Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

EC recommends OA for publicly-funded research

The European Commission has released its Recommendation on the management of intellectual property in knowledge transfer activities and Code of Practice for universities and other public research organisations, April 10, 2008.  (Thanks to Jordi Adell.)  While the focus is on "tech transfer" (as we call it in the US), the document contains an important recommendation on OA:

The Commission of the European Communities...

Hereby recommends that member states should:

4. Promote the broad dissemination of knowledge created with public funds, by taking steps to encourage open access to research results, while enabling, where appropriate, the related intellectual property to be protected; ...


  • This is as explicit a recommendation for OA as the EC has made since February 2007, when its Communication concluded (p. 7) that "Initiatives leading to wider access to and dissemination of scientific information are necessary, especially with regard to journal articles and research data produced on the basis of public funding."
  • The new document is not the long-awaited sequel to that tentative communication.  But the fact that the EC included the OA recommendation in a document with a slightly different focus is most encouraging. 
  • Note that the IP proviso in the new OA recommendation is secondary.  The recommendation calls for OA and "where appropriate" protection of IP.  It does not call for protection of IP and "where appropriate" OA.
  • The document is signed by Günter Verheugen and Janez Potocnik, both members of the EC.  Potocnik is the Commissioner of the Research Directorate-General, author of the February 2007 Communication, and author of the April 2007 green paper I've blogged so much about.