11 January 2010
All research builds on former work, and depends on scientists’ possibilities to access and share scientific information. The advent of the internet and electronic publishing have resulted in unprecedented possibilities for the dissemination and exchange of information. ‘Open access’, defined as free access over the internet, aims to improve and promote the dissemination of knowledge, thereby improving the efficiency of scientific discovery and maximising return on investment in R&D by public research funding bodies.
The European Commission is conducting a pilot initiative on open access to peer reviewed research articles in its Seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7). In this pilot, open access to articles resulting from research funded in the seven areas participating in the pilot should be provided within a specified time period.
The European Commission launched the open access pilot in August 2008 and it will run until the end of FP7.
It requires grant recipients in seven areas to "deposit peer reviewed research articles or final manuscripts resulting from their FP7 projects into an online repository and make their best efforts to ensure open access to these articles".
The seven areas are:
- Environment (including Climate Change)
- Information and Communication Technologies (Cognitive Systems, Interaction, Robotics)
- Research Infrastructures (e-infrastructures)
- Science in society
- Socio-economic sciences and the humanities
Open access to these publications is to be ensured within
- six months after publication in the first five areas listed
- twelve months in the last two areas listed.