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Resolution of the Council of Ministers

The Program of the XXI Constitutional Government proclaims knowledge to be a determining condition for the promotion of development and well-being, considering access to its enjoyment an inalienable right of all Portuguese people.

Scientific knowledge constitutes a greater good, a public good, belonging to all, accessible to all and which should benefit all. As a common good, its promotion is crucial and should have a central role in public policies.

Knowledge belongs to everyone and for everyone. Public policies in this domain must be guided accordingly.

This purpose makes it imperative to share, in open access, all the knowledge produced, especially when this is financed by public resources, guaranteeing its reuse in accordance with internationally recognized principles.

Making science more open and accessible to all represents a collective, political, cultural, economic and social challenge.

The promotion and defense of a generalized practice of Open Science means the assumption of a scientific policy committed to a paradigm of knowledge sharing, bringing science closer to society, involving its various components in the formulation of research agendas, in collaborative processes and participatory research, in the search for joint answers to the challenges and problems that arise. The creation of effective conditions and mechanisms for accessing and sharing knowledge democratizes it and contributes to equality in scientific education and training, enabling the transfer of knowledge and stimulating the social appropriation of science.

The implementation of Open Science involves the incorporation of methodologies, tools and practices of a collaborative nature and requires the commitment of the various agents involved in the production, dissemination and use of knowledge.

This reinforces the transparency, integrity and reproducibility of science, further enhancing the more efficient and sustainable practice of scientific activity, namely in terms of its logic of publication, dissemination and communication. Open Science means more than the selective sharing of data and publications, it represents the opening of the scientific process as a whole, reinforcing the concept of scientific social responsibility.

Expanding the transfer of scientific knowledge to society and companies, making it adequately accessible, will stimulate innovation processes, reinforce the social impact of research and contribute to its appreciation and recognition, returning science to its context, to society.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaimed by the UN General Assembly on December 10, 1948, raised the right to participate in scientific progress to the level of human rights. As understood in Article 27, “Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific progress and the benefits that result therefrom”.

At the supranational level, institutions such as the European Union, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and UNESCO have taken the lead in defining and promoting Open Science, also constituting themselves as spaces for cooperation and coordination of the various national initiatives that have been developed. .

Within the European Union, this vision has been reflected in the development of legal instruments with an impact on encouraging the availability of scientific research results, such as the European Commission Recommendation on access to scientific information and its preservation (2012/417 /UE) as well as more recently Directive 2013/37/EU, of the European Parliament and of the Council, of 26 June 2013, on the reuse of public sector information.

In turn, the Treaty of Lisbon presents its own legal basis for the creation of a European Research Area (ERA), significantly reinforcing the European Union's action in the field of research and technological development. In terms of research and development (R&D) policy, the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union states that "The Union aims to strengthen its scientific and technological bases, through the implementation of an ERA in which researchers, scientific knowledge and technologies circulate freely' (the so-called 'fifth freedom of the European Union').

At an international level, several initiatives have been launched that seek to promote the transition to Open Science. Take the case of countries such as Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, the United States and Japan, among others, which have made efforts to set up national open access strategies, coordinated at ministerial or interministerial level, with strong investment in the training and infrastructure component.

These systemic actions are of vital importance, highlighting the need to define the norms and legal framework for the promotion and monitoring of Open Science. They also tend to articulate efforts in terms of investment in infrastructure and the development of transversal skills, especially with regard to the digital agenda.

International experiences demonstrate a clear political concertation around the definition of institutional policies for open access to the results of research financed through public funds.

Access to knowledge and information, as well as access to training, as well as the right to create and enjoy them, are expressly set out in the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic, as well as in the provisions that integrate rights, freedoms and guarantees (articles 37.º , 42.º and 43.º), or in economic, social and cultural rights and duties (articles 73.º and 78.º). Still at the national level, the Foundation for Science and Technology, IP (FCT, IP), has played a fundamental role, 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 deposit of publications resulting from projects financed by public funds in the Open Access Scientific Repository of Portugal, encouraging the open access dissemination of scientific data financed by it.

However, as in other national contexts, there is increasing financial pressure on the part of an increasingly reduced group of publishers that hold the credits for scientific publications. 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.

From a legislative point of view, the greatest impact in terms of open access results from Decree-Law No. 115/2013, of August 7, which provides that doctoral theses, research work already subject to publication in journals with selection committees of recognized international merit, works or achievements of an innovative nature and master's dissertations are subject to the mandatory deposit of a digital copy in a repository that is part of the network of the Scientific Repository of Open Access of Portugal, operated by FCT, IP, and which was reinforced with the entry into force of the Technical Regulation for the Deposit of Theses and Doctoral Works and Dissertations and Master's Works, through Ordinance No. 285/2015, of 15 September.

Also in the Specific Regulation for the Domain of Competitiveness and Internationalisation, within the scope of Portugal 2020, mention is made of the need to «ensure, under conditions to be defined, free access to all scientific publications (peer-reviewed) generated within the scope of the R&D project» (Articles 75 and 120) Added to this is the relevance of scientific production in the Portuguese language, the interest in providing the widest range for its valuation and dissemination on an international level and in particular among countries that have the Portuguese language as an official expression, promoting dialogue and common sharing between the digital repositories of knowledge among the countries of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries.

The promotion of Open Science is also an expression of affirmation of national identity, a powerful way of contributing to the appreciation and recognition of Portuguese science and a stimulus to its constant expansion and renewal and a privileged means of cultural and scientific foreign policy.

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.


Under the terms of paragraphg)of article 199 of the Constitution, the Council of Ministers resolves:

1 — To approve, as guiding principles for the implementation of a National Open Science Policy, that the State and other public collective persons that form part of its indirect administration assume, in the development of their attributions:

a) Open access to publications resulting from publicly funded research;

b) Open access to scientific data resulting from research financed by public funds;

c) Ensuring the preservation of publications and scientific data in order to allow their reuse and continued access.

2 — Establish that an effort to publicize and discuss the objectives and priorities to be considered in the configuration of a National Open Science Policy be pursued, which should result in aLetter of Commitment for Open Science in Portugal;

3 — Mandate the Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education to create an Interministerial Working Group whose mission is to present, by the end of 2016, a proposal for a Strategic Plan for the implementation of a National Policy on Open Science and whose aim is to main goals:

a) Elaborate a diagnosis on the current state of Open Science practices in Portugal;

b) Promote public debate around the issues associated with Open Science;

c) Identify best practices around Open Science and develop awareness programs;

d) Define indicators with the aim of promoting a monitored and transparent transition to Open Science.


Presidency of the Council of Ministers, March 24, 2016. — The Prime Minister,António Luís Santos da Costa.

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