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guiding principles

Access to science and knowledge is essential to a better informed society and more conscious of the world which inhabits, contributing to make it more humane, fair and more democratic and where welfare can be shared by all. Access to knowledge, accompanied by the guarantee of accessibility to formal education, constitutes a fundamental right and play a role in personal valorization and social mobility, central values in contemporary societies of democratic states.

We believe that science, skills acquired through experience, culture… in short, knowledge, constitutes a good of greater magnitude, a public good, which belongs to everyone and should benefit and be made available to all. As a common good, its promotion is crucial and it should have a central role in public policies.

We consider that society in general and communities associated with knowledge production and curatorship must have a leading role in its promotion, valorisation, dissemination and sharing.

We consider that, in short, knowledge belongs to all and is for all and that public policies in this domain must be guided by this guiding principle.

When, beyond everything else, produced knowledge is the result of public funding instruments, its open access becomes, unequivocally, imperative.

The pursuit of a policy oriented towards open access to knowledge constitutes, in this way, a natural priority for the Government and the Ministry for Science, Technology and Higher Education (MCTES).

Portugal has been remarkably prominent in the adoption and implementation of practices dedicated to the promotion of open access, going back symbolically to 2006 and its Open Access to Scientific Literature declaration, by the Council of Rectors of Portuguese Universities.

In a context of open access, virtually all of society would have open and mostly free access to scientific production, above all to that developed through public funding, observed intellectual property, security and data protection rights. Usual practice is that the reader, even if the latter is a member of the scientific community, pays or benefits from the payment by a third party for access to scientific publications, restricting the user community to specific and relatively reduced group.

In Portugal, the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) has been developing a central role, taking responsibility for the majority of the cost for access by the scientific community to the most searched scientific publications. FCT has, meanwhile, made compulsory open access publication of the research results and data of initiatives it funds. It is, however, as in other national contexts, increasingly high the financial pressure exerted by an ever decreasing number of editors that get the revenues from these publications. This tendency has been associated with scientific evaluation models that privilege publication in this restricted number of journals, often to the detriment of other evaluation criteria perhaps more adequate to certain scientific areas.


The Government, through MCTES, elected the promotion of knowledge for all as a pillar of its programme, and is committed to the development and implementation of an open science national policy,playing an active role in the current international and, especially, European debate.

The definition of a new European agenda for science and innovation, based on the concepts of Open Science, Open Innovation and Openness to the World, creates an opportunity for the reinforcement of this debate at national level, engaging the diverse agents in the construction of a common compromise around democratization of access to knowledge.

The Dutch presidency of the Council of the European Union envisions the reinforcement of the Open Science European Agenda through concerted actions at European level (eg Open Science Policy Platform). MCTES, having already developed an initiative to launch the debate about the promotion of an open access national policy, on the 27th of January, is in close articulation with the agenda of the current European semester, and the organization in Lisbon, on the 29th of March, of a preparatory meeting for the Open Science Presidency Conference, which, in turn will take place on the 4th and 5th April 2016 in Amsterdam.

Thus, the foundations are set for the definition of a policy and the establishment of a strategy, settled in dialogue with the diverse partners involved in funding, production and publication of knowledge, with the goal of promoting open access to science.

Making science more open and accessible to all, representing a collective challenge, will strengthen the position of science in society, in the same way that will contribute to a more qualified and well-prepared society to face the future. Heightening the translation of scientific knowledge to society and companies, making it accessible to population in general, will reinforce the social impact of research and contribute to its valorization and recognition.

1 Vd. Larivière V, Haustein S, Mongeon P (2015) The Oligopoly of Academic Publishers in the Digital Era. PLoS  ONE 10(6): e0127502. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0127502



Annex: Preparation of a National Policy for Open Science


Short-term objectives, February-July, 2016:

  • Achieving 100% of scientific publications resulting from research projects funded by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) deposited in a networked repository (RCAAP – Portuguese Scientific Repository of Open Access); it requires the introduction of verification mechanisms of the deposit in the process of project evaluation;

  • Achieving 100% of the deposit of a digital copy of theses and dissertations, by higher education institutions grantees of academic degrees, in an RCAAP network repository; it requires mechanisms of verification;

  • Preparation of pedagogical packages made available online aiming at different user profiles;

  • Organization of a conference on scientific data management and curation;

  • Launching a program of specific actions for the academic community and the general public (conferences, workshops, training actions) on access / open science and intellectual property;

  • Support for the definition of policies by editors and national scientific journals in what concerns self-archive practices in institutional repositories (IRs) and registration of those journals in the international database SHERPA/RoMEO, by all journals of institutions supervised by MCTES (521 Portuguese scientific journals were identified withinthescopeoftheBlimundaproject,204withadefinedpolicyinSHERPA/RoMEO, fromwhich162allowauto-archiveinIRs,withorwithoutembargoperiodsand42donoteventallowauto-archiveinIRs);

  • Elaboration of a study on models and costs of publications on open access, covering the definition of conditions of embargo periods and publication coststransparency;

  • Active collaboration in open science policies and strategies at Europeanlevel.

The implementation of this plan will be assured by a working group, nominated by MCTES, gathering representation of partners involved in the promotion, production, curation and science publication in Portugal (government, researchers, science funding agencies, higher education institutions, research units, archives, libraries, editors, foundations, scientific and technologic oriented private companies and private organizations).



3-year objectives, 2016-2018:

  • Elaboration of a , involving governmental institutions, researchers, science funding agencies, higher education institutions, research units, archives, libraries, editors, foundations, scientific and technologicorientedprivatecompaniesandprivateorganizationsandthepopulationingeneral;

  • Full adoption and implementation of the ;

  • Achieving 100% of scientific publications resulting from public funded research deposited in an open access repository;

  • Achieving 100% of data publication resulting from public funded projects, in an open access repository;

  • Elimination of double funding of publications/data in open access resulting from public funding in such a way as to rationalize costs and sciencefunding;

  • Regular offer of clarification and training actions in matters related to research results and research data publication in open access, intellectual property and data protection,

  • Deepening collaboration with the CPLP (Community of Portuguese Language Countries) within the scope of open science, reinforcing this dimension within the relaunchoftheGlobalScienceProgrammeandinitiativesofsupporttoknowledgefordevelopment.

March 2016

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