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COMMUNIA statement on open access to EU funded Horizon 2020 research

Horizon 2020 is the EU’s proposed new programme for research and innovation, which would run from 2014 to 2020. The programme would create an “Innovation Union” with a budget of €80million, bringing together current research and innovation funding available through a number of sources. On 28th November MEPs are set to vote on the proposals, which involve 6 different pieces of legislation.

It is clear that the EC’s aim of “breaking down barriers to create a genuine single market for knowledge, research and innovation” can only be met through bold steps towards open access.

The COMMUNIA Association (of which the OKFN is a member) has published a policy paper entitled “Position on EC Horizon 2020 Open Access policy” in the run-up to this month’s vote, which will be circulated among MEPs. The paper is based around two of the policy recommendations produced by members of the network. The core principles are that:

  • All publicly funded research outputs and educational resources must be made available as open access materials (aligned with the Budapest Open Access Initiative).
  • Notwithstanding the need to support OA policies, access to copyright protected material for education and research purposes must be improved by strengthening existing exceptions and limitations to copyright, and broadening these exceptions to cover uses outside of formal educational and research institutions.

Based on this, COMMUNIA recommends a clear tripartite Open Access policy to be included in the Horizon 2020 plans:

  • An Open Access mandate for all publicly funded research, in line with the BOAI. This would require the use of CC-BY, CC0 or similar licensing, and should be backed up by sanctions.
  • The elimination of sui generis rights on databases, which have not demonstrated any value since their 1996 introduction.
  • Prohibition on publishing agreements which prevent authors from archiving their research in OA repositories, or ban authors bound by an institutional OA mandate.

We hope that MEPs will take note of these recommendations when it comes to voting on the proposals next week. The full policy paper is available as a PDF, and on the Communia website.

If you’re interested in discussing open access policy at the Open Knowledge Foundation, you can join our open-access mailing list.

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