Brussels, 15 June 2004
The Commission today launched a study on the economic and technical
evolution of the scientific publication markets in Europe, the results
of which will be available in 2005. The objective is to determine
the conditions required for optimum operation of the sector and
to assess the extent to which the Commission can help to meet those
conditions. The study will deal with the main topics of the current
public debate, such as the future of printed scientific reviews,
the risks associated with increases in the price of publications
in terms of access to information for researchers, open access to
research findings for all and the need to reconcile authors’
rights and the economic interests of publishers.
Philippe Busquin, the European commissioner
responsible for research has stated that “The way in which
the scientific publishing market is organised has implications.
Scientific publications not only serve to disseminate research results,
they also constitute a tool for evaluating the quality of research
teams. Our objective of establishing a genuine European Research
Area and our aim to raise the profile of European research mean
that we have to examine the scientific publishing system.”
A growing dynamic
The future of scientific publishing has been at the centre of discussions
for a number of years, leading to the adoption, in October 2003,
of the Berlin Declaration calling for open access to knowledge.
The number of scientific periodicals published throughout the world
exceeds 20 000. Every year, 1.5 million scientific articles are
Europe is in the lead with 41.3%
of all scientific publications, compared with 31.4% for the USA.
As regards the number of references, however, Europe lags behind
in most disciplines.
Trend in the sector
In the last few years, the scientific publishing sector has undergone
fundamental changes as a result of the introduction of new information
technologies and the economic evolution of the sector. Today, one
in five publications is accessible on line and more than 1 000 titles
are listed in the “Directory of Open Access Journals”.
Over the last ten years, however,
the average annual increase in the prices of scientific reviews
has approached 10%, a figure well in excess of GDP increases and
the average inflation rate.
University libraries have therefore
seen their purchasing power decline since their budgets cannot keep
pace with price increases. There are, moreover, opportunities for
archiving and communication via the Internet.
Contributing to the debate
The Commission has therefore decided to launch this study in order
to answer the following questions:
- What are the main changes in Europe?
- What and who is driving change and why? If there is any resistance to positive change, what/who is blocking it?
- What are the consequences for users (authors, readers, libraries)?
The study will therefore seek to
identify measures at European level which could help to improve
conditions governing access to and the exchange, dissemination and
archiving of scientific publications while guaranteeing a high level
of quality, diversity and protection of authors’ rights.
For more information on the Berlin
Declaration and “open access”:
Press and information officer, Research DG
Tel.: +32-2-296.96.29, Fax: +32.2.295 82 20,
E-mail: Boris.Kandziora @ cec.eu.int
Commissioner Philippe Busquin’s
Spokesman for Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin, Press
Tel. +32.2.296 41 74, Fax +32.2.296 30 03
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