (and has already been
adopted de facto by a number of the participants in this meeting,
including the huge national research network of France, the CNRS,
its counterpart in Germany, the Max-Planck- Institutes, the CERN
mega-lab in Switzerland, all 12 major Universities in the Netherlands,
the University of Southampton in the UK (from whom the model for the
policy first came, both here and for the Select Committee) and
soon, we hope, the UK research councils (RCUK). There were similar
policies also already adopted by Italian, Australian, Scandinavian
and Portuguese universities (to varying degrees: but now this too will

(d) As a consequence, there should soon be a big increase in Open Access
worldwide, and (we hope) it will at last reach 100% before too much

Best wishes,

Stevan Harnad
Professor of Cognitive Science
Department of Electronics and Computer Science
University of Southampton
Highfield, Southampton
phone: +44 23-80 592-582
fax:   +44 23-80 592-865

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