Appendix I: On the Background of Open Access Publishing

During the last years, electronic publishing of scientific research results has been a topic of intensive discussion among scientists, scientific libraries, scientific associations, and publishers. Another topic that is a part of this discussion is the open accessibility to these electronic publications. The open access publishing model has been seen as an alternate to commercial publishing. The focal points in the open access publishing are that the research results are freely available via internet, that the publishing process is free and fast, and that the documents can be disseminated and copied in a limitless number of places in the same time. The needs for open access publishing have several roots. One of the most important is the rapid increasing of number of the scientific research results. The circle from ideas via working processes to results is faster than ever before. This forms a fascinating framework in which all the traditional means used in distributing information have to be re-evaluated. Perhaps the most important challenge for open accessibility to scientific research results is a consequence of the fact that most of people in the world do not have an access to traditional printed books, scientific or non-scientific. The same concerns the electronic media of communication, but the field is growing rapidly. This is a reason why the United Nations, the OECD, and various libraries and scientific foundations have launched initiatives for establishing a systems which would guarantee that the content of the concept "information society" will mean what it is supposed to mean. A short history of open access publishing contains some milestones which have had a strong influence on developing the ideas on open accessibility to electronically published works.

Open Access Publishing: Initiatives and Declarations

  1. The Budapest Open Access Initiative (Feb. 14, 2002) was organized by the Open Society Institute (OSI) with the Soros Foundation. In this initiative, foundations and libraries join their resources for developing systems which can be used by establishing open access libraries, and self-archiving systems that can be used in open access libraries. In a nut-shell, the principles of the initiative are as follows: "Open access to peer-reviewed journal literature is the goal. Self-archiving (I.) and a new generation of open-access journals (II.) are the ways to attain this goal". As practical results of the initiative, there was established the OSI Information Program for funding of 1 million US dollars per year for three years in support of open access projects, the decision on the use of the library network to support open access publishing, a decision to support researchers in low and middle income countries to publish in open-access journals, development of software tools and templates for open-access publishing, self-archiving and harvesting, and promotion of open-access philosophy world-widely.
  2. On Dec. 17, 2002, Howard Hughes Medical Institute made a commitment to cover open-access publication fees for its own research. In April 11, 2003 was held the Bethesda Meeting which launched a statement according to which the open-access publishing was supposed to form a main-stream in publishing the results of scientific research. The statement was based on the works done in the working groups consisting of representatives of foundations and administrations which finance research, librarians who are responsible of dissemination of working results, and researchers who produce the material to be published.
  3. An important milestone was the decision done by the Wellcome Trust (Oct. 1, 2003) according to which the Foundation encourages and supports the open-access publishing of the research results.
  4. This was followed by the Berlin Declaration launched at the meeting "Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities" which was held at the Max Planck Institute in Berlin (Oct. 22, 2003). The main goal of the meeting was to examine the principles and means for open accessibility of research and cultural results and material.
  5. In the Summit held in Dec. 12, 2003, the United Nations summarized the main outlines concerning the open-access publishing. The principles were published in the summary of the Information Society Declarations of Principles and in two separate Declarations of the Summit.
  6. The Commission of Science and Technology of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development ( OECD) asserted the policy on open access publishing on Jan. 30, 2004. The principles are published in the Declaration on Access to Research Data from Public Funding and Recommendations and principles on scientific publishing.
  7. The JICS (Joint Information Systems Committee) announcement to funding for helping publishers to transit to open access was launched in Dec. 4, 2003 ( Focus on Access to Institutional Resources (FAIR) Programme) (on the documents of open access principles, and the Report). "The Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) supports further and higher education by providing strategic guidance, advice and opportunities to use Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to support teaching, learning, research and administration. JISC is funded by all the UK post-16 and higher education funding councils."
  8. On Feb. 24, 2004, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) adopted the Statement on Open Access to Scholarly Literature and Research Documentation. According to the recommendations of the IFLA, the authors' rights can be defined by following the principles of the Creative Commons Attribution License
  9. Information technology for preservation and harvesting of data located at electronic archives has been one of the topics of the European Union. "European research activities are structured around consecutive four-year programmes, or so-called Framework Programmes" (Information Society Technologies).
  10. Scientific research is funded publicly, and publishing and dissemination of the research results form a distinctive part of the costs. For this reason, the administrations which are responsible for financing research have supported open-access publishing:

    1. In the United Kingdom, the Committee on Science and Technology established by the House of Commons published a report ( Committee on Science and Technology Tenth Report) on the preliminaries and guidelines to be followed in the open-access publishing.
    2. Academic administrative institutions which are involved in financing research have paid attention to effective dissemination of research results: The following declaration launched by the Research Councils of the United Kingdom is an example of principles which form a background on open access publishing. "Ideas and knowledge derived from publicly-funded research must be made available and accessible for public use, interrogation, and scrutiny, as widely, rapidly and effectively as practicable" (Research Councils of UK: Research Councils of the United Kingdom".
    3. In Finland, the Ministry of Education in Finland has established a working group to examine different aspects on open access publishing (Open access working group, March 2005) (the application of the term "open access" does not correspond to the concept avoin tieteellinen julkaisutominta 'open scientific publishing activities' given in the memorandum of the working group, because scientific publishing is supposed to be publicly available) (an example of the open-access publications in the libraries in Finland: Turku University Library).
    4. Sweden: National Library of Sweden
  11. The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) was "first organized by the Association of Research Libraries in North America, is an initiative to introduce competition, change, and alternative strategies into the marketplace. It has had some notable successes and currently operates in three main programme areas: * the ALTERNATIVES PROGRAM provides lower cost, direct competitors to highly priced journals; * the LEADING EDGE PROGRAM sponsors technological use or innovative business models; * the SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITIES PROGRAM supports development of portals aimed at distinct academic communities."
  12. The Open Archives Forum provided a Europe-based focus for dissemination of information about European activity related to open archives and, in particular, to the Open Archives Initiative. The aim of the Forum was to facilitate clustering of IST projects, national initiatives and other parties interested in the open archives approach. The Open Archives Forum (OAF)
  13. Electronic Information for Libraries (eIFL): Summaries of Open Access Initiatives and Resources.

  14. The landscape of open access publishing (The link is available at websites of the journal Logical Methods in Computer Science)

P.S., 2006.