All European scientific articles to be freely accessible by 2020

All scientific articles in Europe must be freely accessible by 2020, to enhance optimal reuse of research data. Moreover, EU member states are looking into a European visa for foreign start-up founders, 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.

The EU ministers responsible for research and innovation decided unanimously to take these significant steps. The chairman of the Council, Dutch State Secretary for Education, Culture and Science Sander 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 means that scientific publications on the results of research supported by public and public-private funds must be freely accessible to everyone. Currently, results of publicly funded research are 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.

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