News & Media

Leading North American institutions endorse the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge

For immediate release
November 9, 2011

Washington, DC – Thirty-three research institutions, associations, and foundations in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico have made a commitment to Open Access to research by signing the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities. These top private, public, and non-profit organizations join nearly 300 more from around the world in another clear sign of the growing demand for change in the way scientific and scholarly research results are communicated and maximized. The announcement is made in conjunction with the ninth Berlin conference, at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, which opened today. 

The Berlin Declaration promotes the Internet as a medium for disseminating global knowledge. Its goal is to make scientific and scholarly research more accessible to the broader public by taking full advantage of the possibilities offered by digital electronic communication. Signatories support actions that ensure the future Web is sustainable, interactive, and transparent – and that content is openly accessible – in order to realize the vision of a global and accessible representation of knowledge. The leaders of research institutions, libraries, archives, museums, funding agencies, and governments from around the world have signed the Declaration – including CERN, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Academia Europaea, and the German Max Planck Society (co-initiator and custodian).

North American signatories now include leading private research institutions (such as Harvard University and Duke University), public research institutions (University of Kansas, University of California-Los Angeles), Canadian research campuses (Concordia University, University of Quebec in Montreal), smaller academic institutions (Oberlin College, Grand Valley State University), non-profit organizations (Alliance for Information Science and Technology Innovation, Science Commons), major library coalitions (SPARC, the Association of Research Libraries, Canadian Library Association), and the Open Society Foundations (architect of the Budapest Open Access Initiative). 
The full list is available at
New signatory and Kansas University Provost Jeffrey S. Vitter emphasizes the university has been a leader in the Open Access movement as the first public institution in the United States to adopt a faculty-wide open-access policy. “Signing the Berlin Declaration is another step forward in this effort, and we are pleased to join the many fine institutions that are also committed to Open Access to scholarly research," said Vitter, who is also speaking as part of this week’s conference. 
Duke University’s Deborah Jakubs, Rita DiGiallonardo Holloway University Librarian & Vice Provost for Library Affairs, affirmed that institution’s involvement. “At Duke our interest in Open Access initiatives stems from our long-standing willingness to experiment to find the best models for scholarly communication and from our institutional commitment to putting knowledge in the service of society,” she said. “Signing the Berlin Declaration was a logical extension of commitments and values that we have held for a long time."
Sean Decatur, Dean of the Colleges of Arts and Sciences at Oberlin College, adds: 
“The faculty of Oberlin College have made a commitment to disseminating the results of their research as widely as possible.  That principled commitment is an expression of the view that Open Access to scholarship is an important step for the advancement of knowledge, helping to overcome barriers that restrict, rather than encourage, the sharing of ideas and engagement in discourse.  I am pleased that our faculty is so strongly supportive of Open Access and I am honored to sign the Berlin Declaration on their behalf.”   
The cohort of North American signatories to the Berlin Declaration will be saluted at the conference-wide dinner this evening. Registration is full, but interested representatives of the media are invited to contact Jennifer McLennan, Conference Director, with inquiries. 
The Berlin 9 Conference is organized by representatives from the science, humanities, research, funding and policy communities, including the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Marine Biological Laboratory, the Max Planck Society, Association of Research Libraries, and SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition). It takes place today and tomorrow, November 10.
For more information about the Declaration and how to sign, visit
For details about the Berlin 9 Conference, visit  
For more information, contact:
-- Jennifer McLennan, SPARC, (202) 631-8854, jennifer [at] arl [dot] org
-- Christoph Bruch, Max Planck Society, +49 (30) 84 13 37 27, bruch [at] mpdl [dot] mpg [dot] de
-- Avice Meehan, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, (301) 215-8646, meehana [at] hhmi [dot] org
-- Prudence S. Adler, Association of Research Libraries, (202) 296-2296, prue [at] arl [dot] org
-- Andrea Early, Marine Biological Laboratory, (508) 289-7652, aearly [at] mbl [dot] edu
The Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities, issued in 2003 by international research, scientific, and cultural institutions, promotes the Internet as a medium for disseminating global knowledge. It has been signed by the leaders of over 300 research institutions, libraries, archives, museums, funding agencies, and governments from around the world. 
The Berlin Open Access Conference Series supports the continued adoption and realization of the principles of the declaration and has been hosted in Germany, Switzerland, England, Italy, France, and – most recently – China. Berlin 9 will mark the first such meeting to take place in North America. 
For more information about the conference and the Berlin Declaration, visit 

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Jennifer McLennan

(202) 29602296 ext. 121
jennifer [at] arl [dot] org
Washington, DC

Christoph Bruch

The Max Planck Society
+ 49 (30) 84 13 37 27
bruch [at] mpdl [dot] mpg [dot] de

Andrea Early

Marine Biological Laborator
(508) 289-7652
aearly [at] mbl [dot] edu
Woods Hole, ME