Open Access refers to the principle and practice of providing free online access to scholarly publications. In line with the Berlin Declaration on Open Access of 22 October 2003, Science Europe defines Open Access as “unrestricted, online access to scholarly research publications (including books, monographs and non-traditional research materials) for reading and productive re-use, not impeded by any financial, organisational, legal or technical barriers.” Ideally, the only restriction on use is an obligation to attribute the work to its author. The Science Europe Roadmap also states the objectives of Science Europe regarding Open Access, saying that removing barriers to access to published research results increases the impact of research as well as the overall cost efficiency of the publication system.
Given the benefits of Open Access, a swift transition from the current subscription-based publication model to Open Access models is needed. Science Europe Member Organisations play an important role in insuring the transition takes place in an effective manner at national level, while at the same time collectively contributing to policies that support the transition. This includes taking into account the needs of researchers in the different scientific communities.
In order to support this transition, Science Europe members 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 public Research Funding and Performing Organisations collectively endorsed and committed to actionable principles that will contribute to a swift transition to Open Access.
The Science Europe Working Group on Open Access to Scientific Publications brings together experts from Science Europe members to exchange knowledge, provide expertise on practical issues and offer advice to enable Science Europe to contribute to policy debates.