EU Council debates open access to scientific information

On 18 and 19 February 2013, the Council of Ministers dealing with “Competitiveness” in their home countries held a policy debate on the need to develop a broader and more rapid access to scientific publications in order to help researchers and businesses to build on the findings of publicly funded research.

The debate was based on two Commission documents:

These non-binding communications provide recommendations to tackle,inter alia, the issue of scientific publications becoming increasingly more expensive for researchers to access. The Commission feels that this has slowed down the rate of scientific research in the EU and recommends that Member States define clear policies for the dissemination of and open access to scientific publications resulting from publicly funded research.

The Commission documents outline anumber of targets, which it hopes the Member States will more towards:

  • By 2014, policies for open access to scientific articles and data will have been established in all Member States at all relevant levels;
  • By 2016, the share of publicly-funded scientific articles available under open access EU-wide will have increased from 20 % to 60 %;
  • 100 % of scientific publications resulting from Horizon 2020 will be available under open access. 

The Commission specifically recommends Member States to make publicly-funded scientific information available online, at no extra cost, to European researchers and citizens via sustainable e-infrastructures.

The Commission will:

  • Work with national points of reference designated by Member States to draw up common principles and standards, from 2013.
  • Work with national points of reference to structure and monitor progress on access and dissemination, from 2013.

Current Council of Ministers position:

The Member States supported the idea of developing broader and more rapid access to scientific publications in order to help researchers and businesses to build on the findings of publicly funded research.

They noted however that this type of action would require clarification on a number of interconnected issues, chief among them being intellectual property rights and data protection rules.

Ministers specifically supported the concept that under Horizon 2020  (the EU’s framework for funding research and innovation), open access to scientific principles should be a general principle.  

Next Steps:

The European Parliament intends not to follow up themselves on these Commission documents through an own-initiative report.

  • The full text of the Council documentis available here.


Date: 18/02/2013 | Tag: | News: 129 of 616
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