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Barcelona Declaration: open research information must be the new norm

The Barcelona Declaration is an initiative developed by a team of research information specialists, aimed at democratizing access to research information. This includes bibliographic metadata, funding details, and impact data, which are often inaccessible due to proprietary infrastructures.

This lack of transparency leads to the use of non-verifiable evidence when evaluating research and institutions. The Barcelona Declaration on Open Research Information strives to address this issue. Organizations signing this Declaration commit to four overarching principles, including prioritizing openness as the standard for both using and producing research information.

About the Declaration

The research information landscape requires fundamental change. The signatories of the Barcelona Declaration on Open Research Information commit to taking a lead in transforming the way research information is used and produced. Openness of information about the conduct and communication of research must be the new norm.

Too often, decision making in science is based on closed research information. Research information is locked inside proprietary infrastructures, run by for-profit providers that impose severe restrictions on the use and reuse of the information.

Definition of research information
By research information we mean information (sometimes referred to as metadata) relating to the conduct and communication of research. This includes, but is not limited to, (1) bibliographic metadata such as titles, abstracts, references, author data, affiliation data, and data on publication venues, (2) metadata on research software, research data, samples, and instruments, (3) information on funding and grants, and (4) information on organizations and research contributors. Research information is located in systems such as bibliographic databases, software archives, data repositories, and current research information systems.

Errors, gaps, and biases in closed research information are difficult to expose and even more difficult to fix. Indicators and analytics derived from this information lack transparency and reproducibility. Decisions about the careers of researchers, about the future of research organizations, and ultimately about the way science serves the whole of humanity, depend on these black-box indicators and analytics.

Today, over 30 organizations are committing to making openness of research information the norm. Open research information enables science policy decisions to be made based on transparent evidence and inclusive data. It enables information used in research evaluations to be accessible and auditable by those being assessed. And it enables the global movement toward open science to be supported by information that is fully open and transparent.


The signatories of the Barcelona Declaration on Open Research Information make the following commitments:

  • We will make openness the default for the research information we use and produce;
  • We will work with services and systems that support and enable open research information;
  • We will support the sustainability of infrastructures for open research information;
  • We will support collective action to accelerate the transition to openness of research information.

The full text of the Barcelona Declaration can be found on

The information, opinions and recommendations presented in this article are those of the individual contributor/s, and do not necessarily reflect the values and beliefs of the International Science Council.

Picture by iam_os on Unsplash.

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