UN Food and Agriculture Organization launches Open Access for all publications

As of today, FAO will implement an Open Access policy, enabling maximal reach and ease of use for FAO knowledge products.

FAO has been disseminating knowledge since its foundation in 1945, and its publications have been freely accessible in the FAO online Document Repository since 1998.

The new Open Access policy goes a step further; not only ensuring that FAO’s wealth of knowledge remains easily accessible to users around the world, but actively encouraging and providing a framework for the broader use, reproduction and dissemination of this material.

“This policy is a recognition of the importance that FAO places on the universal right of access to information.  FAO knowledge is a global public good, and it should be free of unreasonable barriers to access for those who need it most,” said Enrique Yeves, Director of the Office of Corporate Communications.

In concrete terms, FAO will apply a Creative Commons 3.0 IGO license to all eligible publications and documents published on its Web site.

The policy uses a license developed together with the World Intellectual Property Organization and other United Nations and international organizations and designed for international institutions – which have unique legal status – to allow unrestricted online access to expert research.

“FAO is proud to join the growing number of organizations who fully support and stand behind the principles of Open Access,” said Pedro Javaloyes, head of publishing. “And the use of Creative Commons licenses, a standard for open sharing of information, will enable FAO to share information better, faster and with greater efficiency, thereby helping us to get our message out to those who really need it.”

How it works

The new policy covers FAO publications and documents published in the FAO online Document Repository from now on. For earlier publications, original licensing conditions – which encourage use but may require permission – apply.

With implementation of the policy, third parties can make use of FAO’s published works in more and easier ways – reproducing them, using snippets, and adapting them for their own ends. Permission is not required for non-commercial use, as long as FAO is cited as the source of the material.

The policy will particularly benefit member states, policy makers, researchers and others engaged in sharing information in support of resolving global hunger issues and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals – most of which require constant scientific input.

For further information on FAO’s Open Access policy and Creative Commons licence, please contact copyright@fao.org.

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