At the International Cultural Forum, St Petersburg University has held a round-table discussion on “Open Access: New ethics of research publication, access and defense”.

The event was visited by the Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Education and Science, universities, institutions, and non-commercial organisations.

The fact that we have this round-table at St Petersburg University is important. SPbU is the Russia’s leading university to have open data and research publications.

Moderator of the discussion, Advisor of SPbU Rector, President of the Association of the Internet-Publications Ivan Zasurskii 

The University is the first university in Russia that has started to publish its theses and therefore has changed  the trajectory how the Russian education is going to develop and how the research outcomes should be shared in the research community, says the expert.


The first report delivered by Colleen Campbell from the e-library of the Max Planck Society focused on the project Open Access 2020, a global alliance committed to accelerating the transition to open access by 2020. We can encounter many obstacles on our way to submit publications in the repository systems, said Colleen Campbell. As few as 7% European researchers, according to the statistics, are ready to make their research outcomes open via repository systems when they can publish them in the world’s leading journals. Still the competition between the big research publishing houses is so weak, says Colleen Campbell, as the universities have to subscribe to a number of journals to ensure that their staff have access to information. The research information market is in zugzwang when low competition results in high subscription prices.

40 %

of profit can be ensured by transition to open access.

The report discussed how the Max Planck Society developed a project to modify a publishing business model and transit to open access to cut expenses and increase profit up to 40 %. “We need transparent and stable models based on the actual publication expenses, rather than a black box of calculating subscription prices”, — she cited Peter Gruss, President of the Max Planck Society. It has already stirred interest in 90 institutions from 30 countries, including European Union, Russia, and China.

Ivan Zasurskii discussed the problems Russian is facing in transition to open access. Among the major challenges are inaccessibility of most research data for scientists, especially young scientists, an increasing popularity of the pirate information resources, low efficiency of using subscriptions by institutions, and a weak flow of transparent research information in Russia. 

To respond to these challenges we have to apply “collective intelligence” and “information superconductivity”. The expert suggested we should open a coordination centre for information support in education and science, as part of the non-governmental organisations to help the Government develop and implement the strategy to transit to open access.

Open publications can be an indicator, along other indicators of publication activity, to reward the scientists. The initiative was supported by the Director of the Department of Science and Technology at the Ministry of Education and Science Sergei Matveev. “We are ready to change some of the scientometric indicators, — he said. — If we take a draft of the state programme “Development of Science and Technologies”, we can see that the indicator “publications in the Web-of-Science” has been replaced by “the volume of publications by the Russian scientists in the international information and analytical systems and open access systems””.

The expert told us through some critical aspects of how open access can develop in Russia. Should public have open access to research data with no control, we will definitely be heading for fraud. They can use open data and commercialize it and make it their own intellectual property. The way out of this paradox may seem signing the individual agreements between those who created an object and those who are going to use it.

By doing so, we can identify the “volume” of how many agreements are signed and what objects are the most popular. So we can proportionally allocate finance to reward the authors. In other words, research can be converted in the form of currency. Transition to open access in Russia is not possible without our European partners, says Sergei Matveev. We have already reached an agreement with the European Research Council.

The topic was discussed by other experts: ITMO Associate professor Irina Radchenko told about open access as a foundation of digital economics ethics, while Director of the Wikimedis Ru Vladimir Medeiko about how the libraries can work together with the wiki-projects. The Director General of the Library of Foreign Literature Vadim Duda and Manager of Business Development of Pearson in the Central and East Europe Mikhail Dzheviatovskii told about a joint educational project. The coordinator of the projects of the Association of the Internet-publishers Nataliia Trishchenko focused on open publication of the student theses, and Advisor of the Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation Vadim Vankov about how we can use open data in culture.