Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Open Access to Scientific Research Information in the EU

The European Commission has announced its plans to improve access to scientific information produced in Europe in order to increase innovation capacity and benefit citizens by giving them quicker access and opportunity to build upon publicly-funded research. The EC will start with making open access to the scientific publications a general principle of Horizon 2020, the EU's Research & Innovation funding programme for 2014-2020. Those would either be made immediately accessible online (‘Gold’ open access) and be eligible for up-front reimbursement of publications costs, or no later than six months (twelve months for articles in the fields of social sciences and humanities) after publication (‘Green’ open access). The EC said that without quick access to up-to-date scientific literature, it takes small and medium-sized enterprises up to two years longer to bring innovative products to the market and only 25% of researchers share their data openly. 

This project will give Europe a better return on its €87 billion annual investment in R&D and the aim of the EC is that by 2016 open access would be available to 60% of European publicly-funded research articles. It furthermore urges Member States to take a similar approach and the UK was the first one to do that, preceding the Commission’s announcement with one day (16th July 2012), by deciding to remove the pay walls of taxpayer-funded research through a “gold” model, introduce walk-in rights via public libraries and extend access licensing of universities.


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