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European Commission launches Open Access Pilot Project

On August 20th, the European Commission launched a pilot project that will grant unrestricted access via the internet to peer-reviewed scientific journal articles that resulted from EU-funded research. The pilot scheme was initially envisaged in the Commission Communication on “Scientific information in the digital age: access, dissemination and preservation”, of February 2007. The open access policy, under the pilot project, covers the specific research areas of:

  • Health
  • Energy
  • Environment
  • Information and Communication Technologies
  • Research Infrastructure (e-Infrastructures)
  • Socio-Economic Sciences and Humanities
  • Science in Society.

The project, the Commission states, will bring benefits to the general public, the research community as well as to the business environment. However, the initiative triggered negative reactions of scientific publishers, who are signalling to the Commission that the open access policy deprives them from revenues critical for the journals to exist. In order to address this issue, the Commission foresees an embargo period of 6 to 12 months from the first publication of the articles, which should, in its opinion, be sufficient for the publishers to get a return on their investment.

At the end of EU’s Seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7), the Commission will assess the impact of the pilot on boosting the benefits of EU-funded research and will decide whether the pilot can be used as a “model for broader application” in the next research programme.

Press Release
European Commission Decision