Europe Joins UK Open-access Bid

Richard Van Noorden | Nature | July 17, 2012

Being the first to try something new is nerve-wracking — so it is always a relief to see someone else follow your lead. When the UK government announced on 16 July that it would require much of the country’s taxpayer-funded research to be open-access from April 2013, it was not immediately clear whether the move would set a trend or prove to be an isolated gamble — one that would leave the United Kingdom essentially giving away its research for free while still paying to read everyone else’s.

But the next day, the European Commission (EC) matched the United Kingdom’s vision, launching a similar proposal to open up all the work funded by its Horizon 2020 research programme, set to run in the European Union (EU) from 2014 to 2020 and disburse €80 billion (US$98.3 billion). The details will be negotiated over the next year, but EC vice-president Neelie Kroes emphasized the momentum that open access has already acquired. “We are leading by example, making EU-funded research open to all — and we are urging member states to do likewise, so that sooner, rather than later, all nationally funded research will follow.” The EC says that it is aiming for 60% of all European publicly funded research articles to be open access by 2016...