November 14, 2011



K-State adds name to Berlin Declaration

By Donna Ekart

Kansas State University has affirmed its support for making scholarly information more widely available by becoming a signatory to the Berlin Declaration.

On Oct. 24, Provost April Mason signed her name to the declaration on behalf of Kansas State University, adding our institution to an international list of some 300 universities, libraries, scientific institutes and academic associations who pledge support to an open access paradigm. This paradigm asserts that disseminating knowledge is not complete until information is made readily available to society. In real world terms, this means that publishing research in journals that restrict access to only those able to pay increasingly high subscription rates is not enough; that same research must be made available freely and openly to everyone, regardless of their institutional affiliation or ability to pay.  

The Berlin Declaration outlines steps that the signatories intend to take towards ensuring open access, which include:

  • encouraging researchers/grant recipients to publish their work according to the principles of the open access paradigm.
  • encouraging the holders of cultural heritage to support open access by providing their resources on the Internet.
  • developing means and ways to evaluate open access contributions and online-journals in order to maintain the standards of quality assurance and good scientific practice.
  • advocating that open access publication be recognized in promotion and tenure evaluation.
  • advocating the intrinsic merit of contributions to an open access infrastructure by software tool development, content provision, metadata creation, or the publication of individual articles.

“The K-State Libraries have worked to make the scholarly output of the university's faculty available without restriction, and supported transitions to open access publications wherever possible,” said Lori A. Goetch, dean of libraries. “Provost Mason’s signature on the declaration on behalf of the university demonstrates our administration’s commitment to making continued progress in these areas. We’re proud to join this international community and focus on the future of scholarly research.”

The Berlin Declaration arose from a 2003 conference organized by the Max Planck Society and the European Cultural Heritage Online  project. The declaration asserts that "the Internet has fundamentally changed the practical and economic realities of distributing scientific knowledge and cultural heritage. For the first time ever, the Internet now offers the chance to constitute a global and interactive representation of human knowledge, including cultural heritage and the guarantee of worldwide access.”