MedOANet partner workshop

The Hague, July 19th 2012

In this eventful week for Open Access the MedOANet project had its first partner Workshop, hosted by FECYT, (the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology) on the 16th of July 2012 in Madrid. The MedOANet project aims at facilitating the development of coordinated strategies and policies in Open Access to scientific information especially in the Mediterranean countries and reinforcing regional coordination of strategies and structures among member states. The goal of the workshop was to discuss the results of the recently conducted surveys on Open Access in the six Mediterranean countries of the consortium, the actions to be taken upon the outcomes of the surveys and the next steps within the project.

The surveys were conducted among research funders, research performing institutions and publishers, in France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Turkey. The results provide a representative overview of the current situation with regard to open access policies and practices among these three categories of stakeholders, as well as nuanced views into the situation in each of the six countries and with respect to specific aspects of open access practices, such as copyright, licensing, policy monitoring and implementation. Overall, the results clearly document the significant role of research performing institutions in Open Access developments, and particularly the progress achieved in repository development. Research performing institutions emerge as the most significant stakeholder with the ability to affect change in the process of improving access to research results. However, the surveys also demonstrate that progress in policy implementation among institutions is not satisfactory and therefore systematic efforts should be devoted to this end, while the responses from public funders document rather poor developments in this aspect as well. Publishers who answered the survey comprise mostly medium-sized and small scientific society publishers who are overwhelmingly positively disposed towards open access and already provide open access to parts of their content, even if they lack some systematic policies and processes/procedures related with copyright and licensing.

Most of the six countries displayed very similar results, however, specific developments and needs can be clearly outlined through the surveys for each of the countries and for different types of stakeholders. The consortium will now work on a detailed report presenting the results of the surveys for each of the countries, as well as the overall results, thematic approaches and conclusions. This will be a very useful document that will inform the national and regional coordination of policies and practices to take place within the project, as well as provide evidence-based information to policy makers in each of the countries and at the European level. The official results of the surveys will be released in the late fall of 2012.

This week has been a very exciting week for Open Access with the Communication of the European Commission on “Towards better access to scientific information” and the Recommendation to Member States on “access to and preservation of scientific information” released on July 17th 2012. MedOANet shares the European Commission’s vision of boosting the benefits of the public investments on science and research for researchers, businesses and the public through increasing access to publicly funded research. The project aims at placing Open Access to publicly funded research as high on the official agenda in Mediterranean countries as it is in The European Commission and Northern European countries like the UK. The consortium will do this by strategic networking and the development of an Open Access Tracker where all Open Access activities in the member states will be given more visibility. The next steps for the MedOANet project are collecting information for the input on the Open Access tracker, coordinating existing strategies and initiatives and establishing common best practice guidelines for policies.

Website: www.medoanet.eu