European Union announces free access to all scientific papers by 2020

European Union declares free access to all scientific papers by 2020

Europe’s Competitiveness Council has proclaimed that all online research papers supported by public and public-private funding will be made loosely accessible by the year 2020. Competitiveness Council comprises of ministers related to internal market, industry, space, and research and innovation from all European Union member states and is headed by European Union’s science chief, Carlos Moedas. According to the ministers, making research universally accessible is “the best possible reuse of research data as a way to accelerate the transition towards an open science system.”

Open access and open science have been lobbied for by the science community since a long time. However, the Dutch government, which holds the current presidency at the Council, shoved for this switch and has been commended by the scholarly community. Access to publicly funded research is considered a prerogative of the science community as well as the non-science community. Hence, the council has stated that data should be made accessible unless there is a valid reason for not doing so, for example, privacy issues or intellectual property rights.

To implement the fresh policy, the council has stated that it “invites the Commission, Member States, and relevant stakeholders, including research funding organisations, to catalyse this transition.” While the European Union determines on the common goals of this policy, the member states will be free to make their own decisions through the transition period since each region has its own research and innovation system.

It is as yet unclear how this reform will affect the journals with a subscription-based model and the embargo policies of open access journals, and how accepting they will be of the fresh policy. However, at a time when there are ongoing debates over piracy versus universal access, this stir by the Competitiveness Council is a step ahead in the direction to making science truly open.


All scientific papers to be free by 2020 under EU proposals

Free access to scientific papers should be default by 2020, say European ministers

All scientific papers will be accessible for free by 2020, EU announces

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