Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, February 15, 2007

EU "throwing its weight" behind OA

Paul Meller, EU to push online publication of scientific data, InfoWorld, February 15, 2007.  Excerpt:

In a bid to speed up the dissemination of scientific discoveries, the European Commission said Thursday it plans to shake up the old-fashioned world of scientific publishing by throwing its weight behind a move to make scientific research results freely available on the Internet....

The Commission is hosting a two-day conference starting Thursday with the publishers as well as with advocates of a free, Internet-based model for scientific publishing.

In its statement, the Commission made it clear that it favors freer access to research results. It is planning to spend about 85 million ($111 million) over the next two years improving the digital storage and online accessibility of scientific results.

Digital technologies are reshaping how research information is viewed, analyzed, and eventually published, the Commission said. For example, about 90 percent of all science journals are now available online, often by subscription. But digital technologies are also leading to more "open access" publishing. This provides free and wide access to publications online. Better access to research data also opens the way to new types of uses and services, often through the reusing of past results as the raw material for new experimentation....

"The digital revolution has led the European scientific community to suggest that an alternative publishing model with better access to research publications could further stimulate research excellence and innovation," Commissioner for Research Janez Potocnik told delegates at the conference.

Publishers association STM had argued that it would be wrong for the Commission to favor one business model over another and urged it to back off from the scientific publishing sector.

But the association changed its tune Thursday, after learning how serious the Commission is about taking action.

"I am pleased that the Commission has recognized the complex issues that surround the publication and preservation of scientific information and has seen fit to initiate a dialogue rather than prematurely imposing a policy that could undermine STM publishing, which is such an important industry for Europe," said Michael Mabe, CEO of STM in a statement released Thursday.

The STM welcomes the Commission's action plan "in the area of creating a level playing field for publication business models, recognizing that further research on preservation and economics is essential before adopting any policy positions," the association said in its latest statement.

PS:  The EC statement still isn't available online.  To judge from this story, it's strong enough to justify the lede but squishy enough to justify publisher expressions of gratitude.  More later.