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Discussions > DISCUSSION: Policy Guidelines on Open Access (Your comments needed)
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Alma Swan
1281 days ago

Can I echo Sanjaya's thanks to all, and Iryna, thanks for your careful reading and constructive comments. I will now strart to incorporate the suggestions and to write the executive summary. UNESCO will publish the final document sometime later this autumn. Sanjay will keep you all informed via this site. Thanks again!

richard lamptey
1281 days ago

I think this is a great document. I do not know if anymore could be added to it. It's  covers everything. Well from where am standing I think its a fantastic policy that can help we the OA advocates to push for the dream in our variouse institutions and countries.

Sanjaya Mishra
1281 days ago

Thanks everyone for your valuable comments. These will be very useful to us for finalization of the document. While this consultation process will be formally over, today, the discussion thread is open. I will continue to monitor this for another one week, and therefore, those of you who have not commented or those of who want to make more comments, please do so.

I look forward to more comments in the coming week.

Iryna Kuchma
1281 days ago

Dear Sanjaya, I would like to echo the others and commend UNESCO for commissioning Alma Swan to develop this useful and timely document!

Dear Alma,  thank you for a useful document! I have a couple of questions and suggestions:

  • As an OA advocate in developing and emerging countries I would like to see some examples of African and Asian institutional OA policies. This will help to keep the reginal balance (now we have examples from the developed countries only and only from Australia, Europe and North America) and will help us in our OA advocacy activities in Africa and Asia.
  • The document is very long and I am not sure the policy makers will have time to browse and read it. Is it possible to have a couple of pages summary targeted to the policy makers planning OA policies (e.g. based on your Part 9 Summary policy guidelines)?
  • In the Target Content for Open Access you do not mention any gray literature. It is an important research output in many countries where EIFL works and I am wondering whether you see some room for this type of content in your document.
  • I am not sure there is a need to have a special section for Open Access publishing in developing and emerging countries (2.2.2.). It sounds a bit patronising to me and I believe the content of this section can easily go under 2.2.1. The Open Access publishing arena.
  • In Part 3 The Importance of Open Access you are referring to an Access problem. I think it is not only access alone required to research outputs but also the unrestricted re-use of the research outputs for research and teaching world-wide. It would be good to see a section about Re-use Problem here as well.
  • It would be good if you could edit information about EIFL: EIFL (Electronic Information for Libraries): an international organisation that works in collaboration with libraries in more than 45 developing and transition countries in Africa, Asia and Europe and enables access to knowledge for education, learning, research and sustainable community development.
  • I think it would be good to list OASPA among organizations engaged in promoting Open Access as well as IFLA.
  • I see needs and opportunities to have this document translated into other languages and reused in national and institutional OA advocacy campaigns. It would be great if you could license this document under one of the Creative Commons licenses (CC BY preferably).

Best wishes,

Iryna Kuchma

EIFL Open Access programme manager

Alma Swan
1282 days ago

Thank you Anil, for your comment and thank you, everyone, for respondng to this consultation. We will be closing the exercise this weekend and I will take all your comments into account in the final editing. The Guidelines will be published by UNESCO later in the autumn. Sanjaya will guide us through that process as the timetable is in his hands.

He will also keep us up to date on how UNESCO progresses with its activities on OA after that. I know there is a lot in the pipeline, so we can look forward to some developments in this area.

Again, many thanks for taking the trouble to review the document.

Anil Prasad
1283 days ago

Hi Sanjaya ji,

A well researched work! Its a guide in all means! CONGRATULATIONS DR. ALMA!

I think Budapest, Bethesda and Berlin documentations together give us what we require in copyright and license policy level. Adding connectivity solutions (CS) to it will give us all what we require!

B3 + CS -> OA

“...Instead they will use copyright and other tools to ensure permanent open access to all the articles they publish” yes that’s it.

Alma Swan
1283 days ago

Yes, that's a good point, Melissa, and thanks for that. EIFL is listed as one of the main potetnial aprtners for UNESCO but I had omitted its own specific OA Programme. I'll make sure that is added.

I am also aware that the document is very long as it is. I want to reassure you all that I will eb writing an Executive Summary, which will contain all the main points in an abbreviated form, of course, once this consultation is completed and the final editing is done.

And now, we await the comments from our friend in Romania...

Melissa Hagemann
1283 days ago

First, I would like to commend UNESCO for commissioning Alma Swan to develop this useful and timely document. While funders and research institutions have been developing OA policies for the past nine years, the OA movement has not had a thorough reference point for background documentation on these policy developments until now.

I think what will be of particular use to those developing OA policies is the structured way in which Dr. Swan lays out the different types of OA and the different ways to support them through the development of policy.

Under organizations working to support OA (p. 45), I would suggest adding the EIFL-Open Access program (http://www.eifl.net/openaccess), as EIFL works to introduce the concept of OA in developing and transition countries as well as advocate for the development of OA policies. 

1285 days ago

Dear friends, 

I've just started to read the document. Please, do allow more time for digesting the content. Please, consider this.

Until more substantial wording...


David Ally
1285 days ago

Yes, we need to keep this distinction in mind, it is so crucial. OA is the focus here, and it relates to my immediate future area of work, I was at a WIPO training workshop recently and came across the publication landscape of sub saharan African published by UNESCO sometimes in 2004 with a shocking realization. Aswan, your work is so timely, I have read the guidelines once, I think I need give it a second pass for proper digest.

Alma Swan
1285 days ago

Yes, thank you both. These are very helpful comments which we will take into account.The Guidelines are certainly only the starting point for individual countries, and much local work will need to be done using the Guidelines as a reference point for good practice. Once again, though, I caution about conflating OA with OER. These are two different things and the present initiative is about OA, focused on the results of research rather than teaching and learning materials.

Sanjaya Mishra
1286 days ago

Thank you Dominique and David for these valuable comments. I am sure these will be useful while finalizing the document. We will also try to have different language versions of the document after the English version is finalized.

David Ally
1286 days ago

I guess the policy guideline needs some translations to help other regions make genuine and useful inputs.

Although, in coming up with policy guidelines we often assume that the final document should be comprehensive and complete enough, this particular one has tried to capture all visible areas but who knows? Eagle eyes out there are encouraged to fish out other areas that might have been overlooked.

Operating from a developing country's perspective, policy guidelines serve very little, it doesn't go beyond a document for the shelf and this is where I think UNESCO and other IDP roles become critical, this was not emphaisze in the guideline, implementing policy statements is the key and the more difficult aspect of the entire process, although, IDPs should not be responsible for pursuing implementing policy statements but developing countries are lacking(or don't follow up with) capacities for proper implementing.

IDPs roles become important in addressing their work plan around such guidelines in order to be able to relate state intentions to their activities, I guess UNESCO will make available this document and the resulting documents from their member states available in the public domain eventually, evaluating related state activities based on this documents will go along way in under scoring the impact of IDPs activities. While the IDPs cannnot solve major problems in member states, they can create templates of good practices and encourage state actors to build on. This should not be half shod but taking through to a completion, most activities are half shod.

For a country like Nigeria, have done job in this area will only lead to confusions, I'm not too sure of how many of these institutions have basic ICT policy in place before embarking on roll out not to mention looking into high level issues like this, so we have so much work to do here and I will say this requires the involvement and commitment of serious IDPs. 

Concerning OER contents, visibility and accessibility have so much to contribute to WSIS mission, we cannot build a information sharing society when so many are excluded by reasons of the social and economic situations that prevails in their countries, but I see opportunities in these situations to bring about building of inclusive society if there is courage to do what we know is beneficial to majority. Like it was done in US through the Free Science Text initiative, spend public fund in creating materials for open access and licensed as such. This can be extended to special research activities that targets specific national problems. Thesis etc are expected to be made available somehow to the community, but why this is not the case is still a big question mark. Catalogues in libraries are expected to have these, but you may need to research into this to know how bad the situation is, but with cloud computing around, we are blessed with simple and reliable repositories for publishing and archiving today.

This work is a timely work and I bet should set the agenda for many IDPs' work in member states from now on.


Dominique Babini
1286 days ago

Dear Alma Swan and Sanjaya Mishra,

 This draft policy guidelines for the development and promotion of OA to scientific information and research is very comprehensive and covers main concerns and alternatives for funders (organizations and governments) and institutional policy-makers, and the example policies are good incentives for action, as well as the summary points at the end of each section that are very action oriented. 

We are asked to introduce comments to this draft, so I have tried to read it from the point of view of an institutional or government policy-maker with little knowledge about OA and working in a country of my region, Latin America.  I do it knowing I am commenting on an excellent guideline, only to suggest some possible additions and because we were asked to comment this excellent work.  In my case I will refer to Latin America for examples. 

If this will be “the” UNESCO policy guidelines for development and promotion of OA in the world, as developing region, may I suggest to add an introduction highlighting

* the importance of open access to knowledge for a global sustainable development (with concepts concerning OA from the World Science Report 2010 and World Social Science Report 2010), trends and needs mentioned in those reports concerning OA

* also in the Introduction, highlight Unesco´s role in OA activities in previous decades, with examples from different regions of the world.  Ex.: very important for AO in Latin America has been the promotion/support/training during decades for development of cooperative subject bibliographic databases, with national focal points and based on open source ISIS software, databases which are today becoming open access regional subject repositories, with a growing number of records with full-texts, examples: health (BVS), agriculture (SIDALC), public management and policies (CLAD-SIARE), social sciences (CLACSO), work (LABORDOC), among others.  Also the promotion of Greenstone open software for the development of digital libraries and repositories (Cyranek, Günther (2010). Greenstone: Un software libre de código abierto para la construcción de bibliotecas digitales. Experiencias en América Latina y el Caribe. Montevideo, Unesco, 210 p.) 

Within the guidelines, for developing regions readers, the following observations for your consideration


Page 1, third paragraph, “…there are probably many more minor peer-review publications in addition to this…” (the 25.000 from Ulrich´s Periodical Directory) I would change “minor” for “local”

Page 1, 5º paragraph, “Now, with the only limiting factor being the technological limits of bandwith and computer power…”  I suggest giving also in this section some word to computer and internet access being still limiting factors for OA  in many developing regions   (“access problems are accentuated in developing, emerging and transition countries” is mentioned in summary points on the importance of open access, pag.22)

Page 2, 1º par. …”only a minority of scientific journals are now published in print to accompany the electronic version”…. In Latin America, electronic version accompany printed version, with a growing number of born electronic


in developing regions “price barriers” could also be considered when authors are charged for publishing in international OA journals at prohibitive prices per article.

1.4. Target content

The main content of institutional repositories in Latin America are university theses , some thoughts from the author on other contents (see under 8.2.4. below)

2.1.  OA repositories

Even if geographical distribution of repositories (page 11) shows clearly minimum presence of developing countries, Unesco guidelines are usually taken as support for policy decisions in developing countries, so it would help in this section to add examples from developing regions with which the reader can best identify.  University repositories from Brazil are good examples from our region, and the example of Universidad de Los Andes from Venezuela is already included in page 24

2.2.1. OA publishing arena

In Latin America research is covered by state funds so journals are published by universities and academic societies and do not follow the business model described, it may be so in other developing regions.

When the new OA publisher business model is described, it would help explain that authors (or their institutions) have to pay, and give examples of costs.  And differentiate clearly from OA initiatives that do not charge the authors, as the good example the author mentions (Scielo, which today provides open access to 873 peer-review journals) Another example is Redalyc (www.redalyc.org) with 758 peer-review journals.  Both initiatives are subsidized, cover journals from Latin America, Caribbean, Spain  and Portugal, with no charge for authors or readers.   

Another OA facilitator in our region is OJS/PKP, the open source software used by 9.000 journals worldwide, of which 3.280 in Latin America and the Caribbean, mainly in Brazil with a centralized journal publishing portal SEER- Sistema Eletrônico de Editoração de Revistas.   Several university journal portals in our region are developed with OJS, ex. Universidad de Chile, and UNAM in Mexico.

2.2.2. OA publishing in developing and emerging countries

The complete UNESCO guidelines will be for developed and developing regions.  This paragraph is then not needed, because it is understood that all the guidelines are for both, developed and developing countries.  I suggest this paragraph be part of 2.2.1.

Part 3. The importance of OA

 May I suggest consider the 2010 World Science Report


Main trends: http://www.unesco.org/new/fileadmin/MULTIMEDIA/HQ/SC/pdf/sc_psd_usr10_en.pdf

and the 2010 World Social Science Report


Both have interesting data and trends concerning access to research results, which can be of use for the introduction, and for this section on the importance of OA in the world.

Part 4. Benefits of OA

2º paragraph: …. “in an OA world the article is available with a few clicks of the mouse”, for this reason it helps if at some point (infrastructure?) in the guidelines some thoughts are given to the need of investment in computer and internet access, and bandwidth when not available, as OA facilitators

4.2. Visibility and usage of research

For the point about  “…developing world research, which has always been hampered by the lack of channels for reaching developed world scientists and the bias of the large abstracting and indexing services…” may I suggest including in the Guidelines bibliography the work from Jean-Claude Guédon (2008) “Open Access and the divide between “mainstream” and “peripheral” science” http://hdl.handle.net/10760/10778

(this E-Lis subject repository for information science is a very interesting collaborative initiative very used in our region)

5.2.1. repositories

At some point of the guidelines, or as footnotes, some reference, plus bibliographic references, could refer to open software used in repositories? And the usual metadata standards? (for readers that do not have experience with repositories, to discourage proprietary software elections in new developments)

5.2 new business models

“Having largely relinquished academic publishing activities to large commercial publishers (this category includes some learned society publishers) over the past 50 years, the research community is taking the activity back under its control in some areas”…. In Latin America journals are mainly subsidized by State funds that cover research, this may be an explanation of OA adoption by journals in the region.  I coordinate the Latin America Social Science Council (CLACSO, www.clacso.org) institutional repository, and from 300 journals published by our member research institutions in 21 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, 60% of these journals are available open access in the journals website and/or journal repositories as Scielo, Redalyc and CLACSO´s journal section in the repository.

In the range of new business models sponsors (page 27, 1º par) I suggest considering support from international funds, example: The Fund for Regional Public Assets of the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), sponsors the project “Regional Strategy and Interoperability and Management Framework for a Latin American Federated Network of Institutional Scientific Documentation Repositories”. It was endorsed by the IADB on June 2010 and coordinated by RedCLARA.  Its purpose is the creation of a consensual strategy and a framework of agreements related to interoperability and information management for the construction and maintenance of a federated network of institutional scientific publications repositories in the region.  http://www.redclara.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=533&Itemid=504&lang=es

Another example are the regional subject repositories mentioned at the beginning of my comments.  In the case of CLACSO´s regional social science repository (www.clacso.edu.ar) we have received support in the past decade from SIDA (Sweden), NORAD (Norway), IDRC (Canada), INASP (UK).  Today it has 28.000 full-texts from the region and receives an average of a million requests each month. Subsidy

and Sponsorship

The most used models in Latin America

7.1. Policy-focused strategies

4th. Paragraph “…there is current legislation being considered…. in Brazil, Germany and Poland, for example…”   now can be added Argentina with an OA bill in discussion in Congress introduced in October 2010


 Page 42, some examples from developing countries would help advocacy in those regions

 7.2. Advocacy-based strategies

For advocacy among peers working in OA, in Latin America the LLAAR mailing list (300 members, https://groups.google.com/group/LLAAR/feed/rss_v2_0_msgs.xml?hl=es) also with presence in Facebook, contributes to advocacy among information professionals for professional updating, trends, best practices, examples in the region

7.4. Organisations engaged in promoting OA

From Latin America could be added if examples are needed from developing regions:

Latin American Federated Network of Institutional Scientific Documentation Repositories, Red CLARA http://www.redclara.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=533&Itemid=504&lang=es

In Brasil, IBICT (Instituto Brasileiro de Informação em Ciência e Tecnología, Ibict) with SEER (for journals,Sistema Eletrônico de Editoração de Revistas-SEER) and OASIS (repositories harvester in development, Oasis.br)

 Part 8: policy framework for OA

The example of Argentina can be added in laws under development


8.2.4. Content types and 9.2.2. target content  and 9.3.2. target content and in Glossary “green open access” that refers only to articles

The main content of institutional university repositories in Latin America are today theses, then articles, and many other contents of which some are peer-review


Could it be a possibility to recommend identification (in metadata?) of peer review contents, or some thoughts from the author on theses and other contents as possible content ?  (here and in summary page 59)  because in DOAR there is diversity of contents in repositories and we should identify in metadata which are peer-review.



Each regional consultant for GOAP will include in its regional OA report a bibliography from where the author of the Guidelines can select works to complement this comprehensive bibliography of the Guidelines with some additional references specific to developing regions.  If it is of interest.


“green open access” that refers only to articles

 Appendix 1: example policies

Examples are of great help, very valuable resource. 

The example of Queensland includes also refereed conference papers and theses

To put this reality closer to a possible reality in developing countries it would help to include some examples from developing countries

If no examples are included from the developing world it could inhibit developing countries. 

 A “Unesco” model for institutional, funding and national mandates

UNESCO could contract the author for writing an annex “UNESCO orientation model” for institutional and funding mandates, that could be used as “the” Unesco models and recommendations to be used in advocacy at institutional and national level in developing regions, where comparisons with Harvard, Liege and other developed country models seem a far-away reality, but a Unesco recommendation and model is very familiar, as other UN recommendations and guidelines, to facilitate quick adoption of appropriate policies

 An annex could include the regional contact points for OA, taken from the regional OA consultancies for GOAP

 And Unesco OA present initiatives should be described in the introduction


I thank again Alma Swan for these excellent guidelines and for such a comprehensive work.  My comments are very modest suggestions in front of such an endeavour undertaken by the author.

with warm regards, Dominique Babini






1288 days ago

Dear Alma, thanks.
Yes, basic definitions are provided in the document and supported with sources. I will provide my thoughts on typology for policies very soon,


Alma Swan
1289 days ago

Thank you, Ramesh, for your positive and useful comments.

Muvaffak, Open Access has been defined already and this is explained in the document. OA is not about online courses - that is OER, the subject of other discussions. Open Access is about research outputs and the Guidelines are focused on those.

I am especially interested in whether people think that the typology for policies that I have developed in the Guidelines is helpful. It is important that this typology clarifies this rather complex area and makes the Guidelines a useful tool for potential policymakers.

Muvaffak Gozaydin
1289 days ago

Open Access needs a very good definition.

Quality of any online content can be decided by the institution's quality who developed that.

There is no yard stick to measure the quality of any online course.

Time measures the quality. That is reputable colleges' online courses are also good.

I cannot trust the onlines developed by individuals whom I have a little knowledge .

First policy would be   "  to support reputable universities to develop online courses for

millions  "   Then price will be also nominal .

1290 days ago

Dear Dr Swan,

At the outset I wish to congratulate you on this wonderful document. I enjoyed reading and learned new things too from it.

I agree with you when you say that "...because all institutions can build a repository, the potential for capturing high levels of material is excellent, though this potential is only realised if a proper policy is put in place..." {page 11, Part 2, under 2.1 Open Access repositories: the ‘green’ route to Open Access}
Having a proper policy formulated first, may save the institutions from some inconveniences later on when they start building repositories in the absence of a Policy.

More later on,


ramesh sharma

Sanjaya Mishra
1291 days ago

Dear OA Community Members,

I welcome you to this online discussion on the "Policy Guidelines for the Development and Promotion of Open Access". I hope that you have already read the draft document prepared by Dr. Alma Swan. It is available in this community and can be downloaded here (link). By conducting this online discussion, we not only want to tap into the collective knowledge of the community to sharpen and polish the document, but also want to hear about your experiences of open access policies and their implementation. Your views on the issues addressed by Dr. Swan in the document are important us.

Some of the highlights of the document prepared by Dr. Swan are:

1. Description of a historical perspective and context of open access

2. Clear definition and articulation of what is meant by open access

3. Detailed explanation on approaches, benefits, importance and business models of open access

4. Positioning copyright and licensing issues within the context of open access policy

5. A typology of OA policies, and specific guidelines with templates for Member State Institutions to adopt appropriate OA policies

We expect that this document will be widely circulated after finalization, and it is used to demystify issues surrounding OA, and facilitate quick adoption of appropriate policies. The document has been written as a guide to assist stakeholders to take decisions by understanding the issues involved. However, the template can also be used to quickly adopt OA policies. Dr. Swan has highlighted that policies does help to improve access to peer reviewed information, and we hope that this document will help further accelerate the process of policy adoption in the Member State Institutions.

While we expect you to comment on the document, please feel free to cover any of the issues addressed in the document, and anything that you feel should be included in the context of Open Access. While minor typos will be taken care by us, we will be obliged, if you can send specifics to me by email.

I look forward to your activ eparticipation, engaging discussion and comments.


Sanjaya Mishra