Open Access: the Belgian Ministers commit themselves! The Brussels Declaration on Open Access

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?