At its General Assembly meeting in Vienna on 15 April, Science Europe’s members - comprising 50 major public research organisations in Europe - adopted four new common principles on Open Access Publisher Services. The Principles, which were prepared by Science Europe’s Working Group on Open Access to Scientific Publications, complement the existing Science Europe ‘Principles on the Transition to Open Access to Research Publications’ published in April 2013.
As scholarly publishing makes its transition to an Open Access system, and as service providers change their business models, the outcome of the transition will depend on the added value and quality of the services provided.
The new principles adopted by Science Europe aim at setting minimum standards for Open Access publishing services provided by scholarly publishers. These general - and at the same time very practical - principles will help ensure scholarly and technical quality and cost-effectiveness of Open Access-related services in all fields, from sciences to social sciences and the humanities.
Science Europe Member Organisations have adopted the following minimum expected services from publishers applicable when providing payments/subsidies for Open Access venues:
Journals have to be listed in standard databases like Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), Web of Science, Scopus or PubMed.
In the case of books, collected volumes, proceedings and other academic publishing venues, basic technical information and peer review procedures have to be transparent on the website of the publishing venue.
2. Copyright and Re-use
Authors hold copyright of their publication with no restrictions.
All publications shall be published under an open license, preferably the Commons Attribution CC BY. In any case, the license applied should fulfill the requirements defined by the Berlin Declaration.
3. Sustainable Archiving
Publishers have to make copies of the publication automatically available in registered third-party repositories immediately upon publication. Furthermore, authors receive all relevant information and support services to access the archived publication.
Sustainable archiving of the publication has to be demonstrated by providing a persistent address where the full content of publication can be accessed, read and downloaded.
Authors may archive any version of the publication to any registered third-party repository or website with no delay.
4. Machine Readability
Publication full text, metadata, supporting data (whenever published), citations and the status of the publication as Open Access have to be made available in a machine-readable form via open standards.2 Moreover, publishers shall notify authors of any changes occurring in the description of the structure of the data in a transparent way.
 In the case of an Open Access venue that has been founded very recently (in the last 12 months) and is therefore not yet registered in the DOAJ, it has to be clear from the journal’s website that the DOAJ criteria are fulfilled.
2 That should be done by implementing the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) and/or the standards recommended by NISO - National Information Standards Organization (2015): Access License and Indicators, NISO RP-22-2015.
Link to ‘Principles on the Transition to Open Access to Research Publications’, published in April 2013: