Supranational: European Commission


The Commission has been developing policy and measures on Open Access since 2006. In 2007 the European Commission presented a petition for guaranteed Open Access to publicly-funded research results, signed by more than 28,000 institutions and individuals.

Key policy documents include Commission Communication and the Council Conclusions in 2007.

In 2008 the EC launched a pilot project on Open Access which covered 20% of the budget of the Seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7). This pilot project has been effective. Both the 'Gold’ and the 'Green' routes are promoted and the costs for 'Gold’ Open Access are eligible for all projects in FP7, even those outside the scope of the pilot project.

The Commission also funds OpenAIRE (Open Access Infrastructure for Research in Europe), which supports the implementation of open access in Europe supplying an infrastructure and national helpdesks. OpenAIRE currently identifies thousands of FP7 publications, ensuring open access to a large number and the open publication of the rest once their embargo period has concluded. A second phase of the project is investigating how to provide access to the primary research data associated to scientific publications.

The European Research Council (ERC) has also published some Open Access guidelines (with six months embargo, including primary research data).

Open access to publications:

  • On 17 July 2012 the European Commission outlined measures to improve access to scientific information produced in Europe in a Communication and a Recommendation to the Member States. The need to ensure the widest possible access to publicly-funded research results, while conserving a solid and sustainable system of scientific dissemination, has been a key consideration in the definition of the specific measures of the Commission’s initiative. The Commission has followed the most recent debates and reactions to initiatives such as 'The Cost of Knowledge’ and has taken into account documents such as the Finch Report and the ALPSP report.
  • The Commission proposes making Open Access to scientific publications a general principle of Horizon 2020, building on the already existing activities in FP7 (e.g. eligibility of Open Access publishing costs or an embargo period for ‘Green’ Open Access of six to twelve months).
  • The Commission views Open Access as a way of improving knowledge circulation and not a goal in itself. As is the case in FP7, Horizon 2020 includes both 'Green' and 'Gold' Open Access measures. The Commission believes that both routes are valid and complementary approaches for Open Access to be effective, fair, affordable, competitive and sustainable for researchers and innovative businesses.
  • The Commission will also continue to fund relevant Open Access projects (research, coordination and support), and create and consolidate infrastructure.
  • The scientific community, research libraries and organisations, funding bodies and civil society organisations have reacted very positively to the Commission Communication.

Open access ti research data:

  • The Commission proposed in its Communication 'Towards better access to scientific information' to develop a pilot on Open Access to data, dealing primarily with those data underlying (Open Access) scientific publications. The areas covered by the pilot should be discussed together with the thematic Units within the Commission and their stakeholders.
  • Project results which are related to privacy, trade secrets, national security, legitimate commercial interests and intellectual property rights shall not be requested in Open Access mode. Additionally, any data, knowledge or information whatever their form or nature which are held by private parties in a joint public/private partnership prior to the research action and have been identified as such shall also not fall under such an Open Access obligation.
  • In 2012 the FECYT launch of a working group set up to study the general situation of the management of scientific research data from research and its use in repositories. The result of this study is the report "The preservation and reuse of scientific data in Spain. Report of the good practices working group".