The open access movement, which broadly seeks to remove barriers to reading and publishing scientific articles, has grown into a broad coalition of stakeholders transforming scholarly communication. No longer confined to librarians, publishers, and scholarly communication experts, a majority of researchers have now been thrust willingly or unwillingly into negotiating the future of scholarly communication.
Researchers feel the effects of an outdated publishing ecosystem on a regular basis. Attaching a PDF to an email can result in a personal lawsuit against you. Sharing your article online may lead to a cease and desist letter. You mistakenly cite an article that was retracted years ago because it’s not properly labeled. Publication of years worth of work is held up because of a single, politically motivated reviewer. The celebration of an acceptance email is muted by an unpayable publication charge. And perhaps worst of all, even after paying an exorbitant open access fee, you discover your article carelessly left locked behind a paywall.
This generation of researchers knows we cannot wait for someone else to solve these problems. We are publicly standing up for our basic rights as researchers. We are making our voices heard. This time is different.
This defining moment for the research community is where FORCE11’s Declaration of Researcher Rights in Negotiating the Future of Scholarly Communication comes in. Over the past year, a diverse working group of stakeholders has synthesized a comprehensive set of independent principles documents from across the scholarly communication landscape to create a single, cohesive set of fundamental researcher rights in scholarly communication.
With this document, FORCE11 (a community of scholars, librarians, publishers and funders) has taken an important step to accelerate and amplify the voice of researchers in the ongoing, often complex negotiation of the future of scholarly communication.
The Declaration was written specifically for use in negotiations with publishers and service providers. It can be taken as is and sent directly to your institution’s team negotiating contracts. It can also be easily adapted and refined for your specific needs and applications. It can serve as a conversation starter, a shared set of values, or as a rallying point around which to organize. If your institution is too small to have it’s own formal negotiation team, this document can be your own hard-hitting negotiating team.
This document is more than a petition. It is not just a plea for publishers or any other power brokers to change their ways and start acting. It is the future you personally insist on, the future you are planning for, and the future you’ll instill in the next generation. It’s a declaration of your own individual rights as a scholar, a call for your colleagues to stand with you, and a simple and effective way to ensure your values have a seat at the negotiating table.
At the end of the day, this Declaration provides a simple, powerful way for researchers from any institution big or small, regardless of how many resources you have for negotiation, to stand up and assert their basic rights to access, contribute to, and use the scholarly literature.
If your university is currently negotiating the future of scholarly communication on your behalf, use this Declaration of Researcher Rights in Negotiating the Future of Scholarly Communication.
Tweak it, mix it, share it, grow it, make it, and empower it. If you have questions, reach out to us. If it works, or if it doesn’t, let us know about it! Together, we’ll make sure we all have a stronger voice in negotiating the future of scholarly communication.
Cite the Declaration: https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.5013929
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