Open Access is about unlocking the full value of science and research to all, without boundaries. Starting from publications and moving on to data, Open Access is on the forefront of the European Commission, spearheading the effort towards the Digital Agenda.
Open Access is global – but implementation is local, and consequently European diversity requires extensive knowledge of national research practices, languages, administrative procedures and technical infrastructures. In less than a year, OpenAIRE has brought together a broad mixture of people from 27 European countries and is operating the digital infrastructure for Open Access to pass on the European FP7 Open Access policies to every researcher.
OpenAIRE builds on well-known and low cost technology for an Open Access infrastructure and bases its activities on the European network of institutional and thematic repositories. This allows the project to focus on the real effort – the human factor – by creating and establishing a vibrant network of Open Access advisors in 27 European countries, proactively communicating Open Access policies to researchers, engaging institution and library executives, national funders and policy makers, while adjusting efforts onto the local context.
Science is of global importance and although scientists primarily need free access to any form of scientific information, they also need to find ways to broadly and openly disseminate their research. Even though the technology for Open Access is ready to be used, the real challenge for its wide spread adoption is the human factor and the researchers' established behaviours, which oftentimes put up barriers to knowledge. OpenAIRE's human infrastructure assists researchers towards an unobstructed scholarly communication intervening at the right place, the right time.
OpenAIRE involves 38 partners from 27 European countries, representing active Open Access advocates from the library and repository world, and ICT research groups with expertise in building infrastructures. Moreover, it engages external parties to strengthen its communication messages ranging from national governmental bodies (funders and national policy makers) to emerging technologies such as Open Access journals.
OpenAIRE places Europe as a front runner and a key player on the global Open Access movement, and by its enthusiastic human network and community building efforts, it aligns and fills in the gaps in technology and organization of publication repositories in all EC member states. By spreading and implementing the Open Access European policies, it unlocks the research results and makes them public, promoting the role of the citizen-scientist and opening up research opportunities to researchers in smaller research institutes, SMEs or other developing environments.
Due to the synchronized and targeted outreach efforts of OpenAIRE, European public research funding has now the chance to have a greater impact on more people.
The EU funding to OpenAire, a Coordination and support action, is €4.17 million.
Mike Chatzopoulos, University of Athens, E-mail
Norbert Lossau, Göttingen University, E-mail
Technological coordinatorDonatella Castelli, CNR E-mail
Page added: 29 August 2011