Open Access policies of the European Commission

One main topic stream of the Open Knowledge festival in Helsinki was on Open Research and Education. Sessions of particular interest for us touched on open research data and in particular on Open Access publishing. Carl-Christian Buhr of the European Commission gave a comprehensive summary of the EC policies on this topic - with surprising perspectives.

At Open Consortium, we offer communication solutions for science consortia involving both technical infrastructure and content dissemination strategies. Therefore, getting first hand information on data access and communication policies on a European level is vital for us. After all, science consortia funded under the framework programs of the European Commission are potential customers for our services.

Carl-Christian Buhr, member of the team of Neelie Kroes, Vice president of the European Commission, gave an informative talk on EC-Open Access policies the Open Knowledge Festival in Helsinki, where Peter and me presented Open Consortium.

Buhr introduced the digital agenda of the European Commission and informed around 30 attendants on the roles the EC is adopting regarding their involvement in science development in Europe: they function as policy makers, funding agency, as well as infrastructure builder. However, a large part of his presentation focused on how the EC adopts Open Access (OA) policies. Buhr showed a statement of Neelie Kroes, framing their Open Access efforts:

The question is no longer if we should have Open Access. The question is about how we should develop it further and promote it

That does sound compelling indeed, and Buhr underlined the EC efforts for OA with concrete numbers: Their goal is, that by 2014 60% of all publicly funded science in Europe should be published under an Open Access license. Therefore, member states are required to have dedicated OA policies. He further indicated that 100% of all scientific publications funded under "Horizon 2020", the next European framework program, shall be published Open Access.

The European Commission evidently sees the benefits of sharing data openly. To emphasize this, here is yet another quote from Neelie Kroes:

Scientific information has the power to transform our lives for the better - it is too valuable to be locked away.

Carl-Christian Buhr's presentation is available online on slideshare.