The European Union's Competitiveness Council has called for all publicly funded scientific papers to be immediately freely accessible to the public by 2020, ScienceInsider reports.
The council, which is made up of science, innovation, trade, and industry ministers, held a two-day meeting in Brussels during which it set this new open access target. The Guardian adds that the data must also be accessible, unless there are intellectual property, security, or privacy issues.
ScienceInsider notes that the Dutch, who currently hold the EU presidency, had lobbied heavily for Open Science and so did Carlos Moedas, the European Commissioner for Research and Innovation.
"The time for talking about Open Access is now past. With these agreements, we are going to achieve it in practice," says Sander Dekker, the Dutch education, culture, and science secretary, in a statement.
But some note that achieving this goal may be tricky, ScienceInsider adds. The council, it says, hasn't provided details as to how counties can make to move to full OA in four years or said whether a Gold OA — in which papers are placed in a repository — or a Green OA — in which papers are published in OA journals — route is preferable.
"The means are still somewhat vague, but the determination to reach the goal of having all scientific articles freely accessible by 2020 is welcome," Stevan Harnad from the University of Québec, an OA advocate, says.