The majority of EU citizens want open access to scientific publications when research has been financed by taxpayers. We ask the European Parliament to defend this call in defence of scientific advancement and the public interest.
Proposals for open access to scientific articles that result from publicly financed research are now seriously threatened by amendments presented by MEP Christian Ehler, the rapporteur of the Rules for the Participation and Dissemination of Horizon 2020. The European Parliament is presently at a key stage in proposing Horizon 2020 amendments and MEP Ehler´s proposals, that according to reports were written by scientific publishers lobbyists, close the door to the European Commission being able to demand open access publishing in EU grant agreements or work programmes.
Here are a few examples of MEP Ehler´s confusing draft amendments to 2011/0399(COD) that if approved will make open access very diffcult if not impossible. This is done by emptying any real content from the term “open access.”
While amendment 85 on Article 40, paragraph 2, says “with regard to the dissemination of results the grant agreement may lay down the terms and conditions under which open access to results shall be provided”, amendment 23 on article 2, paragraph 1, states that ” `results´ means any data, knowledge, information, objects and other tangible outputs. Publications which describe, interpret, or analyse data, knowledge or information generated as a direct result of Horizon 2020 funding do not constitute results.” While MEP Ehler seems to accept the general principle of open access (Amendment 84), at the same time he very significantly deletes from the European Commission proposal that “open access shall apply under the terms and conditions of the grant agreement”. By closing the door for concrete legal conditions in the grant agreements requiring open access, this general principle becomes a hollow and meaningless declaration of good intentions.
Thousands of scientists and academics around Europe have demanded open access policies in what has become denominated as the “academic spring”. Now is the time for our political representatives to heed this demand.
Now is the time for voices in favour of open acces to be heard in the European Parliament.
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