Saturday 30 May 2020

Malta takes another step towards a National Open Access Policy

The Malta Council for Science and Technology (MCST) which falls under the Parliamentary Secretariat Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services and Digital Economy within the Ministry for Finance and Financial Services, is the governmental body responsible for Research and Innovation (R&I), Space, Science and Technology. MCST is also the national entity entrusted with the National Open Access Policy for Malta.

Open Access forms part of an Open Science spectrum and deals with the setting up of a set of principles dealing with the removal of the barriers to the dissemination of research knowledge through scientific publications. This comes in two forms – that of scientific journals together with scientific research data. This is supported by the European Commission at an institutional level through its framework programmes, at Member States level and internationally. The current pandemic crises is an example of the importance of free access to scientific information for researchers, professors, students, businesses, journalists and non-academic professionals amongst other key stakeholders.

Malta benefited from the European Horizon 2020 Policy Support Facility in developing a tailor-made Open Access policy. The process kicked off during a meeting in Brussels in July 2019, followed by two country visits by the European Commission and its appointed independent experts in October and December 2019. During their first visit, the panel had individual meetings with national stakeholders, while in their second visit a workshop for the stakeholders was arranged.

During the closing dissemination event entitled ‘An Opportunity for Malta’ – organised through an online video conference by the Malta Council for Science and Technology- Dr. Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando, MCST’s Executive Chairman, stated:

“MCST is always striving to improve the research and innovation landscape in Malta. Open Access should serve as another step in supporting the local research community in sharing and accessing scientific knowledge.”

On behalf of the European Commission, the Acting Director DG RTD Ms Anna Panagopoulou commented on how

“The Horizon 2020 Policy Support Facility project – the first of its kind to focus exclusively on open access – supports Malta in making knowledge circulation a reality for researchers, innovative companies and citizens.” She encouraged participants to “work together to make European knowledge accessible in inspiring and empowering ways.”

The final report with the recommendations was launched today, through the online video conference that was also streamed live on the Council’s social media access. The document can be accessed via the MCST website at: https://mcst.gov.mt/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/OPEN-ACCESS-MALTA-REPORT.pdf, while the recording of the full live stream can be found at https://www.facebook.com/MaltaCouncilforScienceandTechonology/videos/2584489615129227/

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