Open Access refers to the principle and practice of providing free online access to scholarly publications. The aim of Open Access is to make scientific publications available to users via the Internet, where they can be used without technical or legal restriction, and are free of charge. This opens new possibilities for researchers to access knowledge and information, and it improves knowledge transfer in society, policy, and the economy. Science Europe is committed to playing a role in accomplishing the transition to Open Access in an efficient and sustainable way.
Open Access to research publications is one of the nine ‘Priority Action Areas’ of the Science Europe Roadmap. Science Europe Member Organisations play an important role in insuring the transition takes place effectively at national level, while at the same time collectively contributing to policies that support the transition on a European level.
Given the benefits of Open Access, a swift transition from the current subscription-based publication model to Open Access models is needed. In order to support this transition, Science Europe Member Organisations unanimously adopted a set of common principles on the transition to Open Access to research publications in April 2013. It was the first time that the major European research organisations collectively endorsed and committed to actionable principles that will contribute to a swift transition to Open Access. Thanks to this initiative, an overwhelming majority of Science Europe Member Organisations have implemented Open Access policies or are actively developing these.
Today, major public funders in Europe, including Science Europe Member Organisations, share the most advanced Open Access policies in the world. The research performing members of Science Europe are also among the leading organisations promoting Open Access with very concrete actions, such as the OA 2020 initiative launched by the Max Planck society, and the Leibniz Association’s Science 2.0 Research Alliance.
The Science Europe Working Group on Open Access to Research Publications brings together experts from Science Europe Member Organisations to exchange knowledge, provide expertise on practical issues, and offer advice that enables Science Europe to contribute to key policy debate in this field.
The expertise of the Working Group enables Science Europe to contribute to the policy debate by helping with the development of joint positions on Open Access issues, including joint positions towards EU- and ERA-related developments on Open Access.
The Working Group also supports Science Europe Member Organisations in implementing Open Access policies by suggesting solutions to practical issues that may hamper the transition. On a wider scale they promote Open Access in the research and policy community raising awareness on its benefits and challenges.