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European Commission embraces open access

17 Jul 2012 | 09:48 BST | Posted by Richard Van Noorden (Nature News)

The European Commission has announced its intention to make open access all research findings funded by Horizon 2020, its enormous, €80-billion (US$98-billion) research-funding programme for 2014–20. And it is urging member states to follow its lead.

From Nature Blog


  •  Under proposals announced in Brussels this morning, articles would be either made immediately accessible online, with the commission paying up-front publication costs (expected to be 1% of the total research budget); or made available by researchers through an open-access repository no later than six months after publication (12 months for social sciences and humanities). The commission has already developed such a repository — OpenAIRE.
  •  Sound familiar? Yes, it’s an almost identical copy of the UK open-access policy announced yesterday. Unlike the UK mandate, the commission’s plans are merely proposals at the moment — they face a good year of back-and-forth debate with the Parliament and European Council (along with the whole Horizon 2020 budget). But they do show the influence that the United Kingdom is having on international debates.
  •  The European Commission has always made it clear it wants open access for Horizon 2020; indeed, it ran a pilot trial covering some 20% of the research papers in its current programme (FP7). But the rhetoric in today’s announcement suggests that the Commission wants member states to quickly enforce the vision in their own domestic programmes. “The goal is for 60% of European publicly-funded research articles to be available under open access by 2016,” the commission says today in a press release.
  •  The commission is also committing to a stronger policy to open up wider access to the data generated by scientific experiments — although this won’t be mandatory for all projects, because of privacy and commercial interests.

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