Open Access to Scientific Publications

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.

Science Europe Working Group on Open Access to Research Publications

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.

On 4 September 2018, 11 national research funding organisation, with the support of the European Commission including the European Research Council (ERC), announced the launch of cOAlition S, an initiative to make full and immediate Open Access to research publications a reality. It is built around Plan S, which consists of one target and 10 principles. More information on cOAlition S.

Publications on Open Access

Working Group Members

Science Europe wishes you a very happy festive season and looks forward to working with you in 2019... read more

(23/11/18) Stephan Kuster, Secretary General of Science Europe, has been appointed as one of 11 members of the new Executive Board of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC).

(12/11/2018) R&I stakeholders call on the EU institutions to seek a balanced approach to data sharing in the PSI Directive... read more

(19/10/18) Science Europe is currently recruiting a new Senior Policy Officer... read more

(12/09/18) Science Europe is disappointed that the European Parliament did not sufficiently improve the far too restrictive proposal for TDM in the new Copyright Directive in today’s plenary vote... read more

(04/09/18) Science without publication paywalls: cOAlition S for the realisation of full and immediate Open Access... read more

(11/07/2018) Research funders making Open Access a reality by more

(08/06/2018) Science Europe has published its reaction to the European Commission's Proposal on Horizon Europe…read more

(01/06/2018) Rosa Menéndez (CSIC) was elected as Science Europe Vice-President... Read more

(31/05/18) Science Europe held its 2018 High-Level Workshop on the topic of Mission-oriented Research… Read more


The Practical Guide to the International Alignment of Research Data Management (November 2018) presents core requirements for Data Management Plans (DMPs) and criteria for the selection of trustworthy repositories, as well as some guidance on how to put these requirements and criteria into practice... read more