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Argentina takes steps towards open access law

Cecilia Rosen 7 June 2012 | EN | ES

[BUENOS AIRES] Argentina is a step closer to becoming the first country to pass legislation to make all publicly funded research available in open access repositories.



  •  The Chamber of Deputies passed a new bill last month (23 May) stating that all national scientific institutions must provide open access (OA) archives of their research, allowing the public full access to journal articles, dissertation theses and technical reports, as well as data obtained by publicly funded projects, but excluding confidential data. To avoid conflict with copyright and intellectual property rights, full access to papers will commence six months after their first publication, and raw data will be available after five years. The law is now under consideration by the senate. In 2011, Argentina created a national system of digital repositories to ensure that archived research is accessible across all institutes. Alejandro Ceccatto, secretary of scientific and technological articulation at Argentina's Ministry of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation, said that if ratified by the senate, the law will rightly give citizens access to research funded through their taxes, and increase the visibility of Argentinean research. The law has institutional support from Buenos Aires University, La Plata University, and Argentina's National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET), according to Ceccatto.
  •  "This is a notable advance because not only scientists and professionals, but also the general public, will be able to access public-funded research," Hugo Klappenbach, researcher at the San Luis National University and a CONICET fellow told SciDev.Net. "I don't think the law restricts [Argentinean scientists'] publication in journals. On the other hand, I think the current model for publication will change substantially in the next 10 or 20 years, towards an open access model".
  •  According to Sanjaya Mishra, head of UNESCO's OA portal, the initiative was likely to have an impact on the global OA movement. "Many countries are considering similar provisions and [this] may speed up the process," he told SciDev.Net.
  •  A recent online petition has urged the US government to give taxpayers access to publicly funded research, and has reached the 25,000 signature threshold required for an official response. Currently, only research conducted by the US National Institutes of Health is OA archived (in PubMed Central) within 12 months of publication. [1] OA advocate Stevan Harnad, of Québec University, Canada, said it is critical that Argentina's bill specifies that research must be deposited into institutional repositories "because not all research is funded but all research comes from institutions".
  •  Harnad added that research evaluation, both at institutions and by funders, should also be linked to repository deposits as this can "reinforce compliance with the national mandate". Argentina is also working on a digital repository for all Latin America's research output, in a project within the Regional Public Goods Program and lead by the Latin American Cooperation of Advanced Networks, funded by the Inter-American Development Bank.

European Commission embraces open access

17 Jul 2012 | 09:48 BST | Posted by Richard Van Noorden (Nature News)

The European Commission has announced its intention to make open access all research findings funded by Horizon 2020, its enormous, €80-billion (US$98-billion) research-funding programme for 2014–20. And it is urging member states to follow its lead.

From Nature Blog


  •  Under proposals announced in Brussels this morning, articles would be either made immediately accessible online, with the commission paying up-front publication costs (expected to be 1% of the total research budget); or made available by researchers through an open-access repository no later than six months after publication (12 months for social sciences and humanities). The commission has already developed such a repository — OpenAIRE.
  •  Sound familiar? Yes, it’s an almost identical copy of the UK open-access policy announced yesterday. Unlike the UK mandate, the commission’s plans are merely proposals at the moment — they face a good year of back-and-forth debate with the Parliament and European Council (along with the whole Horizon 2020 budget). But they do show the influence that the United Kingdom is having on international debates.
  •  The European Commission has always made it clear it wants open access for Horizon 2020; indeed, it ran a pilot trial covering some 20% of the research papers in its current programme (FP7). But the rhetoric in today’s announcement suggests that the Commission wants member states to quickly enforce the vision in their own domestic programmes. “The goal is for 60% of European publicly-funded research articles to be available under open access by 2016,” the commission says today in a press release.
  •  The commission is also committing to a stronger policy to open up wider access to the data generated by scientific experiments — although this won’t be mandatory for all projects, because of privacy and commercial interests.

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