EU Council calls for transparent, fair and open access to academic publications

Date of publication: 28.5.2023

On 23 May 2023, the Council of the EU adopted conclusions on high quality, transparent, open, trustworthy and fair academic publishing, calling for immediate and unrestricted open access in the publication of research involving public funds.

Scientific articles and other forms of academic publication continue to be the main means of disseminating research results and scientific knowledge. However, far from every article is available to other researchers or other interested readers. The costs of paywalls for accessing and publishing articles are becoming unsustainable, and publication channels for researchers are often in the hands of private companies, which often control the intellectual property of the articles. Peer review of articles is essential to ensure quality control of articles, but this process brings challenges such as an increase in the number of submissions and overload of reviewers. There are also problems of predatory and questionable publication practices.

In its conclusions, the Council calls on the Commission and the Member States to support policies aimed at a non-profit, open access, multi-format model of academic publishing, at no cost to authors or readers. Some Member States have introduced secondary publication rights in their national copyright legislation, allowing open access to academic publications involving public funds. The Council encourages national open access policies and guidelines to make scientific publications readily openly available under open licences. The conclusions recognise positive developments in terms of monitoring progress, for example in the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), and propose the inclusion of open science monitoring in the European Research Area monitoring mechanism. The Council conclusions also call on Member States to support the Open Research Europe pilot programme (to establish a comprehensive open access research publication service), the use of open source software and standards, to recognise and reward peer review activities in the evaluation of researchers, and to support the training of researchers in peer review and intellectual property rights.

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