Back in 2003 a group of scientists and scholars held a conference and issued The Berlin Declaration on open access to knowledge in the sciences and humanities. In short it proposed that research information should be published free of charge on the Internet and that all models for doing that should be investigated and sustained.
Earlier this week a group of publishers and learned societies published their own Brussels Declaration. Here is the declaration:
Brussels Declaration on STM Publishing by the international scientific, technical and medical (STM) publishing community as represented by the individual publishing houses and publishing trade associations, who have indicated their assent on the website link (it was too long a list for this blog).
Many declarations have been made about the need for particular business models in the STM information community. STM publishers have largely remained silent on these matters as the majority are agnostic about business models: what works, works.
However, despite very significant investment and a massive rise in access to scientific information, our community continues to be beset by propositions and manifestos on the practice of scholarly publishing. Unfortunately the measures proposed have largely not been investigated or tested in any evidence-based manner that would pass rigorous peer review. In the light of this, and based on over ten years experience in the economics of online publishing and our longstanding collaboration with researchers and librarians, we have decided to publish a declaration of principles which we believe to be self-evident.
1. The mission of publishers is to maximise the dissemination of knowledge through economically self-sustaining business models. We are committed to change and innovation that will make science more effective. We support academic freedom: authors should be free to choose where they publish in a healthy, undistorted free market
2. Publishers organise, manage and financially support the peer review processes of STM journals. The imprimatur that peer-reviewed journals give to accepted articles (registration, certification, dissemination and editorial improvement) is irreplaceable and fundamental to scholarship
3. Publishers launch, sustain, promote and develop journals for the benefit of the scholarly community
4. Current publisher licensing models are delivering massive rises in scholarly access to research outputs. Publishers have invested heavily to meet the challenges of digitisation and the annual 3% volume growth of the international scholarly literature, yet less than 1% of total R&D is spent on journals
5. Copyright protects the investment of both authors and publishers. Respect for copyright encourages the flow of information and rewards creators and entrepreneurs
6. Publishers support the creation of rights-protected archives that preserve scholarship in perpetuity
7. Raw research data should be made freely available to all researchers. Publishers encourage the public posting of the raw data outputs of research. Sets or sub-sets of data that are submitted with a paper to a journal should wherever possible be made freely accessible to other scholars
8. Publishing in all media has associated costs. Electronic publishing has costs not found in print publishing. The costs to deliver both are higher than print or electronic only.Publishing costs are the same whether funded by supply-side or demand-side models. If readers or their agents (libraries) don't fund publishing, then someone else (e.g. funding bodies, government) must
9. Open deposit of accepted manuscripts risks destabilising subscription revenues and undermining peer review. Articles have economic value for a considerable time after publication which embargo periods must reflect. At 12 months, on average, electronic articles still have 40-50% of their lifetime downloads to come. Free availability of significant proportions of a journal’s content may result in its cancellation and therefore destroy the peer review system upon which researchers and society depend
10. “One size fits all” solutions will not work. Download profiles of individual journals vary significantly across subject areas, and from journal to journal
Charkin Blog (Richard Chakin, Macmillan) 2/14/07
Posted by P. Kaufman at February 16, 2007 7:25 AM