I was certainly a bit too hasty in announcing the launching of the EOS website last week. The following day, we had an important meeting with the founders of the EOS International Group where I serve as chairman. The decision was made to work on the site, continue making improvements, and update and finalise the Advisory Board. This means that the site won’t be operational for a few more days. The situation is even more embarassing given that all the « important people » involved in Open Access had already heard the news (only available on my blog and in French) and EOS was already inundated with subscription requests on day one (read the enthusiastic articles by Peter Suber and Stevan Harnad). Let’s hope that this incident won’t have a negative impact on the participation of universities when the site is up and running.
Indeed, the main role of the EOS website will be to rally university leaders from all over the world to the idea of setting up institutional repositories and to aid them practically to do so. The second objective is to persuade financial backers of the upmost importance of publishing in open access the results of research projects they themselves have financed and of the need to develop collection systems from institutional repositories. In Belgium, the FNRS (National Fund for Scientific Research), which signed the « Berlin Declaration » on open access, should declare itself in favour of this objective. The three largest universities are expected to house their repositories and those of their Academies. This is already the case at ULg while the Catholic University of Leuven (UCL) has recently joined us and the University of Brussels ULB) will shortly do the same. French-speaking Belgium could thus become the first « country » to adopt this system in its entirety, which should help the cause and visibility of our researchers.