Swedish MPs hear about Open Access

Openaccess.se today (Nov 7) reports on a meeting between representatives from the openaccess.se initiative and some forty Members of Parliament and civil servants (in Swedish only). This was apparently the first time the ongoing discussion about OA was discussed in such a forum. The meeting was arranged by the Riksdagsbiblioteket (Parliamentary Library).

Questions that were raised were:

• Why are scientific data and research results not freely accessible to all citizens?
• Why do we accept that researchers with public financial support “give away” their research results to commercial publishers?
• Why do organizations, companies and authorities need to “buy back” the right to access those results at high costs?

Inge-Bert Täljedal, former Chancellor of Umeå University, claimed that Open Access is in line with the principle of public access to official records, of which Sweden is a strong advocate. He presented suggestions and ideas for legal changes such that Sweden does not risk lagging behind in this respect vis-à-vis other countries.

Håkan Billig, Secretary General of the Medical Scientific Council of the Swedish Research Council and responsible for drawing up guidelines for and implementing the Research Council’s publication policies, said that the Research Council supports the principle of Open Access and is investigating ways to implement it practically (he has previously hinted that a policy will be made official in December).