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White Paper — Open Science in a Digital Republic

Scientific and Technical Information Department - CNRS


Recommendation of the CNRS Scientific Board

Texte intégral

1The Scientific Board of the CNRS has been kept regularly informed of the discussions surrounding the preparation of the Digital Republic Bill, to be submitted to Parliament in autumn 2015. It has produced its own contribution to the organisation’s White Paper on these issues of vital importance for scientific research activities.

2The Board reaffirms two essential principles: (1) science is a common good of humanity that cannot be misappropriated by commercial interests; and (2) any hindrance to open access to the results of scientific activity (publications, research data, metadata, value-added services) would compromise the development of science. This principle of free access is beneficial as much to authors and the scientific community, as to funding agencies and higher education more widely.

3In light of this, the Scientific Board is concerned about any possible backtracking in the Bill, in terms of the embargo period and open access to scientific publications. It reiterates that other countries, such as Germany, Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom, have been better able to resist the demands of private publishers by getting the principle of free access adopted in their legislation.

4It reiterates its call to see current practices in access to scientific data consolidated by legislation, as is already the case in these countries:

  • when the research activity has been partly financed by public funds, the transfer to a publisher of the rights over the data and the texts from this research cannot be exclusive;

  • scientists must be able to make these data and results available for no fee, in digital form, a priori without any embargo period imposed by publishers;

  • data mining and similar services play a considerable role in the scientific exploitation of open access data and texts. They must not be hampered by commercial platforms for the dissemination of these data and texts.


Open access


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