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EU Science Funding Groups Lay Out Open Access Guidelines

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – European science funding organizations are planning to enact open access policies requiring publications resulting from studies they funded to be made publicly available as soon as possible. Toward that end, the groups have now agreed to a set of common principles to guide the transition away from the current publication model.

Science Europe, an association of 51 European science funding agencies, universities, and institutes, today unveiled a collection of guidelines for open access policies that would allow for some diversity but most research would be published in an open format within six months after publication. These articles could be deposited into free and open research repositories or published in open access journals.

Open access policies will "[improve] the pace, efficiency, and efficacy of research," and it encourages collaboration by removing the "structural and geographical barriers that hinder the free circulation of knowledge," Science Europe said.

The association also is keen on cutting out the costs that that the research community pays to access the findings from research that its members funded as well as costs that institutions bear for publication and for subscriptions.

Science Europe also hopes that by having its members adopt a set of broad guidelines that it will encourage the European Commission, national governments, and other funding organizations to pursue similar paths toward open access.

Science Europe's member organizations agreed that they would support any valid approaches to achieving open access.

This means that organizations would be free to adopt a so-called 'green' open access policy, in which authors publish in any journal and then self-archive a copy for public use through their institution or in a central repository, or a 'gold' approach, under which authors publish in an open access journal like BioMed Central that provides immediate access to all of its articles on the web.

The members also will recognize repositories and related facilities as "key strategic research infrastructure," will push for research results to be published either in an open access journal or deposited in a repository within six months after publication, and would put in place mechanisms to ensure that research publications are still subject to "rigorous quality assurance," Science Europe said.

In addition, the members will expect publishers to apply institutional, regional, or national reductions in journal subscription costs, and they will require that any open access publication fees are charged or spent within the context of a transparent cost structure.

Science Europe envisions that each organization will implement policies based on its particular needs, but that these principles will create a foundation for the organizations to cooperate and share knowledge about how their policies function.