(For a PDF version of the Washington D.C. Principles for Free Access to Science including the Signatories and Background, please click here.)
(March 16, 2004) - Washington, DC – As scholarly, not-for-profit publishers, we reaffirm our commitment to innovative and independent publishing practices and to promoting the wide dissemination of information in our journals. Not-for-profit scientific, technical, and medical publishers are an integral part of the broader scholarly communities supporting scientists, researchers, and clinicians. We work in partnership with scholarly communities to ensure that these communities are sustained and extended, science is advanced, research meets the highest standards, and patient care is enhanced with accurate and timely information.
We continue to support broad access to the scientific and medical literature through the following publishing principles and practices.
1. As not-for-profit publishers, we see it as our mission to maintain and enhance the independence, rigor, trust, and visibility that have established scholarly journals as reliable filters of information emanating from clinical and laboratory research.
2. As not-for-profit publishers, we reinvest the revenue from our journals in the support of science worldwide, including scholarships, scientific meetings, grants, educational outreach, advocacy for research funding, the free dissemination of information for the public, and improvements in scientific publishing.
3. As not-for-profit publishers, we have introduced and will continue to support the following forms of free access:
Selected important articles of interest are free online from the time of publication;
The full text of our journals is freely available to everyone worldwide either immediately or within months of publication, depending on each publisher’s business and publishing requirements;
The content of our journals is available free to scientists working in many low-income nations;
Articles are made available free online through reference linking between these journals;
Our content is available for indexing by major search engines so that readers worldwide can easily locate information.
4. We will continue to work to develop long-term preservation solutions for online journals to ensure the ongoing availability of the scientific literature.
5. We will continue to work with authors, peer-reviewers, and editors for the development of robust online and electronic tools to improve efficiency of their important intellectual endeavors.
6. We strongly support the principle that publication fees should not be borne solely by researchers and their funding institutions, because the ability to publish in scientific journals should be available equally to all scientists worldwide, no matter what their economic circumstances.
7. As not-for-profit publishers, we believe that a free society allows for the co-existence of many publishing models, and we will continue to work closely with our publishing colleagues to set high standards for the scholarly publishing enterprise.