The EU's open science policy

Open science is a policy priority for the European Commission and the standard method of working under its research and innovation funding programmes as it improves the quality, efficiency and responsiveness of research.

When researchers share knowledge and data as early as possible in the research process with all relevant actors it helps diffuse the latest knowledge.

And when partners from across academia, industry, public authorities and citizen groups are invited to participate in the research and innovation process, creativity and trust in science increases.

That is why the Commission requires beneficiaries of research and innovation funding to make their publications available in open access and make their data as open as possible and as closed as necessary. It recognises and rewards the participation of citizens and end users.

Furthermore, the European Open Science Cloud will enable researchers across disciplines and countries to store, curate and share data.

The effective linking of open science practices to innovation and business models requires careful consideration of issues such as Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), licensing agreements, interoperability and reuse of data.

To develop its open science policy the Commission works closely with 2 expert groups:

  • The Open Science Policy Platform advised the Commission on how to further develop and practically implement open science policy
  • The expert group on indicators proposes indicators researchers' engagement with open science and its impacts supporting and acknowledging open knowledge practices.

8 ambitions of the EU's open science policy

Open Data

FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-usable data) and open data sharing should become the default for the results of EU-funded scientific research.


European Open Science Cloud (EOSC)

The (EOSC is a trusted, virtual, federated environment that cuts across borders and scientific disciplines to store, share, process and reuse research digital objects (like publications, data, and software) that are Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR). EOSC brings together institutional, national and European stakeholders, initiatives and infrastructures.

Read more about the EOSC


New generation metrics

New indicators must be developed to complement the conventional indicators for research quality and impact, so as to do justice to open science practices.

Expert group on altmetrics


Mutual learning exercise on open science - altmetrics and rewards

Mutual learning exercises focus on specific research and innovation challenges of interest to several EU countries and associated countries and draw on a hands-on project-based exchange of good practice. This exercise focused on defining.

  • alternative metrics to measure the qualities and impact of research outcomes
  • rewards for researchers to engage in open science activities

Read more about this mutual learning exercise


Future of scholarly communication

All peer-reviewed scientific publications should be freely accessible, and the early sharing of different kinds of research outputs should be encouraged.

Read more about open access policy


Rewards

Research career evaluation systems should fully acknowledge open science activities.

A working group in this area produced a report in 2017 on rewards, incentives and recognition for researchers practicing open science


Research integrity

All publicly funded research in the EU should adhere to commonly agreed standards of research integrity.


Education and skills

All scientists in Europe should have the necessary skills and support to apply open science research routines and practices.

A working group in this area produced a report in 2017, Providing researchers with the skills and competencies they need to practise Open Science


Citizen science

The general public should be able to make significant contributions and be recognised as valid European science knowledge producers.

Factsheet on citizen science

Video on citizen science with Commissioner Gabriel

Future of open science under Horizon Europe

Horizon Europe, starting in January 2021 is the research and innovation funding programme that will follow the Commission's current one, Horizon 2020.

Open science policy will continue to develop under this programme with a number of aims already defined.

Aims for open science policy under Horizon Europe

  • ensure that beneficiaries retain the intellectual property rights they need to comply with their open access obligations
  • require research data to be FAIR and open by default (with exceptions notably for commercial purposes)
  • promote the adoption of open science practices, from sharing research outputs as early and widely as possibly, to citizen science, and developing new indicators for evaluation research and rewarding researchers
  • engage and involve citizens, civil society organisations and end-users in co-design and co-creation processes and promote responsible research and innovation
  • European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) will enter its next stage of development in 2021
  • fund the development of an open-access publishing platform to host Horizon 2020 (and later Horizon Europe) beneficiaries’ publications

The Open Science Monitor observes the development of open science in Europe, and other global partner countries. It provides trends, data and indicators.

Open Science Monitor website.

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