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International publishers and librarians agree to enhance the debate on open access

(IPA/IFEX) - Geneva/The Hague, 20 May 2009 - A joint statement released today by the International Publishers Association, the International Association of Scientific Technical and Medical (STM) Publishers, and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) calls for a more rational, evidence based debate on open access. It encourages experimentation and piloting of new concepts and ideas, whilst acknowledging that the differences in the different academic disciplines and publishing traditions may lead to differentiated approaches and business models in support of authors.

The joint statement is intended to move the oftentimes heated and polarised debate about open access as a model for scholarly communication towards a more measured and nuanced discourse.

Says IPA President Herman P. Spruijt, "The debate about open access is important and publishers welcome it. Publishing is never at a standstill and we should not fear change. Now that more experience has been gained with open access publishing and now that data is available on its success, the open access debate should be able to move away from emotional accusations and oversimplification. Our discussions with IFLA on this topic are always spirited, but have become more insightful and less polarised as we moved towards facts, evidence and differentiated arguments. There is a lesson here to be learned for the public debate on this issue."

Says IFLA Working Group co-chairman Ingrid Parent: "IFLA is pleased to announce the joint declaration on open access with IPA. This statement shows that both our associations share the important objective of providing the broadest possible access to information. IFLA and IPA believe publishers and librarians have a lot to gain by supporting innovation, experimentation and pilot projects in developing open access to scholarly publications."

Click here for the full text of the IPA/IFLA statement
International Publishers Association
International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions

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