The EU should promote the sharing and dissemination of scientific knowledge.

Ten reasons for an open access publishing policy in Horizon 2020

1. If taxpayers pay the research, they should be able to read the results. When European taxpayers pay for the research the public should have easy and free access to the published results. A number of European Governments are proposing open access legislation. The US Congress is also considering a bipartisan bill for open access to publicly financed scientific articles.



2. Getting more out of money spent on research. Open access would mean more economic efficiency of EU funded research by speeding research progress, by limiting wasteful repetition and by increasing scientific transparency that spurs academic excellence. It would also greatly help SMEs and other economic actors in their process of innovation and job creation.

3. Public interest demands access to crucial health-related and environmental information. Open access publishing will quickly provide professionals and policy makers with crucial health-related and environmental information of public interest, without costly pay-walls or restrictive commercial confidentiality.

4. Spreading the good research news. Many research funding agencies and universities support open access as they want the research they support to have the greatest possible dissemination and impact.

5. “Academic spring” demands openness. Thousands of researchers and academics are participating in an “academic spring” protest in demand of open access to scientific knowledge and have begun to boycott large scientific journals. Scholars and academics do not want to have the circulation of their work restricted by narrow copyright licensing that often awards re-publishing and re-use rights to publishers while peer reviewing and editing of articles is usually done free of charge by academics.


6. A reasonable EU proposal for all. A maximum six month embargo period would allow a period of publishing exclusivity before open access is mandated. A small fraction of EU research grants financing could be used to help pay the costs of open access publishing. The European Commission and many Members of the European Parliament are supporting open access publishing with these elements. 

7. Society can reap digital dividend and avoid paying twice. On-line publishing has drastically reduced costs while profits by publishers remain very high, often above 35%.

8. Research and university libraries cannot afford it. University and research library budgets of EU member states are under great financial strain due to the high price of scientific journals in the context general budgetary restrictions in many countries.

9. Global sharing of knowledge. Developing countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America would greatly benefit from open access publishing because most of the countries of the Global South cannot afford the purchase of scientific journals.

10. Open access means many actors and more diversity in scientific publishing. The dominant position of three publishing groups that control nearly half of global scientific publications grants excessive academic and economic power to just a few industry players.