MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING for a coordinated approach on a national level to open archiving of scientific output

Publié le 25 avril 2008

In 2006, French Research Institutions, Universities and prestigious Higher Education Establishments have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the joint development and management of a shared platform for scientific outputs.
You will find below the English version produced by INIST-CNRS.


  • During the past few years, networks of disciplinary archives and institutional repositories for scientific findings and scholarly publications have been developing across the globe on an open archive basis ;
  • ArXiv in the field of physics and PubMed Central in the field of life sciences are two representative examples of disciplinary archives ; also a number of European academic institutional archives (Lund, Southampton, Bielefeld, etc.) are good international examples and worthy of consideration ;
  • At the institutional level, the Open Access movement is spreading across the continents and research institutions are looking for long-term preservation of their scientific output and for maximum visibility within international communities.
  • Various French research institutions, such as CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)[1], INRA (Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique)[2], INRIA (Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et en Automatique)[3], INSERM (Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale)[4] and IRD (Institut de Recherche pour le Développement)[5], have undertaken to adopt such an institutional approach to archiving after signing the milestone Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities on 22nd October 2003, and have encouraged their researchers to post their scientific findings in open archives ;
  • French universities support the open access movement and some have developed local archives or are in the process of doing so ;
  • Access to scientific information is a major factor of development for emerging and developing countries ;
  • On 5th July 2005, the French Academy of Sciences expressed its support for direct scientific communication ;
  • The CNRS Center for Direct Scientific Communication (Centre pour la Communication Scientifique Directe - CCSD) introduced in 2001 the HAL server, a storage and dissemination tool for the self-archiving of scientific findings. The data in this shared repository can be uploaded directly, or via a special interface such as Hal-INRIA, or indirectly with the institution’s own system, after smooth interfacing with HAL, whose recent developments, in partnership with INRIA, might lead to making it an open source software ;
  • Organisation of the French public research system combines the main operators through joint units and joint projects ;
  • The signatories of this Memorandum of Understanding, CEMAGREF[6], CIRAD (Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement)[7], CNRS, CPU (Conférence des présidents d’université)[8], INRA, INRIA, INSERM, Institut Pasteur[9], IRD, and CGE (Conférence des Grandes Ecoles)[10], (hereinafter “the Partners”), wish to acquire the necessary means to identify, disseminate, develop, promote and monitor the scientific output of their faculty members and researchers, within their research units and laboratories and, where applicable, of affiliated research teams. In order to maximise the chances of success of the project, the Partners have decided to join forces to acquire a common platform for archiving scientific findings which is interoperable with other open archives that meet the criteria for open access to scientific findings. The platform will allow researchers to communicate their findings directly to the international community via open archives ; it will enable research institutions (universities, public scientific and technical institutions (EPSTs)) and specialized higher education establishments (Grandes Ecoles)[11] to collect, publish, develop, promote and preserve their scientific findings, therefore improving the visibility of French research in general within the international scientific community ;
  • The Partners wish to be joined by other research institutions and other players in the scientific research field.

The Partners have decided to sign the following Memorandum of Understanding :

Article 1 : Purpose

The purpose of the Memorandum of Understanding is to define the terms and conditions of a coordinated open archiving approach, particularly through the joint development and management of a shared platform for posting preprints and postprints.

The data can be uploaded to the platform directly, via a special interface, or indirectly with the institution’s own system which allows data transfer to the joint platform and complying with the platform’s data model. The joint platform must be as open as possible to other research and higher education establishments.

The partnership will be based on actions decided upon and monitored by the Strategic Committee as defined in Article 2 of this Memorandum of Understanding and implemented by a Scientific and Technical Committee defined in Article 3 of the Memorandum.

Throughout the agreement, the joint operating and interchange procedures between the shared platform and local self-archiving systems will be studied through pilot sites whose feedback will be used to validate the data archiving and interchange conditions.

At the end of the Memorandum of Understanding’ duration, the above actions must enable the most appropriate framework to be defined for perpetuating the platform shared by the signatory Partners and any new partners.

Article 2 : Strategic Committee

2-1 Tasks

A Strategic Committee will be responsible for defining and monitoring the strategic objectives, defining a work plan for the actions to be undertaken and defining, at the end of the Memorandum, the most appropriate framework for perpetuating the shared platform. It will appoint the members of the Scientific and Technical Committee defined in Article 3.

2-2 Members

The Strategic Committee will comprise representatives of the Ministry in charge of higher education and research, and representatives of the following partners :

For the Ministry in charge of higher education and research :

  • The director of higher education or his/her representative,
  • The director of research or his/her representative,
  • The director of technology or his/her representative.


  • The first vice-president of CPU or his/her representative,
  • The president in charge of scientific and technical information at CPU,
  • The president of the Couperin[12] consortium or his/her representative,
  • The president of the Agency for the Mutualization of Higher Education Institutions (Agence de Mutualisation des Universités et des Etablissements de l’enseignement supérieur - AMUE)[13] or his/her representative.

For CNRS :

  • The Director General or his/her representative,
  • The chair of the open archive steering committee (Comité de pilotage des archives ouvertes - CPAO) at CNRS.


  • The Chair and Managing Director represented by the person in charge of innovation and IT systems.


  • The Chair and Managing Director represented by the person in charge of scientific information and communication.


  • The Director General represented by the person in charge of information and communication.

For IRD :

  • The Director General represented by the director of the information and communication delegation.

The Strategic Committee will meet at least once every quarter and a revolving presidency system will be used.

The coordinator of the Scientific and Technical Committee (see below) will attend the meetings of the Strategic Committee without voting rights and will take the minutes of the meeting.

Article 3 : Scientific and Technical Committee

The Scientific and Technical Committee, consisting of scientific and technical representatives of the organisations involved in the actions to be carried out, will be responsible for implementing and carrying out the actions according to a work plan defined by the Strategic Committee. Some of the actions are given in the appendix, by way of indication and without being exhaustive.

The Scientific and Technical Committee will choose a coordinator from among its members to sit on the Strategic Committee, and give every three months a progress report on current actions.

The Committee can create working groups and appoint experts to help it to carry out its task.

Article 4 : Terms and conditions of actions

The actions defined in Article 1 (Purpose) may be the subject of specific agreements between the Partners (hereinafter called “Specific Agreements”) which shall include, as applicable, the proposed budget, the human resources allocated and the infrastructure and equipment to be used for each of the Partners.

The Partners hereby agree that the resources provided by each of them may vary according to their particular administrative and/or budgetary constraints. However, they shall use their best efforts to maintain and increase the above resources whenever possible.

The specific agreements may, under special circumstances, take the form of an exchange of letters between the Partners’ representatives, provided said letters explicitly refer to this Memorandum.

The said actions may be the subject of Specific Agreements designed to welcome new partners after approval by the Strategic Committee.

The said actions shall not interfere in any way with bilateral protocols between the signatories of this Memorandum.

The Partners shall develop a joint strategy and communication, in order to attract researchers.

The Partners shall each work in their particular field to encourage a maximum number of research and higher education organisations to join the project.

Article 5 : Term

This Memorandum of Understanding is concluded for a period of two (2) years. Any amendment or renewal of the Memorandum shall be subject to an amendment signed by all the Partners.

Signed in Paris on the sixth day of July 2006.

For CEMAGREF, the Director General

For CIRAD, the Director General

For CNRS, the Director General

For CPU, the First Vice-President

For INRA, the Chair and Managing Director

For INRIA, the Chair and Managing Director

For INSERM, the Director General

For Institut PASTEUR, the Director General

For IRD, the Director General

For Conférence des Grandes Ecoles, the President.


By way of indication, and without being exhaustive, the following actions may be undertaken :

  • Campaign to raise awareness among the scientific community ;
  • Naming of institutions and their component parts ;
  • Nomenclature of disciplines ;
  • Definition of core metadata ;
  • Coordination of local systems (including local archives)/shared platform and data interchange ;
  • Long-term archiving with definition of collaboration with CINES (Centre Informatique National de l’Enseignement Supérieur)[14] and ABES (Agence bibliographique de l’enseignement supérieur)[15] in this respect ;
  • Definition of work procedures and complementarity of skills, particularly within establishments ;
  • Definition of requirements in terms of assistance to researchers depositing in archives, particularly legal expertise.

1. National Centre for Scientific Research.
2. National Institute for Agricultural Research.
3. National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control.
4. National Institute for Medical and Health Research.
5. Research Institute for Development.
6. Research Institute for Agricultural Engineering and the Environment.
7. International Cooperation Centre for Agronomic Research for Development.
8. Conference of University Presidents.
9. A non-profit private foundation which contributes to the prevention and treatment of disease, primarily infectious diseases, through research, education, and public health activities.
10. A non-profit organisation consisting of “Grande Ecole” higher education establishments, foreign universities and other higher education institutions and organisations.
11. Prestigious French specialized higher education establishment with a highly selective admission process.
12. University Library Consortium in France.
13. Organisation responsible for coordinating cooperation among French universities.
14. French national IT centre for higher education establishments.
15. Higher Education Bibliographic Agency, organisation responsible for management and development of the bibliographic catalogue for higher education establishments.

Texte de référence en langue française