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Open Access target: will all European scientific articles be freely accessible by 2020?

June 01 2016

Recently, European Union member states agreed on an ambitious new open access (OA) target to make all scientific papers freely available by 2020. This new OA policy will have an undeniable impact on the reuse of research data. In addition, this open access will help scholars and researchers to do their work more efficiently. 

Open access means that scientific publications on the results of research supported by public and public-private funds must be freely accessible to everyone, which is currently not the case. With the new OA target, publicly funded research results will become accessible to people outside universities and knowledge institutions by 2020. This could be a “life-changing” move, because open access can play as part of a stronger foundation for research, emphasising the most efficient ways to communicate results and amplifying all of its desired outcomes: accelerating discoveries, fostering innovation, creating new business opportunities, and contributing to the welfare of society as a whole.

The Dutch government already paved the way for OA and currently holds the rotating E.U. presidency, giving it a 6-month megaphone to promote its favourite policy ideas. This includes Europe-wide support for OA to the scientific literature. On the 27th of May, the Competitiveness Council concluded that all scientific papers should be freely available by 2020. And according to the latest messages, the commission is committed to help move this forward. The decision was welcomed by the League of European Research Universities (LERU), which called this decision as "a major boost for the transition towards an Open Science system." Spokespersons of the councils already expressed that the 2020 target will not be an easy task. However, these councils stress the importance of this OA goal and with their support it is very likely that this “life-changing” move will become reality in the near future.


M. Enserink. In dramatic statement, European leaders call for ‘immediate’ open access to all scientific papers by 2020. Science, 27-05-2016

All European scientific articles to be freely accessible by 2020. The Netherlands EU presidency 2016, 27-05-2016.

H. Joseph. The impact of open access on research and scholarship. Coll. res. libr. news vol. 73 (2) p. 83-87

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Michelle van Wijk, MSc
+31 (0)30 7370779.