Open Access picsThe Declaration, issued at an international conference on October 22, 2003, has been signed by a total of 46 African Universities.

The Berlin Declaration represents one of the milestones of open access. It advocates open access to current research results as well as to cultural heritage.

The need for Open Access

In realizing the vision of a global and accessible representation of knowledge, the future Web has to be sustainable, interactive, and transparent. Content and software tools must be openly accessible and compatible.

The Internet has fundamentally changed the practical and economic realities of distributing scientific knowledge and cultural heritage. It now offers the chance to constitute a global and interactive representation of human knowledge, including cultural heritage and the guarantee of worldwide access.

It is necessary to address the challenges of the Internet as an emerging functional medium for distributing knowledge as these developments wield the ability to significantly modify the nature of scientific publishing as well as the existing system of quality assurance,.

About Open Access

  • Open-access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. What makes it possible is the internet and the consent of the author or copyright-holder.
  • OA is entirely compatible with peer review, and all the major OA initiatives for scientific and scholarly literature insist on its importance. Just as authors of journal articles donate their labor, so do most journal editors and referees participating in peer review.
  • OA literature is not free to produce, even if it is less expensive to produce than conventionally published literature. The question is not whether scholarly literature can be made costless, but whether there are better ways to pay the bills than by charging readers and creating access barriers. Business models for paying the bills depend on how OA is delivered.

Purpose of the Berlin Declaration

It is for organizations to declare openly the further promotion of the new open access paradigm to gain the most benefit for science and society, and to make progress by;

  • encouraging researchers/grant recipients to publish their work according to the principles of the open access paradigm.
  • encouraging 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.

Call for institutions to sign the Berlin Declaration

Governments, universities, research institutions, funding agencies, foundations, libraries, museums, archives, learned societies and professional associations who share the vision expressed in the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities are encouraged to join the signatories that have already signed the Declaration.

List of the 46 African Higher Education Institutions that have signed the Berlin Declaration

Université d´Abomey-Calavi, Benin; Université de Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso; Universite de Dschang, Cameroon; University of Buea, Cameroon; University of Yaounde I, Cameroon; Institut Pasteur de Bangui, Central African Republic; Mansoura Faculty of Medicine, Egypt; Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Egypt; Arba Minch College of Health Sciences, Ethiopia; Addis Continental Institute of Public Health, Ethiopia; Mekelle University, Ethiopia; Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia; Jimma University, Ethiopia; University of Ghana, Ghana; Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana; Kenyatta University, Kenya; University of Nairobi, Kenya; Maseno University, Kenya; National University of Lesotho, Lesotho; University of Science Techniques and Technologies of Bamako, Mali; Rabat Medical & Pharmacy School, Morocco; National Institute Of Oncology, Morocco; Covenant University Ota, Nigeria; University of Rwanda, Rwanda; Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa; National Research Foundation Of South Africa, South Africa; North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa; Rhodes University, South Africa; University of the Western Cape, South Africa ; Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa; Durban University of Technology, South Africa; University of Witwatersrand, South Africa; Academy of Science of South Africa; University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa; University of South Africa, South Africa; University of Cape Town, South Africa; University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa; Library And Information Association Of South Africa, South Africa; University of Pretoria, South Africa; University of Johannesburg, South Africa; Stellenbosch University, South Africa; Catholic University of Health and Allied Sciences, Tanzania; Ifakara Health Institute, Tanzania; Mbarara University of Science & Technology, Uganda; Midlands State University, Zimbabwe; National University of Science and Technology Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

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