On 25 May 2021, more than 880 universities and research-performing and research-funding organisations united within CESAER, EUA and Science Europe call on all publishers to stop requiring researchers to sign over their rights and to end the use of restrictions and embargoes. The joint statement, signed by the presidents of the three organisations, is a strong show of support for Open Science and Open Access.
The statement expresses deep concern regarding the unclear practices of some publishers, in particular the examples recently reported by cOAlition S, that complicate and confuse matters for researchers. The organisations urge publishers to reconsider their position and modernise their approaches in a way that fully respects researchers’ rights, including sharing their peer-reviewed research findings without restrictions or embargoes.
Notably, the statement declares that researchers who wish to deposit their author-accepted manuscript in a repository with an open license (e.g. CC BY), and without any embargo, must be able to do so.
Currently, publishers commonly require authors to sign exclusive publishing agreements that restrict what authors can do with their research findings. The statement urges this outdated system to be replaced and supports a diversity of models for the open dissemination of research for the greater benefit of society.
Rik Van de Walle, President of CESAER: “Researchers, students, teachers, innovators and society as a whole thrive when scientific knowledge circulates freely. The retention of rights by researchers and universities is vital as it enables the full use of research outcomes in all areas of research, education and innovation, for the full benefit of society.”
Michael Murphy, President of EUA: “It is time to make Open Access a permanent feature of the research system. Researchers must be empowered through the freedom of choosing where and how they publish their findings – and this choice must include self-archiving their work in repositories to ensure Green Open Access. This is a simple question of fundamental values and respect.”
Marc Schiltz, President of Science Europe: “The manuscript - even after peer-review - is the intellectual creation of the authors. Publishers have no legitimacy to impose transfer or restrictions of ownership rights on any form of manuscript. In the light of the current pandemic, publisher-dictated embargo periods appear hopelessly antiquated.”
CESAER is the European association of leading specialised and comprehensive universities of science and technology that: champion excellence in higher education, training, research and innovation; influence debate; contribute to the realisation of open knowledge societies; and, deliver significant scientific, economic, social and societal impact.
The European University Association (EUA) represents 850 universities and national rectors’ conferences in 48 European countries. EUA plays a crucial role in the Bologna Process and in influencing EU policies on higher education, research and innovation. Through continuous interaction with a range of other European and international organisations, EUA ensures that the independent voice of European universities is heard.
Science Europe is the association representing major national public organisations that fund or perform excellent, ground-breaking research in Europe. It brings together the expertise of 36 of the largest and best-known research organisations in the world to jointly push the frontiers of how scientific research is produced and delivers benefits to society. They collectively invest over €18 billion each year on research in 27 European countries.