Open Access in Argentina

Silvia Nakano

Open Access in Argentina


Silvia Nakano – National Director of Physical Resources in Science and Technology Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation of Production, Argentina

(interviewer: Michał Starczewski)


On November 13th, 2013, the Argentinian parliament unanimously passed the law on Open Access to publicly funded research outputs. Could you present and explain the main points of the law?

Main points of the Law Nr. 26.899 are:

1. It establishes the responsibilities of actors involved in scientific research processes to provide open access to their results for the scientific community and the general public, defining reasonable timeframe for the release and availability of data and information produced.

2. The Law has jurisdiction over the following persons, individual or institutional:

a. Public bodies and institutions of the National System of Science, Technology and Innovation (SNCTI) that receive funding from the Federal Government have to:

i. Develop open access institutional digital repositories (OAIDR) to deposit the scientific and technological production from own research activity which passed through a quality assessment process, regardless if it has been published or not.

ii. Establish policies for public access to primary research data through open access institutional digital repositories or National Data Portals, as well as institutional policies for management and long-term preservation.

iii. Create repositories compatible with internationally adopted standards for interoperability and ensure free access to their documents and data over the Internet or other information technologies appropriate for the purpose, providing the necessary conditions for protection of the rights of the institution and the authors.

b. Researchers, technologists, professors, postdoctoral fellows and master’s and doctoral students whose research activity is financed with public funds, have to:

i. Deposit or expressly authorize the submission of a copy, of the final version of scientific and/or technological production published or accepted for publication in open access institutional digital repositories, within a six months period from the date of their official publication or approval.

ii. Deposit primary research data in institutional repositories or digital archives, owned or shared, that should be publicly available no later than five years from the time of collection, according to the policies established by the institutions as explained above, being able to exclude the diffusion of primary data in cases where it should remain confidential for strategic or national security reasons.

c. Government agencies granting or funding research projects that result in the generation of primary data, documents and / or publications, have to include clauses containing contract terms for the presentation of a management plan to ensure public availability of results, according to the specificities of the subject area.

d. Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation of Production is the executive authority of this Law.

3. Exemptions from the above obligations: In case of research outputs protected by industrial property rights and / or previous third parties’ agreements, authors should provide and allow public access to the metadata of such intellectual works and / or primary data, providing complete information of them and should provide access to the full content from the time of its release.

4. Violations of the provisions of this law by the actors (institutions or individuals) turn them not eligible for public financial support for future research.

Could you describe the process of passing the law? Who supported OA? Was there some disscusion between political parties? Who were the main stakeholders? Was there somebody who tried to prevent the bill from passing?

In April 2010, the Ministry of Science presented a bill to the Committee on Science of the House of Representatives (our Parliament is bicameral). With the assistance of officials from the Ministry, the discussions in the House focused on the scope of the obligations that would be stated by of the future law. Such was the receptivity that discussions were betting that this Bill also should reach the scientific production of private institutions, since the Representatives understood that knowledge or innovation resulting from research could also be partially or indirectly subsidized by public funds. In other words, the deputies understood that scientific production developed by private institutions should also be released in open access. In this context, the draft was approved by both committees on Science and Budget and Finance, obtaining the initial approval unanimously by the Deputies in May 2012.

The discussion in the Senate, where the Provinces of this Federal Republic are represented also took place in two different Committees: on Science and on Communication. As requested by Senators, officials of the Ministry of Science explained the project and its context. Before the last presentation, a Senator argued the need for a debate on the issue of intellectual property. For this, two renowned lawyers in the country, experts on Copyright and Industrial Property were invited but guests did not attend the meeting and the president of the Committee asked for voting without further delay. The vote was again unanimous.

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