Open access to be set into practice by 2020

The Competitiveness Council of the European Union - a configuration of ministers of science, innovation, trade, and industry - has set out an ambitious new target following their 2-days meeting in Brussels on 27 May: All publicly funded scientific papers published in Europe should be freely accessible as of 2020.

New open access terms have long been debated in theory. Now, under the presidency of the Netherlands, the Council has set this close deadline for full open access to be put into practice. This outcome is part of a broader set of recommendations supporting open science including improved storage of and access to research data in Europe. 

The Council called for immediate open access whenever results of research supported by public and public-private funds are published, unless there are legitimate reasons for not doing so, as for example intellectual property rights or security or privacy issues.

To make Europe as attractive as possible for researchers and start-ups, the EU ministers agreed that knowledge needs to be freely shared: “Research and innovation generate economic growth and more jobs and provide solutions to societal challenges,” said Sander Dekker, the Dutch state secretary for Education, Culture and Science in an official statement following the meeting.

The means of how to achieve this ambitious goal in all 28 member states within four years are still vague and so are the legal terms that will form a European open access research culture from 2020 onwards. However, this decision presents a huge step into the European Innovation Union - the European Union’s strategy to create an innovation-friendly environment that makes it easier for great ideas to be turned into products or services, ultimately promoting economic growth.

Having received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, the MYOCURE project ensures to provide open access to all scientific publications relating to its results and thus, increasing the societal impact of its work.

Read the official press release by the Netherlands EU presidency here.