Brussels Declaration on Open Access to Belgian publicly funded research

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The Brussels Declaration on Open Access to Belgian Publicly funded Research was signed during the OA week, the 22nd of October 2012 and engages the Belgian Government.
Interesting comments by Marin Dacos in the OpenEdition’s blog, Déclaration de Bruxelles sur le libre accès : la Belgique s’engage and in the Open repository and Bibliography blog at the University of Liège: Open Access: the Belgian Ministers commit themselves! The Brussels Declaration on Open Access. The Liège University OA blog explains easily in French, the difference between Green and Gold Open Access and how to proceed as an author if wishing to publish in OA. The comment was written in the ORBi blog at the Liège university during the OA week on the 31st of October 2012. We reproduce it below after presenting the full text of the Brussels declaration itself.

Brussels Declaration on Open Access to Belgian publicly funded research

By signing the Berlin Declaration on Open Access in 2007, Belgian research institutions and research funders agreed to support the dissemination of publicly funded scientific research through Open Access.
Open Access to scientific research offers stakeholders an alternative for traditional ways of disseminating scientific research results, which do not always meet the demands of stakeholders.
Free, online access is the most effective way to ensure widespread and democratic consultation and usage of publicly funded research results. During the last years, research results available in Open Access gained considerable visibility internationally, which proves beneficial to individual authors, institutions and funders.
Open Access can be achieved in two nonexclusive ways, each having their own merits: by deposition in a digital open access repository or through Open Access publishing.
Open Access policies do not affect the author’s freedom to choose where to publish, nor do they interfere with patenting or other forms of commercial exploitation. Brussels Declaration signatories commit to maximizing free availability of publicly funded research results, by :
-actively informing researchers about Open Access
-asking researchers to make the published output of their publicly funded research freely available in Open Access, either through a publication in an Open Access journal or by depositing a peer reviewed version of their paper in an Open Access repository at hand, preferably immediately and in any case no later than 6 or 12 months (depending on the scientific discipline) after the date of publication
-investigating the possibility of public authorities covering the costs of Open Access publishing
-supporting the creation and the maintenance of Open Access repositories and other innovative digital
infrastructures for facilitating scientific communication
-investigating possibilities and new opportunities in the broad Open Access field, all in frequent collaboration with relevant stakeholders, considering Open Access to scientific publications a forerunner of new initiatives in the ‘Open Data’ and ‘Open Science’ areas.
By actively stimulating free and online access to scientific research results, *signatories* subscribe to a principle that has acquired broad support on international level. This support has been demonstrated both by recent statements by top researchers, and by Open Access policies launched by influential funders such as the European Commission, the World Bank, CERN, the UK Wellcome Trust and the US National Institutes of Health.
By signing this declaration *signatories* declare Open Access to be the default infrastructure for dissemination of Belgian scientific research results and express their determination to be amongst the frontrunners in this evolution, both at European and worldwide level.
Signed on October 22nd 2012, in Brussels

Comment written in the ORBi blog at the Liège university during the OA week:
“Open Access: the Belgian Ministers commit themselves! The Brussels Declaration on Open Access, 31/10/2012

On the occasion of Open Access Week 2012, a conference day, Open Access to Excellence in Research, was held on Monday October 22 at the Brussels Palais des Académies. After a presentation on Open Access policy on a European level as well as a discussion with a panel of experts on the aspects of OA policy to be implemented in Belgium, the day was marked by the signing of the:Brussels Declaration on Open Access to Belgian publicly funded research

This declaration, signed by the representatives of the Ministers Paul Magnette (Federal Science Policy), Jean-Marc Nollet (FWB) and Ingrid Lieten (EWI), defines a Belgian policy concerning open access to academic and scientific information. It affirms the support of the Belgian government to the Open Access movement and makes it the default means of circulating the results of Belgian academic and scientific research.

The signatories commit themselves to encouraging free access to the results of research funded by public funds by various methods:

  • Actively informing researchers about OA
  • Recommending to researchers that they make the publications which arise from their research available on OA, preferably immediately or at the latest 6 to 12 months after publication (depending on the research field)
  • Study the possibility for the public authorities to cover the costs of publishing on OA
  • To support the creation and the upkeep of OA depositories and other innovative digital systems with the aim of facilitating research communication
  • Study the new possibilities offered by OA in the widest sense, by working together with the actors involved, in considering free access to research publications as a forerunner of new initiatives in the fields of Open Data and Open Science.

The Rectors of the Belgian francophone Universities (CRef) have moreover, in the framework of the discussion held by a panel of experts on the theme ‘What should be done on policy level to give Open Access in Belgium a boost?’, clearly expressed their wish:

  • To strengthen institutional depositories (ID), notably in resolving the problem of ceding copyright, but above all in moving forward to a common Belgian OA mandate
  • To create a shared portal harvesting the IDs of the Universities in the French Speaking Community of Belgium, thus offering a global window of visibility for the excellence of Belgian francophone research.

Would you also like to take part in this movement and provide access to your publications?