Open Access: Petition to the German Parliament Stevan Harnad 12 Nov 2009 20:31 UTC
** 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. http://www.zugang-zum-wissen.de/journal/archives/105-Open-Access-Petition-to-the-German-Parliament.html 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: http://www.zugang-zum-wissen.de/oa-petition-german-parliament.html It can be signed online at Signing the petition: https://epetitionen.bundestag.de/index.php?action=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]. http://www.urheberrechtsbuendnis.de/pressemitteilung1209.html.en Reference: 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. http://www.allianz-initiative.de/fileadmin/openaccess.pdf COMMENT BY STEVAN HARNAD: 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: http://www.eprints.org/openaccess/policysignup/ 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. Petition 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. Comment 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.