The EU will embrace open access research and keep the ‘racket’ of scientific publications in check

The EU is determined to curb the “noise” of scientific publications by supporting open access to government-funded research papers.

proposals, reported first by Research Professional News, highlighted in a new document from the Council of the EU.

In draft conclusions that will be adopted later this month, the council called for open access to be the standard in scientific publishing. It also wants to end the controversial practice of charging authors fees.

“Immediate and unrestricted open access should be the norm when publishing research with public funds, with transparent pricing consistent with publishing services and where costs are not covered by individual authors or readers.” reads the text.

According to the document, the position has been agreed “at a technical level”. They will now be submitted for approval to research ministers at a meeting on 23 May 2023.

Publicly funded research should be freely available to the public.

The move by the EU could have profound consequences for a divisive industry. Academic publishers can charge thousands of dollars to access individual articles, even though the articles are based on taxpayer-funded research. In addition, the author of the study often has to pay the publisher to publish the article.

The EU’s proposals could change this stunningly profitable business model. Unsurprisingly, research tech entrepreneurs have welcomed the move.

“I don’t know why it took so long to rein in the science publishing racket, but it looks like the EU is finally delivering,” tweeted Mikko Alasaarela, a founder of a serial startup in Helsinki. “Publicly funded research should be freely available to the public. It is finally becoming reality!”