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Guiding principles

Access to science and knowledge is indispensable for a society that is more informed and more aware of the world it inhabits, contributing to making it more humane, fairer and more democratic and where well-being is shared by all. Access to knowledge, accompanied by the guarantee of accessibility to training, constitute a fundamental right and play a factor in valuing and promoting social mobility and democratization, essential to the democratic states of contemporary societies.

We believe that science, knowledge, culture... knowledge, in short, constitutes a greater good, a public good, belonging to all and which should benefit and be granted to all. As a common good, its promotion is crucial and should have a central role in public policies.

We also believe that society in general and the communities associated with the production and curation of knowledge must play a responsible and fundamental role in promoting, valuing, disseminating and sharing knowledge.

We consider, in short, that knowledge belongs to everyone and for everyone and that public policies in this domain should be oriented in this direction.

When, moreover, the knowledge produced results from public funding, its sharing, in open access, becomes unequivocally imperative.

Pursuing a policy aimed at promoting open access to knowledge is therefore a natural priority for the Government and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education, MCTES.

Portugal, by the way, has played a notable role in the adoption and implementation of practices aimed at promoting open access, symbolically going back to 2006 and the declarationFree Access to Scientific Literatureof the Council of Rectors of Portuguese Universities.

In an open access context, virtually all of society would have free and tending free access to scientific production, especially that carried out through public funding, observing intellectual property rights, security and data protection. The installed practice is that the reader, even a member of the scientific community, pays or benefits from the payment by others to have access to scientific publications, restricting the community of users to a specific and relatively small group.

Among us, the Foundation for Science and Technology has played a fundamental role by assuming a substantial part of the payment for the scientific community's access to the most sought-after scientific publications, introducing, however, the obligation to publish research results and data in open access self financed. It is, however, as happens in other national contexts, the financial pressure on the part of an ever smaller set of publishers that hold the revenues of this publication1. This trend has been associated with scientific evaluation models that favor publication in this restricted set of journals, often to the detriment of other evaluation criteria that may be more appropriate in certain scientific areas.

The Government, through MCTES, chose the promotion of knowledge for all as a pillar of its program,with MCTES committed to the elaboration and implementation ofa national open science policy, playing an active role in the debate currently under way at the international and especially European level.

The circumstance of defining a new European agenda for science and innovation, based on the concepts ofOpen Science, Open Innovation, andopenness to the world, creates an opportunity to reinforce this debate at the national level, involving the various agents in building a common commitment around the democratization of access to knowledge.

Note the context of the current Dutch presidency of the Council of the European Union, which provides for the reinforcement of the European Open Science Agenda through concerted actions at European level (egOpen Science Policy Platform). The MCTES, having already carried out an initiative to launch the debate on the promotion of a national open access policy on 27 January pp, is in articulation with the European agenda for the present half-year period, with plans for 29 March to hold in Lisbon a a preparatory meeting ofOpen Science Presidency Conferencewhich will take place in Amsterdam on the 4th and 5th of April 2016.

Thus, the bases have been laid for the definition of a policy and the establishment of a strategy, agreed upon in dialogue with the various partners involved in the financing, production and publication of knowledge, aimed at 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 it will contribute to a society that is more qualified and prepared to face the future. Expanding the transfer of scientific knowledge to society and companies, making it adequately accessible to the population, will reinforce the social impact of research and contribute to its appreciation 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 Open Science Policy


Short-term goals, February-July, 2016:

  • Elaboration of aLetter of Commitment for Open Science in Portugal, involving government institutions, researchers, science funding agencies, higher education institutions, research units, archives, libraries, publishers, the business sector and scientific and technological organizations and the population in general;

  • 100% compliance with the deposit of scientific publications resulting from projects financed by the Foundation for Science and Technology, FCT, in a repository of the RCAAP network; Requires the introduction of deposit verification mechanisms in the project appraisal process;

  • 100% compliance with the deposit of a digital copy of theses and dissertations, by higher education institutions granting academic degrees, in a repository that is part of the RCAAP network; Requires the introduction of deposit verification mechanisms;

  • Promotion of a national awareness campaign forOpen Science | Knowledge for All– valuing the importance of access to knowledge, access to publications and data sharing, as an essential value for science, especially with regard to research that benefits from public funding;

  • Preparation of pedagogical packages made availableonlineintended for different user profiles;

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

  • Launch of 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 national scientific journals and publishers  regarding self-archiving in institutional repositories (IRs) and their registration in the international databaseSHERPA/RoMEO,by all journals from organizations under the tutelage of MCTES (521 Portuguese scientific journals were identified within the scope of the Blimunda project, 204 with a policy defined in SHERPA/RoMEO, of which 162 allow self-archiving in IRs, with or without an embargo period depending on the case , and 42 do not even allow self-archiving in RIs);

  • Elaboration of a study on open access publication models and costs, including the definition of conditions in terms of embargo periods and transparency of publication costs;

  • Definition of parameters and implementation of practices for disseminating, sharing and publishing research data carried out with public funding;

  • Active collaboration in open science policies and strategies at the European level.


The execution of this plan will be ensured by a working group, appointed by the MCTES, bringing together the representation of the partners involved in the promotion, production, curation and publication of science in Portugal (government, researchers, science funding agencies, higher education institutions, research units, archives, libraries, publishers, foundations, the business sector and scientific and technological organizations).



Goals for 3 years, 2016-2018:

  • Adoption and implementation of aNational Open Science Policy;

  • 100% compliance with the deposit of scientific publications resulting from publicly funded projects, in an open access repository;

  • 100% compliance with the publication of data resulting from publicly funded projects, in an open access repository;

  • Integration of the open science paradigm in the evaluation model of Research and Development activity by FCT, including continuous verification of the publication of data and research results financed with public funds;

  • Elimination of double funding of publicly funded open access publications/data in order to rationalize science costs and funding;

  • Regular provision of training and clarification activities on the publication of open access data and research results, intellectual property and data protection;

  • Launch of a program to support the development of scientific social responsibility projects, to be financed by FCT;

  • Active collaboration of FCT and the national scientific community in open science policies and strategies at European level, including at project levelEuropean Science Cloud;

  • Deepening collaboration with CPLP countries in the field of open science, reinforcing this dimension within the scope of the relaunch of the Global Science Program and initiatives to support knowledge for development.

February 2016

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