European Commission Embraces Open Access

Richard Van Noorden | Nature | July 17, 2012

The European Commission has announced its intention to make open access all research findings funded by Horizon 2020, its enormous, €80-billion (US$98-billion) research-funding programme for 2014–20. And it is urging member states to follow its lead.

Under proposals announced in Brussels this morning, articles would be either made immediately accessible online, with the commission paying up-front publication costs (expected to be 1% of the total research budget); or made available by researchers through an open-access repository no later than six months after publication (12 months for social sciences and humanities). The commission has already developed such a repository — OpenAIRE.

Sound familiar? Yes, it’s an almost identical copy of the UK open-access policy announced yesterday. Unlike the UK mandate, the commission’s plans are merely proposals at the moment — they face a good year of back-and-forth debate with the Parliament and European Council (along with the whole Horizon 2020 budget). But they do show the influence that the United Kingdom is having on international debates....