Robert-Jan Smits, one of Europe’s most powerful figures in research, has been appointed as a special envoy on open science at the European Commission, to help push efforts to make all publicly funded research in Europe freely available by 2020.
“The global shift towards making research findings available free of charge for readers, so-called ‘Open access’, has been a core strategy in the European Commission to improve knowledge circulation and thus innovation. It is illustrated in particular by the general principle for open access to scientific publications in Horizon 2020 and the pilot for research data.”
The European Commission recently announced plans to create “Open Research Europe” (ORE), an online platform allowing rapid, Open Access (OA) publication of Horizon 2020 related peer reviewed articles and preprints. The platform aims to be a fast, cost-effective high-quality service, with mechanisms for open review and alternative metrics. It will be a free, complimentary (i.e., non-compulsory) service for H2020 beneficiaries. In developing such a service, the EC will join a growing list of funders (e.g., Wellcome Trust, Gates Foundation, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative) who offer their researchers a direct, low-cost route to OA publication. Given this is the first initiative of its kind, from a large public funder, OpenAIRE would like to take the chance to make public its point of view.
OpenAIRE receives the initiative with great interest, and appreciates that a major funder recognises that scholarly publishing is a vital and integral part of the research lifecycle. The EC has long recognised the need to complement policy actions with investments in infrastructure to support OA implementation, through initiatives like OpenAIRE. ORE has the potential to extend further these activities by enabling a well-recognised, user friendly platform to publish researchers’ output in a timely and cost-effective manner. At the same time, however, it should be trusted, community led, open and transparent.
“We welcome the European Commission’s commitment to making OA models of scholarly publishing a cornerstone of its Open Science policy. We consider the transition to OA one of the key policies the European Commission and national governments should pursue in order to foster progress across academic disciplines and enable European citizens and those of other countries to benefit from publicly funded research. However, we also urge European policy makers to ensure the viability and sustainability of OA scholarly publishing.”
“The European Commission is putting together a Commission Expert Group to provide advice about the development and implementation of open science policy in Europe. It will be known as the Open Science Policy Platform (OSPP). This is potentially excellent news. The OSPP’s primary goal is to ‘advise the Commission on how to further develop and practically implement open science policy’. But there’s potentially a downside here. We can be sure that the legacy publishers will attempt to stuff the committee with their own people, just as they did with the Finch committee — and that, if they succeed, they will do everything they can to retard all forms of progress that hurt their bottom line, just as they did with the Finch committee. Unfortunately, multinational corporations with £2 billion annual revenue and £762 million annual profit (see page 17 of Elsevier’s 2014 annual report) are very well positioned to dedicate resources to getting their people onto influential committees. Those of us without a spare £762 million to spend on marketing are at a huge operational disadvantage when it comes to influencing policy. Happily, though, we do have one important thing on our side: we’re right. So we should do what we can to get genuinely progressive pro-open candidates onto the OSPP. I know of several people who have put themselves forward, and I am briefly describing them below (in the order I hear about their candidacy). I have publicly endorsed the first few, and will go on to endorse the others just as soon as I have a moment. If you know and admire these people, please consider leaving your own endorsement — it will help their case to be taken on to the OSPP …”
“The European Research Council (ERC) and OAPEN Foundation have announced today their cooperation in furthering open access to academic books and book chapters. With the help of an ERC grant OAPEN will develop a tailor-made deposit service for ERC grantees and their publishers. The OAPEN library provides a platform for the full-text dissemination of open access books from all scientific areas, in particular in social sciences and humanities. As part of the new project funded by the ERC, OAPEN will provide guidance and support to ERC grantees and their publishers to comply with ERC open access requirements for books. It will aggregate and allow the deposit of open access monographs and book chapters based on ERC funded research, provide quality assurance and dissemination of deposited publications and ensure their digital preservation …”
“Speaking at a bilateral meeting with Sander Dekker, the Dutch Secretary of State for Education, Culture and Science, Commissioner [Carlos] Moedas reiterated the strong commitment of the European Commission to open access to scientific peer reviewed publications, which is a cornerstone of one of his top priorities – the policy on Open Science …”
“After a month of intense conversations and negotiations, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) will bring the ‘Fair Access to Science and Technology Research (FASTR) Act’ up for mark-up on Wednesday, July 29th. The language that will be considered is an amended version of FASTR, officially known as the ‘Johnson-Carper Substitute Amendment,’ which was officially filed by the HSGAC leadership late on Friday afternoon, per committee rules. There are two major changes from the original bill language to be particularly aware of. Specifically, the amendment Replaces the six month embargo period with ‘no later than 12 months, but preferably sooner’ as anticipated; and Provides a mechanism for stakeholders to petition federal agencies to ‘adjust’ the embargo period if the12 months does not serve ‘the public, industries, and the scientific community.’ We understand that these modifications were made in order accomplish a number of things: Satisfy the requirement of a number of Members of HSGAC that the language more closely track that of the OSTP Directive; Meet the preference of the major U.S. higher education associations for a maximum 12 month embargo; Ensure that, for the first time, a number of scientific societies will drop their opposition for the bill; and Ensure that any petition process an agency may enable is focused on serving the interests of the public and the scientific community …”