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Members of the International Science Council commit to working for change in scientific publication and adopting eight principles for reform




The international scientific community, represented by the membership of the International Council of Science (ISC), has strongly supported a resolution recognizing the urgent need to reform the current system of scientific publishing and is committed to working towards this goal. International trade unions and disciplinary associations, national academies and regional scientific bodies that make up ISC membership voted to adopt eight basic principles for efficient and effective scientific publishing systems. The principles adopted include open universal access to science data and its preservation for future generations, better use of the tools of the digital revolution, reform of peer review systems, and accountability of publishing systems to the scientific community and institutions. his.

Contemporary scientific publishing systems are being established under the pressure of an explosion of demand and technological change, with much vital scientific knowledge locked behind costly walls, inaccessible to researchers working in poorly funded environments and beyond the reach of many people who can take advantage of the search. findings.

Scientific publication is essential for maintaining rigor and scientific progress, as well as for the international cooperation needed to solve global problems, as illustrated in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Efficient and accessible publishing systems are critical to ensuring that the latest scientific knowledge is quickly and freely available in the public domain, as a basis for enhancing human understanding and addressing the challenges faced by individuals and societies, from treatment of chronic diseases until the creation of roads to sustainability.

The resolution adopted by ISC members and their commitment to work for change is an important step towards strengthening the voice of science in the evolution of its publishing systems and in establishing common principles on which scientific publishers should be held accountable. . The eight principles aim to be resilient to changes in technology and ways of working, adaptable to the needs of different geographies and disciplines and applicable across the spectrum of scientific endeavor.

Geoffrey Boulton, Member of the ISC Board of Directors and Chairman of the ISCs Project for the Future of Scientific Publication, said:

The adoption of these basic principles shows that the various calls for scientific publishing reform are gaining critical momentum and intensity. The scientific community is the main consumer and audience for scientific publications. The council expects to work for change with its membership representatives through a common-purpose coalition.

The principles were developed in discussion with ISC membership over the past 18 months and are set out in the 2021 edition Opening the Science Record: Making Study Publication Work for Science in the Digital Age.

The project on the future of scientific publications is overseen by a steering group representing diverse actors from around the world, who will guide the Council’s work towards sustainable change in the coming years. Steps towards reform include the normalization of tools such as preprints and duplicate publications; innovative approaches to peer review and long-term treatment of scientific data; and developing sustainable business models for publishing learned society. ISC members also expressed overwhelming support for the scientific community to take a leading role in the governance of open science, building on existing community-controlled infrastructure for scientific publishing. The resolution was adopted at the General Assembly of the International Council of Science that took place between 12 and 15 October 2021.

Further quotes:

The Latin American Council for the Social Sciences (CLACSO) endorses these principles for reforming the scientific community-governed scientific publication to allow open universal access, both for authors and readers, without barriers to participation, especially those based on ability to pay, institutional privilege, language or geography and respect for the bibliodiversity of different disciplines and regions.

Dominique Babini, Open Science Advisor at the Latin American Council for Social Sciences (CLACSO) and member of the project steering group.

The COVID-19 pandemic puts great stress and strain on the global science system and we have learned a lot about its relationship to society as it navigates the link between self, power, politics and profit. But we have also seen how the pandemic deepened the fragmentation and inequalities that characterize the scientific system. At the heart of this is opening up access to all forms of science data and this ISC project is addressing this. It has the potential to contribute to the reshaping of the relationship between science and society.

Ahmed Bawa, Chief Executive Officer of South African Universities and member of the project steering group.

I support these reform principles and firmly believe that the time has come for university-based publishing entities around the world to play a much greater role in research dissemination and open knowledge infrastructure.

Amy Brand, Director and Publisher of MIT Press and member of the project management team.

The eight principles adopted by ISC Membership are:

  1. There should be universal open access to science data, for both authors and readers, without barriers to participation, especially those based on pay, institutional privileges, language or geography.
  2. Scientific publications must have open licenses that allow the reuse and extraction of text and data.
  3. Rigorous and ongoing review should continue to play a key role in the creation and storage of public science data.
  4. The data and observations on which a true published claim is based must be both accessible for review and supported by the necessary metadata.
  5. Science records must be stored in such a way as to provide open access for future generations.
  6. The publishing traditions of the various disciplines must be respected, recognizing at the same time the importance of linking their contributions to the joint venture of knowledge.
  7. Publishing systems need to be designed so that they are constantly adapted to new opportunities for beneficial change rather than embedding inflexible systems that impede change.
  8. The governance of scientific knowledge dissemination processes must be accountable to the scientific community.

About the International Science Council

The International Science Council (ISC) is committed to a vision of science as a global public good. It works globally to catalyze and gather scientific expertise, advice and influence on issues of major interest to both science and society. ISC is a non-governmental organization with a unique global membership that brings together over 200 international Scientific Unions and Associations, as well as regional and national scientific organizations including Academies and Research Councils. The ISC was established in 2018 as a result of a merger between the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the International Council for Social Sciences (ISSC). It is the only international non-governmental organization that unites the natural and social sciences and the largest global science organization of its kind.

For more information about ISC, see and follow ISC on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and to YouTube.


Lizzie Sayer, Senior Communications Officer, International Science Council
[email protected]
+33 (0) 1 45 25 57 76

Download this announcement as a PDF.

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