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EC pilots new scheme for open access to research articles

The EC will fund over €50 billion of research during FP7. Therefore, it is extremely keen to see that these research results are disseminated as widely and effectively as possible to guarantee maximum exploitation and impact with researchers and beyond.

This is because fast and reliable access to research results, especially on the internet, can drive further innovation, scientific discovery and support the development of a strong knowledge-based economy. Therefore, the EC recently launched a pilot project that will give unrestricted online access to EU-funded research results, primarily for research articles published in peer reviewed journals after an embargo period of 6-12 months (to first allow scientific publishers to gain a return on their investment). This pilot covers around 20 per cent of the FP7 programme budget and is being trialled for research in the FP7 areas of: health, energy, environment, social-economic sciences and humanities, information and communication technologies, science in society and research infrastructures.

This pilot follows on from the EC’s February 2007 Communication on ‘Scientific information in the digital age: access, dissemination and preservation’ and the subsequent invitation from the EU Council of Research Ministers to experiment with open access in FP7. Since 2006, the EC has also organised extensive consultations on open access, including a high level stakeholder conference with around 500 participants in February 2007. Many national funding bodies, for example the Wellcome Trust in the UK, already have open access rules and the European Research Council (ERC) Scientific Council have also adopted guidelines for open access in December 2007.

Further Information:

EC Press Releases IP/08/1262 and MEMO/08/548 (a FAQ document) of 20 August 2008 are available at: