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Scientific publishing online,and the question of open access. Why such a long delay?

12 May 2005
Christine Kosmopoulos
Cet article est une traduction de :
La publication scientifique en ligne et le libre accès. Pourquoi tant de retard ?

Notes de la rédaction

we wish to pay tribute here to our former webmaster, Ky Nguyen, who founded Cybergeo, and watched over its development until the moment when he could claim his right to a well-deserved retirement.

Texte intégral

1In October of 2003 in Berlin, twenty directors of European research institutes (the CNRS, INSERM, the Max Plank Institute), ratified a Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities, in which they committed themselves to supporting all initiatives based on the paradigm of free access on the Internet. In February 2005, the Berlin 3 Conference, held in Southampton, encouraged researchers to publish in journals offering free access. But while this model is being increasingly developed in the "hard" sciences, digitalization, and more particularly, "open access", are sorely lacking in the human sciences. Recognizing this, several organizations in France (the CNRS, the Ministère de la recherche [the Ministry of Research]) decided to help to put scientific journals in the Human and Social Sciences (SHS) online. It must be recognized, however, that the French journals in SHS that are offered on the Web are for the most part only accessible after payment. The only free access is to back issues that are one or two years old. In no way does online publication mean free access.

2Two different approaches to scientific publishing online can be observed. The first sees it as a continuation of the commercial status of the printed version, through important editors or scholarly societies; the second sees in the development of new forms of publishing the possibility of reforming the distribution of scientific knowledge. On the one hand, publishing online gives back to the scientific community the result of its labours, and on the other, it benefits other, general Internet users, even those less well off, who would clearly be unable to bear the coast of journal subscriptions. It has been a test of strength, but we remain convinced of the rightness of our decision, and confident for the future.

3Indeed the situation of Cybergeo, which has always been a pioneer in scientific cyberspace, and is celebrating nine years of existence this year, is getting better and better: the submission of articles has quadrupled in five years, there is increasing variety in the backgrounds of authors (a sign that the journal is touching a geographically wide public), publication deadlines are a quarter the length of those for a printed journal, our articles are accessible and readable in free formats from general research engines, while at the same time available on scientific ones like Scirus . Our inclusion in the Scopus database should significantly increase the level of our impact. All in all, it has been a choice that has seemed to us to provide ample justification for the time the members of our international editorial board have so generously committed to it. In addition to the satisfaction of participating in a movement in the distribution of science that is a harbinger of a new era in scientific communication, they deserve to be congratulated for the international recognition that our journal is now receiving.

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Christine Kosmopoulos, « Scientific publishing online,and the question of open access. Why such a long delay? », Cybergeo: European Journal of Geography [En ligne], Éditoriaux, mis en ligne le 12 mai 2005, consulté le 30 septembre 2022. URL :

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Christine Kosmopoulos

christine.kosmopoulos@parisgeo.cnrs.frcnrs-umr 8504 geographie-cites

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