Access to and Preservation of Scientific Information in Europe

Executive summary

An important aspect of open science is a move towards open access to publicly funded research results, including scientific publications as well as research data. Based on the structure of Commission Recommendation C(2012) 4890 final and its assorted reporting mechanism (the National Points of Reference for scientific information) this report provides an overview on access to and preservation of scientific information in the EU Member States as well as Norway and Turkey. It is based on self-reporting by the participating states as well as cross-referencing with other relevant documents and further desk research.

Concerning open access to scientific peer-reviewed publications, most EU Member States reported a national preference for one of the two types of open access, either the Green (self-archiving) or the Gold (open access publishing) model. Preference for the Green model is found in Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Ireland, Lithuania, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain. Those expressing a preference for the Gold model are Hungary, the Netherlands, Romania, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Other Member States support both models equally, such as Germany, France, Croatia, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland and Finland. However, the expressed preferences for one of the two models are not pure models in which only one route is followed. Instead, there is generally a system of predominance of one model with the possibility of using the other model, so a mixture of both routes results.

While few Member States have a national law requiring open access to publications, a mandate put in place by law is not necessarily stronger or more effective than a mandate put in place by a single institution or funder. For example, an open access mandate is strong as it ties open access to possible withdrawal of funds in the case of non-compliance, or to the evaluation of researchers’ careers.

Overall, policies on open access to research data are less developed across EU countries than policies and strategies on open access to research publications. However, individual Member State feedback shows a general acknowledgement of the importance of open research data and of policies, strategies and actions addressed at fostering the collection, curation, preservation and re-use of research data. Based on the self-reporting of the EU Member States and participating associated countries, the following classification is proposed.

  • Very little or no open access to research data policies in place and no plan for a more developed policy in the near future: Cyprus, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland.
  • Very little or no open access to research data policies in place, but some plans in place or under development: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden, Turkey.
  • Open access policies/institutional strategies or subject-based initiatives for research data already in place: Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, the United Kingdom.

Concerning the curation and preservation of scientific information (another issue covered by the 2012 Recommendation), institutional repositories are very well developed in most Member States although some NPR reports stress that, in many cases, institutional repositories are not certified to properly guarantee the long-term preservation of scientific information.

NPR reports also show that many Member States have made a clear effort to become more efficient and transparent regarding scientific information and research activities in general. This being said, some Member States underline research information purposes rather than the objective of open access to research results, with most CRIS systems containing meta-data and not necessarily full results.

Nevertheless, a tendency can be observed among the latest wave of EU enlargement countries that they are focusing efforts on developing centralised national repositories for preservation to be connected to the existing national CRIS systems and to be inter-operable across the EU with, for example, OpenAIRE protocols.

Many Member States have devised global policies and strategies for developing e-infrastructures in a comprehensive way. Such strategies often contain specific chapters or sections addressing scientific information, research and innovation, covering storage and high-performance computing capabilities as well as the appropriate dissemination, access and visibility of research results. As is the case in other areas, the stage of e-infrastructure development varies greatly among Member States, and it is worth noting differences in funding capabilities in this area. The support provided by EU-funded projects and initiatives is of significant importance here.

Concerning participation in multi-stakeholder dialogues and activities, several countries have set up national coordination bodies or networks (Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Austria, Poland, Portugal). Other countries rely on a university or a university library (or an association of libraries) to coordinate national stakeholders (Czech Republic, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta) or on their research promotion agency/research councils (Cyprus, Sweden, the United Kingdom) or their academy of science (Slovakia).

Specific events, such as open-access workshops or activities during the annual open-access week, have also been identified as a way to galvanise stakeholder interaction at the national level (Czech Republic, Croatia, Italy, Romania). Additionally to EU fora (such as ERA, ERAC, the NPR, the Digital ERA Forum and the E-IRG), EU funded projects such as OpenAIRE FOSTER and PASTEUR4OA as well as PEER, Dariah and Serscida were mentioned as important support mechanisms. Furthermore, Belgium and the Netherlands have established bilateral cooperation and among the Nordic states (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) part of the dialogue on open science is conducted within the framework of the NordForsk organisation.

URL : Access to and Preservation of Scientific Information in Europe

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Open access in the world and Latin America: A review since the Budapest Open Access Initiative

In 2012, the Open Access Movement to scientific information celebrated ten years of existence. The period, which represents the first stage of consolidation of the movement, has been analyzed to allow the planning of new phases. With the purpose of providing tools and contributing to these discussions, the article addresses the historical aspects of the international and regional constitution of Open Access Movement.

The approach was developed from a descriptive temporal narrative of the main events and initiatives identified in the scientific literature on the subject. The elements discussed in the present study work were organized under two parameters. The first refers to a temporal perspective, defined from the publication of Budapest Open Access Initiative. The second is related to brief discussion of the participation of Latin America.

As result, we present a timeline of open access in the world and in Latin America, showing the main aspects covered in the study. The goal of the study is achieved by the proposed systematization as we analyze the open access initiatives in Latin America and establish how they influenced and were influenced by other regions of the world.

URL : Open access in the world and Latin America: A review since the Budapest Open Access Initiative

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Bibliometric and benchmark analysis of gold open access in Spain: big output and little impact

This bibliometric study analyzes the research output produced by Spain during the 2005-2014 time period in Open Access (OA) journals indexed in Web of Science. The aim of the paper is to determine if papers published in Open Access journals contribute to the improvement of citation impact and collaboration indicators in Spanish research.

The results are shown by scientific areas and compared with 17 European countries. Spain is the second highest ranking European country with gold OA publication output and the fourth highest in Open Access output (9%). In Spain OA output is especially high in the fields of Arts and Humanities (28%). Spain’s normalized citation impact in Open access (0.72) is lower than the world average and that of the main European countries. Finally, we discuss how these results differ from the so-called Open Access citation advantage.


University-based open access publishing

This report, prepared for SPARC Europe, sketches the landscape of university-­‐based not-­‐for-­‐ profit publishing in Europe with a primary focus on open access publishing of journals. It provides a view of the different types of initiatives in terms of their size, operational and business models, technologies used, stakeholder involvement, concentration of scientific fields, growth, as well as regional characteristics and recommendations for SPARC Europe and DOAJ.

The report attests to a rich and continuously evolving ecology of open access publishing initiatives in universities in Europe and elsewhere. Beyond the commercial publishing models, it appears that university libraries are largely the foci of intense activity in journal publishing and books (primarily where a university press exists), while national governments are moving towards building national collections, national portals and services paid for by public funds to make research published within the country more relevant and accessible internationally.

This ecology is primarily populated by small publishers who are largely invisible, and much smaller numbers of large and medium-­‐ sized university-­‐based activities. At the same time, a growing number of innovative initiatives in the University and outside, mostly initiated by scholars and University Presses, eager to experiment in developing a fair and sustainable scholarly communications system, attests to a vibrant and swiftly-­‐evolving landscape.

URL : University-based open access publishing

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Open Access Infrastructure for Research in Croatia

There is a vibrant Open Access environment in Croatia and several academic and research institutions initiate different activities concerning open access to the scientific information (Ruđer Bošković Institute, School of Medicine, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture, Faculty of Organization and Informatics at University of Zagreb, University of Zadar, University of Osijek, National and University Library, etc.). It is very important to improve collaboration among different stakeholders, as well as to provide top-down guidance harmonized with EU practices.

Important blocks of the existing Open Access research infrastructure are presented in the paper: the Croatian Scientific Bibliography CROSBI, the Croatian portal for Open Access journals HRČAK, and the common infrastructure for digital academic repositories DABAR. Future development of Open Access infrastructure in Croatia is discussed.



E-thesis repositories in the world: A critical analysis

The advent of Information Communication & Technology (ICT) has resulted into a revolution in the ways of production, dissemination, preservation and accessibility of information. Traditional librarianship has opened its doors and embraced ICT to enhance and improve the quality and quantity of services provided by libraries. Libraries have expanded their scope to Library & Information Centres. With the changing trends of libraries, the users have also moved to advanced stages of accessing the information.

Theses and dissertations are one of the major sources of authentic in-depth information on a particular topic on which a researcher conducts extensive research work. In spite of being a main source of scholarly communication, the print theses and dissertations is mostly not accessible to outside world. In this way, the important information remains unused and unknown to users. The Electronic format of the theses and dissertations makes it possible for the information content to be used by information seekers.

‘Open Access’ is a boon for the users who strive for information. Policy Guidelines framed by National and International Organizations like UNESCO, BOAI, Berlin Declaration, ECHO Charter, Bethesda Statement, Salvador Declaration, National Open Access Policy and National Knowledge Commission‟s Report on Open Access (India) have promoted the benefits of open access for researchers, organizations, public and funding organizations.

Institutional repositories provide access to various institutional documents through open access. The type of contents vary from books, journals, conference proceedings, theses, dissertations, newspaper clippings, datasets, manuscripts, software, lectures, learning objects, maps, pre-prints, post-prints, research reports, audio-visual material etc.

The present research work deals with the Electronic Thesis Repositories which are a major form of grey literature of any organization. There are various benefits of ETDs like they help in increasing the citation count of the author and the institution, minimum time required for dissemination of scholarly information, various file formats can be incorporated in the electronic form which is not possible in the print theses and dissertations and they provide a solution of long term preservation of theses and dissertations. In spite of the benefits of ETDs, authors hesitate in depositing their research work in electronic format mainly due to fear of plagiarism.

There are various concepts in the whole process of setting up of an ETD Program. The present research work aims to study the various concepts of ETDs by analyzing the E-thesis Repositories in the world and collecting data from the Repository administrators through Web Questionnaire.


Promoting Open Knowledge and Open Science : Report of the Current State of Repositories

« This briefing paper presents an overview of the international repository landscape. The paper has been produced by COAR on behalf of the Aligning Repository Networks Committee, a group of senior representatives from repository networks around the world. While principally intended for the Global Research Council (GRC), the paper has also been written with a broader audience in mind.
Over the last 20 years, open access repositories have been implemented around the world and are now fairly widespread across all regions. Repositories provide open access (OA) to research publications and other materials and enable the local management and preservation of research outputs. They are a key infrastructure component supporting the growing number of open access policies and laws, the majority of which recommend or require deposit of articles into an OA repository.
OA repositories are increasingly connected through thematic, national and regional networks. In turn, these regional and national networks are further aligning their practices globally through the COAR Aligning Repository Networks Initiative, making their collections more valuable as it enables new services to be built on top of their aggregated contents.These services include tracking of research outputs for funders and research administrators, monitoring usage of publications, facilitating text and data mining, as well as peer review overlay services.
Crucially, repositories represent a distributed and participatory model in which institutions manage content locally, but contribute to the global knowledgebase through adoption of common, open standards. Distributed systems, such as a global network of repositories, have an inherent sustainability. They increase the resilience of infrastructure and fostersocial and institutional flexibility and innovation. They also enable the research community to regain some influence over the scholarly communication system.
With a growing number of funding agencies adopting open access and open science policies that rely on repository infrastructure for adherence, it is critical that the repository and funder communities forge closer ties and find mechanisms to engage in regular dialogue. In addition, given that there are different approaches across regions in terms of both policies and infrastructure, it is important that the diversity perspectives are considered as we collectively move forward. COAR, and its members and partners, welcome further discussion with the Global Research Council as we chart a course for a sustainable and dynamic future for scholarly communication. »