2008-07-01

Open Access to Scientific Works of Nobel Prize Winners

Key publications related to the most important scientific breakthroughs of the 20th century may become openly accessible online.

The discoveries of penicillin, X-rays, insulin, radioactivity, quarks, and quantum mechanics are some of the most important scientific advances to have had impact on humankind. Opportunities are now being studied to provide open access to a wide selection of the scientific publications that were the basis for the Nobel Prizes in physics, chemistry and medicine awarded since 1901, about five hundred in all.

A Choise of Publications

The project is exploring questions related to copyright, selection, and the financial and technical aspects of digitization and storage. The intended result is to provide open access on the Internet to a number of selected publications by Nobel laureates since 1901. The study is being conducted in partnership with the Lund University Libraries Head Office, Lund University Library, and Nobel Web AB, and funded by the Swedish National Library and the Swedish Knowledge Foundation within the framework of the OpenAccess.se development program.

Free availability or “Open Access” to scientific information has garnered widespread support among the research community in recent years. Open distribution on the Internet will make it possible for scientific source texts to reach a significantly wider audience than ever before.

Crème de la crème of Research

“Creating optimum access to research findings is one of the National Library’s key tasks,” says National Librarian Gunnar Sahlin. “So, we are delighted that the works of Nobel Prize winners, the crème de la crème of research, can be made freely available on the Internet through this project. We hope open access to the works of Nobel laureates will serve as a highly visible model for achieving access to research findings on an even broader scale, both in Sweden and globally.”

The National Library is mandated to improve and streamline information provision within higher education and research. On that basis, the National Library has long been supporting the development of electronic publication at Swedish universities, as well as the introduction of the international discussion about Open Access in Sweden.

Maximum Accessibility

The National Library is the principal agency for a development program called OpenAccess.se, whose objective is to promote maximum accessibility and visibility for works produced by researchers, teachers and students by supporting electronic publication at Swedish universities and colleges. Initiated in 2006, the program will run through the end of 2009 and is co-funded by the Swedish National Library, the Swedish Knowledge Foundation, and the Swedish Research Council. The steering committee is made up of representatives of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Swedish Knowledge Foundation, the Association of Swedish Higher Education, the Swedish Research Council, university and college libraries, and the Swedish National Library.

Contact person: Sara Bengtzon, e-mail: firstname.lastname@kb.se

Related Information

Open Access

National Library