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April 9, 2009
Open Access and copyrights: no attack on freedom of publication

In the name of ZB MED, one of the GMS partners, who, as a member of the Leibniz Association, takes an active part in the Alliance of German Science Organisations (Allianz der Wissenschaftsorganisationen), we would like to draw your attention to a recent statement of the Alliance. It contains a detailed response to the accusations recently published in a statement "In Favour of Freedom of Publication and Copyright Protection" (Für Publikationsfreiheit und die Wahrung der Urheberrechte), also known as "Heidelberger Appell", signed by numerous publishers and authors, which had emerged from a debate in German media that is summed up here (in German or in English via Google Translate). In particular, the "Heidelberger Appell" claims that OA supporters like the Alliance and ZB MED intend to limit authors' freedom of publication in a way that violates the German constitution, which is an unacceptable allegation. On the contrary: we strive to provide scientists with the best-possible information infrastructure so they can excel in their research.

In the case of German Medical Science, authors retain full ownership of the copyright for their articles by publishing them under a Creative Commons license. Moreover, through free access to their articles, they are able to enhance impact of their work, as studies have shown (e.g. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/asi.20898, http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.0040157).

In contrast to the signatories of the "Heidelberger Appell", we are convinced that German Medical Science, as a joint Open Access project of AWMF, DIMDI and ZB MED, is an excellent example of an equal and efficient collaboration between the scientific community and institutions providing information infrastructure.