Open access refers to the practice of granting free Internet access to research articles. As all research and innovation builds on earlier achievements, an efficient system for broad dissemination of and access to research data and publications can accelerate scientific progress.
The Commission objective is to optimise the impact of publicly-funded scientific research, both at European level (FP7, Horizon 2020) and at Member State level. This is essential for Europe's ability to enhance its economic performance and improve the capacity to compete through knowledge. One way to get there is open access. Results of publicly-funded research can therefore be disseminated more broadly and faster, to the benefit of researchers, innovative industry and citizens. Open access can also boost the visibility of European research, and in particular offer small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) access to the latest research for utilisation.
The Commission strategy is to develop and implement open access to research results from projects funded by the EU Research Framework Programmes, namely FP7 and Horizon 2020. Open access requirements are based on a balanced support to both 'Green open access' (immediate or delayed open access that is provided through self-archiving) and 'Gold open access' (immediate open access that is provided by a publisher).
The Commission strategy is also to encourage national initiatives at Member State level and contribute to their co-ordination within the European Research Area. The Commission also provides funds for research and supporting activities in the area of open access. During the course of Horizon 2020, the Commission will continue to engage with stakeholders, while continuing to encourage a culture of sharing scientific publications and, with due respect to the rights of all concerned, research data.