All European Scientific Papers Will Be Freely Available by 2020, EU Says

May 30, 2016 | Johannes Van Zijl

European Union flag blue and yellow stars
Photo credit: MPD01605/Flickr (CC by 2.0)

The dramatic decision by the EU brings us one step closer to a world where knowledge is freely accessible and reusable!

European Union (EU) ministers have agreed to make publicly funded scientific papers free of charge by 2020.  The move to provide open access to scientific publications in Europe was unanimously passed by the EU ministers responsible for research and innovation during a meeting in Brussels on May 27.

Currently, the results from publicly funded research are not freely accessible to the general public in Europe. Although, science papers are made available to universities and some institutions through costly subscriptions, many teachers, doctors and entrepreneurs are blocked by these paywalls and cannot access scientific research that would directly impact their work.

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Now the EU wants to change that. The motivation behind the decision is to spark innovation and increase the number of tech startups in Europe. By making scientific research more readily available, more people would have an opportunity to apply the data and knowledge to their own fields.

The Dutch state secretary of Education, Culture and Science, Sander Dekker, said in a media release,  “Research and innovation generate economic growth and more jobs and provide solutions to societal challenges. And that means a stronger Europe.”

“To achieve that, Europe must be as attractive as possible for researchers and startups to locate here and for companies to invest. That calls for knowledge to be freely shared.”

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