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Intellectual Property

Europe Opens Up

EC and U.K. release open-access policies one day apart and encourage the rest of Europe to follow suit

by Britt E. Erickson
July 23, 2012 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 90, Issue 30

The European Commission will require journal articles based on research funded through its Horizon 2020 program to be accessible for free either online immediately upon publication or in a repository after a six-month embargo period (12 months for arts, humanities, and social sciences). Horizon 2020 is the EC’s research and innovation grant program for 2014–20.

The announcement, on July 17, came just one day after the U.K.’s seven government-funded grant agencies, known collectively as Research Councils U.K., adopted a nearly identical open-access policy. That policy will apply to publicly funded research in the U.K., beginning with papers submitted in April 2013.

When an author pays a fee for immediate open access, the U.K. policy requires the author to get a liberal publishing license. The license allows others to modify, distribute, and build upon the work, provided they credit the original author.

The EC encouraged all other member states to take similar steps for research funded by their domestic programs, setting a goal of having 60% of European-government-funded research freely accessible by 2016. It also pledged to promote open access to research data while considering privacy and commercial interests.

“We want to bring dissemination and exploitation of scientific research results to the next level,” says Neelie Kroes, EC vice president for the digital agenda. “Data is the new oil.”


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