Statement about embargo periods

Major international associations join together to underscore their support for immediate open access to research articles

As organizations committed to the principle that access to information advances discovery, accelerates innovation and improves education, we endorse the policies and practices that enable Open Access – immediate, barrier free access to and reuse of scholarly articles.

Policies that promote Open Access are increasingly being adopted world wide by research funders, academic institutions and national governments in order to improve the use and value of scholarly research. We fully support such policies and the dual avenues for implementing them: open access repositories and open access journals. These policies play an important role in creating an environment where our collective investments in research can be maximized for the benefit of the public, and for society at large.

Many policies have employed the use of embargo periods – delayed access to research articles for a short period of time to help protect publishers’ subscription revenue as they shift to new business models. We consider the use of embargo periods as an acceptable transitional mechanism to help facilitate a wholesale shift towards Open Access. However, embargo periods dilute the benefits of open access policies and we believe that, if they are adopted, they should be no more than 6 months for the life and physical sciences, 12 months for social sciences and humanities.  We further believe that mechanisms for reducing – or eliminating – embargo periods should be included in any Open Access policy.

Any delay in the open availability of research articles curtails scientific progress and stifles innovation, and places unnecessary constraints in delivering the benefits of research back to the public.


  • COAR: Confederation of Open Access Repositories
  • EIFL: Electronic Information for Libraries
  • LIBER: Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche – Association of European Research Libraries
  • National Science Library, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • OpenAIRE: Open Access Infrastructure for Research in Europe
  • SPARC: Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition
  • Electronic Frontier Foundation, USA
  • Research Libraries of the United Kingdom
  • Coaliton for Action “Copyright for Education and Research” (Aktionsbündnis “Urheberrecht für Bildung und Wissenschaft”), Germany
  • Australian National University
  • AOASG: Australian Open Access Support Group
  • INRIA: Institut national de recherche en informatique et en automatique, France
  • NEREUS: Network of European Libraries in Economics and Social Sciences
  • Carnegie Mellon University, USA
  • Association of Southeastern Research Libraries, USA
  • SPARC Europe
  • CLACSO: Latin America Council of Social Sciences
  • National Research Foundation South Africa
  • Collegium Artium, Poland
  • HBZ: Hochschulbibliothekszentrum des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
  • Universidad Autonoma de San Luis Potosi, Mexico
  • Biblioteca Judeteana Antim Ivireanul Valcea, Romania
  • Durban Univeristy of Technology, South Africa

Endorse the statement here:

For more information, contact Kathleen Shearer, Executive Director, COAR,

5 thoughts on “Statement about embargo periods

  1. I want support this initiative because I thing that is very important the free acees to scientific information in the right time.

  2. In my view, the embargo period sounds like publishers want to eat their cake and still have it! I certainly support immediate access. For-profit publishers should allow authors to retain author rights for them to immediately deposit their works in Green archives. This would enable wider access, use and reuse of their research works and immediate impact and change on the lives of intended target audiences.

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