EU Council: Policy debate on open access to scientific information

Source: 3223rd European Union Council Meeting (Press Release - Provisional version as of 26/02/13)

The European Union Council held a policy debate on open access to scientific information resulting from public funded research projects on the basis of the Commission communication "Towards better access to scientific information: Boosting the benefits of public investments in research" (12847/12) and its accompanying recommendations on access to and preservation of scientific information (12846/12).

The member states supported the idea of developing broader and more rapid access to scientific publications in order to help researchers and businesses to build on the findings of publicly funded research. This will contribute to boosting Europe's innovation capacity, help to tackle societal challenges and provide citizens with quicker access to scientific discoveries.

The member states noted the Commission proposal to develop experimental policy actions on open access to research data and to run a pilot for that purpose in the future Horizon 2020 research framework programme. Open access to research data will require that various other aspects such as intellectual property rights, security issues and data protection rules be taken into account.

They encouraged the definition of clear policies, in consultation with relevant stakeholders, on open access to scientific publications and research data, on preservation and re-use of scientific information and on related e-infrastructures for disseminating scientific information, at both national and EU levels.

They agreed on the need to promote common implementation standards and criteria, including interoperable infrastructures, in order to achieve the maximum benefit from open access in a sustainable way within a digital European Research Area.

Moreover, ministers welcomed the Commission’s view that open access to scientific publications should be a general principle of the future Horizon 2020 research framework programme and presented some of the initiatives carried out under their respective national programmes. The optimal circulation, access to and transfer of scientific knowledge is one of the objectives for the establishment of a genuine European Research Area (ERA).