The Horizon is Changing

The Horizon is Changing

Something big happened in Europe:

All European scientific articles to be freely accessible by 2020 Europe makes a definitive choice for open access by 2020

This is the main outcome of the meeting of the Competitiveness Council in Brussels on 27 May 2016. 


See here for the Press release.

The Open Access movement, to many, seemed to have become the rearguard battle of an increasingly smaller group of idealists. However, the combined strengths, on this topic, by Commissioner Moedas [Research, Science and Innovation] and Dutch State Secretary Sander Dekker [Education, Culture and Science], resulted in a significant step forward for Open Access.

Commissioner Moedas identified the three strategic priorities for Europe: Open Innovation, Open Science, Open to the World. Sander Dekker made Open Science a top priority for the Netherlands presidency.

In last Friday's Press Conference, after the meeting of the Competitiveness (Internal Market, Industry, Research, and Space) Council, Sander Dekker, Dutch State Secretary for Education, Culture and Science, announced that the Council (Competitiveness - the EU ministers responsible for research and innovation), at its session of 26-27 May 2016, has unanimously adopted the Draft Council conclusions on the transition towards an Open Science system

More specifically, with regards to optimal reuse of research data, the Council (my underlining in bold):

"14. UNDERLINES that research data originating from publicly funded research projects could be considered as a public good, and ENCOURAGES the Member States, the Commission and stakeholders to set optimal reuse of research data as the point of departurewhilst recognising the needs for different access regimes because of Intellectual Property Rights, personal data protection and confidentiality, security concerns, as well as global economic competitiveness and other legitimate interests. Therefore, the underlying principle for the optimal reuse of research data should be: “as open as possible, as closed as necessary”.

15. WELCOMES the intention of the Commission to make research data produced by the Horizon 2020 programme open by default, whilst recognising the right of opting out on grounds based on Intellectual Property Rights, personal data protection and confidentiality, security concerns, and other legitimate interests; CALLS on the Commission to promote data stewardship – including training activities and awareness-raising – and to implement Data Management Plans as an integral part of the research process and to continue to make the costs incurred for both data management and preparation of research data eligible for funding in Horizon 2020; ENCOURAGES Member States and stakeholders to set up strategies accordingly and to implement the use of Data Management Plans as a standard scientific practice in their national research programmes."

Commissioner Moedas stated (33:20 onwards) in the Competitiveness Council: 'The Commission will always lead by example." In this respect, three developments are illustrative:

  1. Open by default in Horizon 2020 funded research (as open as possible, as closed as necessary).
  2. The European Open Science Cloud.
  3. The European Open Science Policy Platform

A Vision For Europe
During the meeting of the Competitiveness Council, Commissioner Moedas also presented The Three Os Book: Open Innovation, Open Science, Open to the World. A vision for Europe. Download the The Three Os Book here.

During our Designing and Shaping Open Science Symposium (April 5 2016), Celina Ramjoué [Head of Sector, OA to scientific publications and data
European Commission. DG Communications Networks, Content and Technology (CONNECT) - Digital Science Unit] presented the latest insight in the Open Research Data Pilot in H2020. See here for her slides and the video capture of her keynote, as well as the other contributions, with regards to data protection and privacy. 

See also the Amsterdam Call for Action on Open Science, output of the NL EU Open Science Conference (April 4 & 5 2016) and input for the Competitiveness Council meeting on 27 May 2016. From our Designing and Shaping Open Science we contributed to the third Action - Improve insight into IPR and issues such as privacy:

The re-use of personal data for scientific purposes also needs some further thinking. A deeper insight in the tension between privacy and open science is needed.

Implement ‘privacy by design’ to overcome legal and operational uncertainty.

By: Marlon Domingus