Thursday, December 2, 2010 at 09:46AM


CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, has joined COPE, the Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity.

As a publicly and internationally funded research institution, CERN believes everyone should get access to its results without any financial barrier. The most important tool to implement this vision in the high-energy physics community, which CERN embodies, is the SCOAP3 initiative, through which CERN and partners in over twenty countries are working to convert to open access existing high-quality high-energy physics journals. While waiting for SCOAP3 to be operational CERN and leading publishers in the field (the American Physical Society, Elsevier, SISSA, and Springer) have reached agreements to make the scientific publications from the flagship Large Hadron Collider available open access and under a Creative Common license, as suggested by the publication policy of the CERN Physics Department.

These initiatives do not cover the entire spectrum of the literature produced at CERN, and CERN has a long history of taking further action to encourage a transition to open-access publishing. In particular, recognizing that high-quality scientific publishing has a cost, and scientific journals play a key role in the quality-assurance process, the CERN Scientific Information Service covers reasonable fees that some journals charge in order to make research articles open access. This instrument is only available for articles published in fully open access journals, and not for so called “hybrid” journals, which sell subscriptions and make part of their content available open access against a fee, as the CERN Library has already paid for the services provided by those journals, so these additional open access fees cannot be covered. The possibility for covering open access publishing fees is available  for all research articles spontaneously submitted by members of CERN personnel.

This vision is perfectly in line with the COPE principles, and CERN has therefore joined the increasing list of research institutes and universities committed to advance open access in this way.

CERN Director General Rolf Heuer commented: "CERN is committed to widespread access to, and reuse of, our scientific results. At the same time, we recognize the indispensable quality-assurance role that scientific journals play today. The SCOAP3 Open Access initiative is based on these pillars, which also support our partnership with leading publishers to publish open access, and under Creative Common licenses, the results of the LHC. We welcome every open access initiative that improves access, and fosters reuse, while recognizing the role of scientific publishing.  Our synergy with COPE reflects this shared vision."

In addition, CERN also fosters open access by contributing to the sponsorship of the open-access journal Physical Review Special Topics – Accelerators and Beams as well as underwriting part of the running costs of arXiv, and supporting Creative Commons.  CERN participates in building tools for open access such as INSPIRE, a large-scale disciplinary repository for high-energy physics and the related open source digital library software Invenio. CERN is also coordinating a consortium of libraries, publishers and funding agencies, SOAP, in a large-scale study to identify the demand for and provision of open access and its main drivers and barriers.

Article originally appeared on Compact for OA Publishing Equity (
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