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UNESCO Publications to Be Free Under Open License
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), a specialized agency of the U.N., announced that it will make its digital publications available to people around the world free of charge with an open license. Following a decision by the Executive Board in April, UNESCO became the first member of the U.N. to adopt such an open access (OA) policy for its publications.
The new policy means that anyone will be able to download, translate, adapt, distribute, and re-share UNESCO publications and data without paying. By adopting this new publishing policy, UNESCO aligns its practice with its advocacy work in favor of OA and strengthens its commitment to the universal access to information and knowledge.
The OA movement was born in the scientific community to address the spiraling costs of the scientific literature, which is essential to researchers. A wide range of universities, institutions, and governments support it as an alternative to the traditional model of knowledge dissemination through costly academic journals.
Starting in July 2013, hundreds of downloadable digital UNESCO publications will be available to users through a new OA repository with a multilingual interface. All new publications will be released with an open license. UNESCO will also seek ways to apply it retroactively (i.e., to works already published). If UNESCO enters into special agreements with publishing partners, the OA policy need not apply. Co-publishers will be strongly encouraged to adhere to the requirements of the new policy.
By championing OA for its publications, UNESCO reinforces a fundamental goal of an intergovernmental organization—to ensure that all the knowledge it creates is made available to the widest possible audience.
The full text of the policy is available on UNESCO's website. The new publishing policy is in line with UNESCO’s Open Access to Scientific Information Strategy and its main components as well as its work on Open Educational Resources and Free and Open Source Software.
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