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Open Access on the 'Horizon?'

Negotiations are proceeding as the European Commission debates the details of its new €80 billion, seven-year research funding program Horizon 2020, says ScienceInsider's Jop de Vrieze. One of the points being discussed is how committed the Commission is to making open access to research a part of the program's rules. The Commission's director-general of research and innovation, Robert-Jan Smits, has said that research papers funded by Horizon 2020 — which runs from 2014 through 2020 — will be available through open-access channels within six months to a year of publication.

But the Commission currently has no power to make sure scientists follow this rule, de Vrieze says. And journal publishers are already complaining that six months is nowhere near enough time to cover publishing expenses before the papers become freely available. "We are open to any model, as long as it is sustainable," says Elsevier's Alicia Wise. "That means, the health of the journal is OK and the costs that are made are reimbursed."

The debate is currently unfolding in Brussels, de Vrieze adds, where publishers are lobbying hard to secure their interests, but Smits says the Commission will be guided by what's good for science and not by lobbying.

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