U.K. and European Commission embrace open access

July 18, 2012

(Credit: European Commission)

U.K. research funders have announced a liberated open-access policy

From April 2013, science papers must be made free to access within six months of publication if they come from work paid for by one of the United Kingdom’s seven government-funded grant agencies, the research councils, which together spend about £2.8 billion (US$4.4 billion) each year on research, Nature News Blog reports.

The policy, announced by the agencies’ umbrella body Research Councils UK (RCUK), makes clear that researchers should shun science journals that don’t allow authors to follow this mandate.

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

Under proposals announced in Brussels, 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 is also committing to a stronger policy to open up wider access to the data generated by scientific experiments — although this won’t be mandatory for all projects, because of privacy and commercial interests.