In August 2008 the European Commission launched the open access pilot as part of FP7. The pilot will require grant recipients in seven research areas – energy, environment, health, parts of information and communication technologies, research infrastructures, science in society and social sciences and humanities – to deposit their research articles online and ensure open access to these articles within 6–12 months of publication.
Open access, or free access over the Internet, will help improve and promote the dissemination of knowledge and ensure fast and reliable access to EU-funded research results. This open access will help drive innovation, advance scientific discovery and support development towards a stronger knowledge-based economy.
Covering around 20% of the FP7 budget and running until the end of FP7, the pilot is based on the idea of self-archiving, or ‘green’, open access. This means that authors place their manuscripts of peer-reviewed articles in depositories available in open access mode. The pilot also foresees ‘gold’ open access whereby the Commission would fully reimburse open access publication fees throughout the duration of FP7 projects.
The idea of open access was first discussed in 2006 and was only agreed on after consultations with research ministers and numerous other stakeholders, including a high-level stakeholder conference in February 2007.
With open access, peer-reviewed publications on environmental research will be available on the Internet after an embargo period of six months. From now on, all grant recipients will be encouraged to participate in this pilot to ensure greater visibility to their work.