Development of Open Archives

Publié le 15 mai 2008

From the Director General

Attention : All Unit Directors

c/o the CNRS Regional Delegates

Dear Colleague :

The CNRS supports the international movement in favor of open archives. It endorsed the Berlin Declaration for the open access model to knowledge and signed it on 22 October 2003. The CNRS then took action by implementing the “HAL” pluridisciplinary archive hosted by its center for direct scientific communication (Centre pour la communication scientifique directe-CCSD), one of its service unit. The French Académie des Sciences officially expressed its strong support on 5 July 2005 and an inter-institution agreement (higher education establishments and research organisations) to use HAL is currently being signed.

This is why I would like you to invite all researchers in CNRS own or joint units to deposit in the HAL archive, whenever possible, the “manuscripts” of their work, so that they can be readily available to the international scientific community. HAL not only will immediately ensure greater visibility of research output, but it will also ensure long term preservation of any electronic document in an academic environment. Also, by creating a “collection” in the HAL database, laboratories and institutions will be able to easily identify their scientific output. Therefore, I urge you to take measures to ensure regular deposit. CNRS for its part will see to the permanent open access to these databases, to the long term preservation of the knowledge corpus thus assembled and to the stability of the addresses of the documents put online.

Of course this doesn’t mean that one should forgo publishing research articles in peer-reviewed journals. Scientific assessment by peers and the ensuing improvement to the texts submitted to scientific journals, and especially international journals, are basic components of scientific research. However, as major scientific communities have already demonstrated, publication through traditional channels is not incompatible with open access to research findings.

It is obvious that there are cases where the dissemination of research findings is inappropriate or impossible either through open access archives or traditional publishing channels. It is up to researchers and laboratories to judge whether or not to publish their findings. For example, attention should be paid not to divulge any confidential information that especially when it could be patented and to check whether the copyright   to the article to be deposited in an open archive has not been assigned to a publisher (see the guide for depositing and the good practice of Hal which sets forth the rules to follow concerning intellectual property ). Researchers in CNRS-only laboratories and in joint laboratories are encouraged to favor journals and publishers whose policies are compatible with deposit in HAL, being understood that the researchers themselves are the best to judge whether this is feasible depending on what is best for each discipline.

It is always possible to deposit in HAL the bibliographic reference of a publication when it is inappropriate to deposit the full-text in the archive.

I am confident that I can count on you to help foster open access to knowledge.


Arnold MIGUS
Director General, CNRS

French version