Brussels Declaration

by the international scientific, technical and medical (STM) publishing community as represented by the individual publishing houses and publishing trade associations, who have indicated their assent below.

You can download this as a PDF document.

Many declarations have been made about the need for particular business models in the STM information community. STM publishers have largely remained silent on these matters as the majority are agnostic about business models: what works, works. However, despite very significant investment and a massive rise in access to scientific information, our community continues to be beset by propositions and manifestos on the practice of scholarly publishing. Unfortunately the measures proposed have largely not been investigated or tested in any evidence-based manner that would pass rigorous peer review. In the light of this, and based on over ten years experience in the economics of online publishing and our longstanding collaboration with researchers and librarians, we have decided to publish a declaration of principles which we believe to be self-evident.

  1. The mission of publishers is to maximise the dissemination of knowledge through economically self-sustaining business models. We are committed to change and innovation that will make science more effective. We support academic freedom: authors should be free to choose where they publish in a healthy, undistorted free market
  2. Publishers organise, manage and financially support the peer review processes of STM journals. The imprimatur that peer-reviewed journals give to accepted articles (registration, certification, dissemination and editorial improvement) is irreplaceable and fundamental to scholarship
  3. Publishers launch, sustain, promote and develop journals for the benefit of the scholarly community
  4. Current publisher licensing models are delivering massive rises in scholarly access to research outputs.Publishers have invested heavily to meet the challenges of digitisation and the annual 3% volume growth of the international scholarly literature, yet less than 1% of total R&D is spent on journals
  5. Copyright protects the investment of both authors and publishers. Respect for copyright encourages the flow of information and rewards creators and entrepreneurs
  6. Publishers support the creation of rights-protected archives that preserve scholarship in perpetuity
  7. Raw research data should be made freely available to all researchers. Publishers encourage the public posting of the raw data outputs of research. Sets or sub-sets of data that are submitted with a paper to a journal should wherever possible be made freely accessible to other scholars
  8. Publishing in all media has associated costs. Electronic publishing has costs not found in print publishing. The costs to deliver both are higher than print or electronic only. Publishing costs are the same whether funded by supply-side or demand-side models. If readers or their agents (libraries) don't fund publishing, then someone else (e.g. funding bodies, government) must
  9. Open deposit of accepted manuscripts risks destabilising subscription revenues and undermining peer review.Articles have economic value for a considerable time after publication which embargo periods must reflect. At 12 months, on average, electronic articles still have 40-50% of their lifetime downloads to come. Free availability of significant proportions of a journal’s content may result in its cancellation and therefore destroy the peer review system upon which researchers and society depend
  10. “One size fits all” solutions will not work. Download profiles of individual journals vary significantly across subject areas, and from journal to journal

    These principles are supported by the following publishing houses and associations:

  • Akademie Verlag
  • American Chemical Society
  • American Institute of Physics
  • Blackwell Publishing
  • British Medical Journal Group
  • Carocci Editore
  • C. G. Edizioni Medico Scientifiche
  • Cambridge University Press
  • Carl Hanser Verlag
  • Clueb
  • De Agostini Editore
  • De Agostini Scuola
  • Editoriale Folini
  • Egea
  • Edinburgh University Press
  • Elsevier
  • Elsevier Masson
  • E. Schweizbart’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung (Nagele u. Obermiller) Science Publishers
  • Federico Motta Editore
  • Institute of Physics Publishing
  • Gebr. Bomtraeger Science Publishers
  • Georg Olms Verlag
  • Georg Thieme Verlag
  • Groupe de Boeck
  • Guerini e Associati
  • John Wiley & Sons
  • Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
  • Macmillan Publishers
  • Multi-Science Publishing Co. Ltd
  • Nature Publishing Group
  • Oldenbourg Verlag
  • Oxford University Press
  • Portland Press
  • Provestia Publishing House
  • Primula Edizioni
  • Royal Society of Chemistry
  • S. Hirzel Verlag
  • Sage Publications
  • Springer Science+Business Media
  • Taylor & Francis Group
  • The McGraw Hill Companies (Milano)
  • The University of Chicago Press 
  • Utet (Torino)
  • Weidmannsche Verlagsbuchhandlung
  • Zanichelli Editore
  • Associazione Italiana Editori (Italian Publishers Association)
  • Australian Publishers Association
  • Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels
  • Bulgarian Book Association
  • Federación de Gremios de Editores de España
  • Federation of European Publishers (FEP)
  • Gruppo dell’Editoria Universitaria e Professionale dell’Associazione Italiana Editori
  • International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers (STM)
  • International Publishers Association (IPA)
  • Nederlands Uitgeversverbond (Dutch Publishers Association)
  • Professional/Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers
  • Singapore Book Publishers Association
  • The Association of Learned & Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP)
  • The Publishers Association of the UK

As of 1200 GMT on Thursday 1 November 2007.

We expect other publishers and associations will wish to support this declaration and look forward to adding them to this list.