Europe Supports Open Access Confirms EC

03 February 2012

Europe is strongly in favor of better access to scientific publications and research findings, it was confirmed in a recent public consultation undertaken by the European Commission. Important results were obtained in the public consultation on scientific information in the digital age - 90 percent of respondents supported the idea that publications resulting from publicly funded research should as a matter of principle be in Open Access mode and that data from publicly funded research should be available for reuse free of charge on the internet.

The public consultation spurred great interest among a variety of stakeholders, with 1140 responses received from 42 countries. The strong need for better OA policy was also confirmed by 83 percent of respondents, who called for policy formulation at the EU level, while 86 percent agreed on the development of an EU network of repositories.

To the question of barriers to accessing scientific publications, 89 percent identified the high price of journals/subscriptions as a key issue, with a high number agreeing also on the limited budget of libraries (85 percent). The main barriers to access research data were identified as lack of funding to develop and maintain the necessary infrastructures (80 %); the insufficient credit given to researchers for making research data available (80 %); insufficient national/regional strategies/policies (79 %) as well as the lack of incentives for researchers (76.4%).

Self-archiving (‘green OA’) or a combination of self-archiving and OA publishing (‘gold OA’) were identified as the preferred ways for increasing the number and share of scientific publications available in OA mode. The majority (56% of respondents) prefer an embargo period (that is the period of time during which a publication is not yet open access) of 6 months.

Finally, respondents were also concerned that the preservation of scientific information is currently insufficiently addressed.