Working together to promote open access policy alignment in Eastern Europe
PASTEUR4OA workshops bring together research funders and research organizations from 15 countries

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Round table discussion: from left, Ewa Majdecka (Centrum Cyfrowe, Poland), Iveta Gudakovska (University of Latvia), Jadranka Stojanovski (Rudjer Boskovic Institute, Croatia) and Nicolaie Constantinescu (Kosson, Romania). Photo credit: Daniela Tkacikova.

Over 50 research funders and representatives of research organizations from 15 countries attended workshops in Budapest, Hungary, to revisit the Horizon 2020 open access (OA) mandate, to examine OA policy developments in Europe, and to share examples of best practice in OA policy development and implementation.

EIFL and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences together organized the workshops, which were held on 29-30 October, within the framework of the PASTEUR4OA  project.

Delegates and speakers came from across Europe - Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and the UK. There was also a participant from Mandalay University in Myanmar who was on a study visit to the Central European University in Budapest, and was able to take advantage of the opportunity to attend the workshops.

OA policies in many Eastern European countries are still in the early stages of development, and the workshops enabled these countries to learn from other European Union (EU) countries where OA policies are already the norm in scholarly communication.

The origins of the term ‘open access’

In his opening address, László Lovász, President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, reminded participants that the term ‘open access’ was coined by the Budapest Open Access Initiative in 2002, when leaders of the OA movement recommended collective action by researchers, publishers and libraries to take forward OA policy development. EIFL was one of the original signatories to the Budapest Open Access Initiative.

During presentations and roundtables discussion focused on developing new OA policies in countries where they are limited or non-existent, and adjusting existing OA policies to align with the Horizon 2020 OA mandate. Horizon 2020 is a major EU research and innovation funding programme. The Horizon 2020 OA mandate states that researchers who receive Horizon 2020 funding must deposit their research publications in a repository of their choice as soon as possible, and ensure OA to the deposited material within six months of publication (12 months for social sciences and humanities).

Representatives of Eastern European countries presented updates from their countries - providing a fascinating overview of what’s happening with respect to OA and OA policy development in Eastern Europe.

At present, only one Eastern European country - Slovenia - has OA policy that is aligned with the Horizon 2020 mandate. However, very soon, a second country - Lithuania will also have the Horizon 2020 aligned OA policy.

The status of OA policy in relation to Horizon 2020 alignment in other countries varies. We take pleasure in sharing what’s happening in EIFL partner countries.

OA policy developments in EIFL partner countries in Eastern Europe

Estonia - strong government support for EU alignment

In Estonia, there is no national OA policy yet, but there is a layer of openness running through the research and development system. The Estonian Research Council has issued draft OA policy recommendations, and ( public consultations on Open Science Recommendations have been launched (website in Estonian).

Martin Eesalu, of the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research, spoke about his government’s support for OA,  and the national Open Science consultation process.

The government’s position is that “OA should be made a prerequisite for research using public funding and OA policies should be aligned in EU,” according to Eesalu.

The government also believes that “Open Data developments are to be supported, but the investments in infrastructure have to be weighed, and Open Data has to have clear added value. But OA should not be taken into account in career evaluation,” Eesalu added.

The Research, Development and Innovation strategy, ‘Knowledge-based Estonia 2014-2020’,  encourages OA to publicly-funded research results and research data, and ensures access to the most important research databases. For personal and institutional research funding, self-archiving is mandatory, but article processing charges (APCs) are also eligible costs.

Most scholarly journals in Estonia are OA and all Estonian Academy of Sciences journals are OA. These journals are subsidized by the government, and no journals charge APCs.

View slides of the Estonian presentation.

Latvia - EU presidency sparks thinking about OA policy

The Latvian EU Presidency in 2015 sparked the Latvian Ministry of Education and Science to start thinking about national OA policy and strategy, said Iveta Gudakovska, of the University of Latvia.

Meanwhile, there has been progress at the institutional level.

Daina Ostrovska, Project Manager, Office of Vice-Rector for Research at Riga Technical University (RTU), told delegates that RTU OA policy had been ratified by the Vice-Rector for Research on 10 December, 2012. RTU policy requires that RTU researchers deposit articles published in peer reviewed journals, conference proceedings and books, in the RTU Publication Register, ORTUS, as soon as possible after they have been published. Where  copyright allows, the articles must be made publicly available at the RTU OA Repository (complying with publisher embargoes).

View slides of the Latvian presentation.

Lithuania - OA policy discussions of the Research Council of Lithuania

Professor Rūta Petrauskaitė, chair of the Committee of Humanities and Social Sciences of the Research Council of Lithuania (RCL), said RCL was drafting its OA and Open Research Data Policy, and welcomed the meeting as an opportunity to discuss the drafts with delegates from other countries.

The new policy states that OA self-archiving will be mandatory with 6/12 months embargo periods (sciences/social sciences and humanities) and selective support will be provided for certain OA publishing. The policy will soon be aligned with the Horizon 2020 OA mandate.

Legal aspects of reuse and licensing will be addressed as well: search for and reuse of the content of published papers both manually and using automated tools (such as those for text and data mining) provided that any such reuse is subject to full and proper attribution and does not infringe any copyrights to third‐party material included in the paper.

RCL will require data management plans with strategies/policies for long-term curation and preservation.

With respect to compliance and monitoring, Prof Rūta Petrauskaitė reported that a certain degree of flexibility in OA policy implementation will be allowed (the length of embargo periods during transition, negotiations with publishers, waiving of OA requirement in some special cases). Evidence‐based review of the implementation is planned and there will be subsequent periodical reviews.

The RCL has the right to withhold funding if OA policy is ignored. The policy will be mandatory for RCL, but all researchers and their institutions in the country, regardless of the source of their funding support, will be encouraged to adhere to this policy.

View slides of the Lithuanian presentation.

Poland - recommendations on OA and open data

During a round table discussion, Ewa Majdecka, of Centrum Cyfrowe, spoke about recent OA and open data recommendations ( Kierunki rozwoju otwartego dostępu do publikacji i wyników badań naukowych w Polsce) released by the Polish Ministry of Science and Education on 26 October 2015, encouraging universities and research organizations to develop their OA and open data policies

As a result of FOSTER co-funded training, the National Science Centre (a major research funding agency in Poland) included mandatory OA into one of its funding programmes.

Slovenia - national strategy of OA to scientific publications and research data

Urban Krajcar, of the Slovenian Ministry of Education, Science and Sport, reported that a national strategy of OA to scientific publications and research data in Slovenia 2015-2020 had been adopted by the government in September 2015.

The strategy is fully aligned with the European Commission’s OA mandate in Horizon 2020, and publicly funded research beneficiaries in Slovenia must ensure OA to all peer-reviewed scientific publications.

The national strategy proposes that 80% of scientific publications resulting from publicly funded research and published in 2017 should become OA by 2018, and that all publicly funded scientific publications published in 2020 should become OA in 2021.

The government is to carry out a national pilot programme on OA to research data, and research data presented in research articles must also become openly available.

The policy extends to publishers too: journal publishers based in Slovenia that receive national public funding for their activities must make their research articles openly accessible.

The Slovenian Research Agency has been mandated to ensure that e-versions of publicly co-financed printed Slovenian subscription journals and the final reports of research projects should be deposited in the Digital Library of Slovenia.

View slides of the Slovenian presentation.

Further information about the workshops

Read a short report about the workshops here (7 pages).

Read a long report about the workshops here (17 pages).  

Workshop papers: PASTEUR4OA briefings and OA policy guidelines

PASTEUR4OA (OA Policy Alignment Strategies for European Union Research) is a European Commission-funded project which addresses policymakers and encourages policy alignment across Europe to ensure that all publicly-funded research is open access. EIFL is a project partner.

Read more about EIFL’s involvement in PASTEUR4OA.