European scientific articles to be freely accessible by 2020

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European scientific articles to be freely accessible by 2020

Postby Natural ChemE on May 28th, 2016, 12:56 am 

Scientific literature is often behind a pay wall. Universities and other major research institutions pay for site licenses to access major publications, however these pay walls greatly limit public access. Even well-funded researchers often run into articles that aren't available on their current subscription plan.

Apparently the European Union (EU) is declaring that literature derived from stuff that they've funded must be freely available online by 2020.

All European scientific articles to be freely accessible by 2020, The Netherlands EU Presidency 2016 wrote:
All scientific articles in Europe must be freely accessible as of 2020. EU member states want to achieve optimal reuse of research data. They are also looking into a European visa for foreign start-up founders.

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Photo: Tineke Dijkstra

And, according to the new Innovation Principle, new European legislation must take account of its impact on innovation. These are the main outcomes of the meeting of the Competitiveness Council in Brussels on 27 May.

Sharing knowledge freely
Under the presidency of Netherlands State Secretary for Education, Culture and Science Sander Dekker, the EU ministers responsible for research and innovation decided unanimously to take these significant steps. Mr Dekker is pleased that these ambitions have been translated into clear agreements to maximise the impact of research. ‘Research and innovation generate economic growth and more jobs and provide solutions to societal challenges,’ the state secretary said. ‘And that means a stronger Europe. To achieve that, Europe must be as attractive as possible for researchers and start-ups to locate here and for companies to invest. That calls for knowledge to be freely shared. The time for talking about open access is now past. With these agreements, we are going to achieve it in practice.’

Open access
Open access means that scientific publications on the results of research supported by public and public-private funds must be freely accessible to everyone. That is not yet the case. The results of publicly funded research are currently not accessible to people outside universities and knowledge institutions. As a result, teachers, doctors and entrepreneurs do not have access to the latest scientific insights that are so relevant to their work, and universities have to take out expensive subscriptions with publishers to gain access to publications.

Reusing research data
From 2020, all scientific publications on the results of publicly funded research must be freely available. It also must be able to optimally reuse research data. To achieve that, the data must be made accessible, unless there are well-founded reasons for not doing so, for example intellectual property rights or security or privacy issues.


Forum members know that we encourage posting scientific literature to support discussion points, though this practice is limited when relevant research is behind a pay wall. If other major research producers follow the EU's example, even discussion forums like ours should benefit!
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Re: European scientific articles to be freely accessible by

Postby Eclogite on May 28th, 2016, 6:45 am 

Excellent news. One hopes that a century from now our current practices will be viewed in the same light as the secretive practices of the medieval guilds.
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Re: European scientific articles to be freely accessible by

Postby BioWizard on May 28th, 2016, 7:03 am 

Every move towards public access is good. And let's not forget here that these are practices of publishers, not the scientific community per say. Because, what scientist wouldn't want their article to be read/cited more frequently? And that is why many publishers now give us the option for switching our articles that are published with them into public access - for a handsome fee, of course.

The NIH is also shaking things up on the US side.
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