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Open Access Working Group Statement on UNESCO Ratification of Open Science Recommendation

The 14 members of the Open Access Working Group (OAWG) representing national and regional library, publishing, funding, research and advocacy organizations applaud the ratification of UNESCO’s Recommendation on Open Science during its 41st General Conference. This move marks critical progress in international efforts to increase equity in access to and participation in science, technology, and innovation. 

The utility of the Recommendation hinges on its uptake by the global community. To this end, we strongly encourage the United States to adopt the Open Science Recommendation in its entirety and work closely with stakeholders to implement it. 

Developed on the foundation of equity, transparency, and inclusivity, the Recommendation sets an international standard for the definition of open science and associated policies, practices, and approaches to drive change in the global scientific community. It proposes seven broad areas for action:

  • Promoting a common understanding of open science and its benefits and challenges;
  • Developing and enabling a policy environment for open science;
  • Investing in open science infrastructures and services;
  • Investing in human resources, training, education, digital literacy and capacity building; 
  • Fostering a culture of open science and aligning incentives;
  • Promoting innovative approaches for open science across the scientific process;  
  • Promoting cooperation in the context of open science to reduce digital, technological and knowledge gaps.

Of particular interest to the OAWG is the action to “develop an enabling policy environment for open science.” At its core, this requires us to develop and implement policies that both require and incentivize open science practices at the researcher and institutional level. Doing so will center equity and inclusivity to ensure legacy publishing practices proven to exclude marginalized voicesincluding reliance on indicators based on publishing in prestige journalsdo not continue. In addition, the Recommendation highlights the importance of investing in open science infrastructure (including repositories) and emphasizes the desirability of community controlled, not-for-profit governance structures.   

Beyond initial uptake, international cooperation in monitoring and planning the implementation of the Recommendation will be critical to its success. This will require governments to actively work with national, regional, institutional, and local stakeholders in operationalizing the Recommendation and associated action areas. The OAWG looks forward to seeing UNESCO’s plans for monitoring and evaluating progress on the Recommendation and stands ready to work with the international community to implement it. 

Signatories from the Open Access Working Group

Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries

Association of College & Research Libraries

​​Association of Research Libraries

Association of Southeastern Research Libraries

Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions (COAPI)

Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR)

Creative Commons

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Greater Western Library Alliance (GWLA)

Open Society Foundations

PeerJ

Public Knowledge

Public Library of Science (PLoS)

Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC)

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