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Open Access - European partnership

16/04/2009

Inria: peerless commitment to PEER

Since 2006, European research institutes have been encouraging their research teams to make their publications freely accessible online. Does the Open Archives initiative challenge the economic model adopted until now by scientific publishers? Does it really heighten the visibility of European scientific achievements? The European PEER project, in which Inria is the main technical partner, along with the Max Planck Society and the University of Göttingen, has given itself three years to answer these questions.

On one side, we have the publishers with their know-how and expertise. On the other, researchers and open access to scientific knowledge. The European PEER project (PEER stands for "Publishing and the Ecology of European Research") has brought publishers and representatives of the scientific community together to address this issue for the first time. The aim is to discover how scientists handle and use open archives. With one thing in mind: to prepare the ground for a new economic system that will observe the rules of the publishing market as well as the principle of open access.

Publishers and research organisations are now preparing for this pioneering experiment. Eleven publishers, representing 75% of the market in terms of scientific journals, and seven leading European research organisations are taking part. For the purposes of the study, project partners have pooled their web platforms to create a European Open Archives network, of which HAL (see right information) is a part. As part of the experiment, publishers have released copyright on half the articles from their journals, allowing them to be deposited in the partners' on-line Open Archives free of charge. This will make it possible to determine whether the visibility and use of articles varies according to whether they have been deposited by publishers or directly deposited by researchers in their institutional archives.

The analysis is carried out by research teams selected in the invitation to tender issued by the PEER Executive Committee. They will note the number of times publications deposited in the archives are consulted and downloaded, according to source (publishers or institutions). Results will be used to assess the current economic system of the scientific publishing market and propose new models that take into consideration the interests of publishers and researchers alike.

Keywords: PEER Open Access HAL-Inria Université de Göttingen European partnership

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