Consulting

Subsidised Research to be Freely Accessible


By 2016, 60 percent of the published research results in the European Union are to be freely accessible insofar as the research was subsidised by public funds. EU Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes had this to say on 17 July 2012: "Taxpayers should not have to pay for research results more than once, and they must be able to access the original data easily. We want to reach the next level in the dissemination and use of research results. Data are the new crude oil."

This approach is intended to make scientific articles accessible to researchers as well as companies quickly with no restrictions. Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, EU Commissioner for Research and Innovation, not only expects free access to research results to facilitate new scientific breakthroughs but also believes it will make Europe more competitive. In concrete terms, the initiative is being implemented with the "Horizon 2020" programme. Scientific research subsidised under the programme, which runs until 2020, has to be freely accessible starting in 2014.

The European Research Area (ERA) as the scientific counterpart to the EU domestic market is to be realised in parallel by 2014. Among other things, the EU Commission proposes to create an open European job market for research as the key focal point in addition to measures that will increase the efficiency of national research systems. In its statement, the EU Commission says that 80 percent of research representatives indicated they consider their international mobility to be impaired by a lack of openness and transparency in hiring procedures.

Geoghegan-Quinn noted the following: "We cannot carry on as we have in the past, because research subsidies are not consistently awarded in competition, positions are not always filled based on performance, researchers can only rarely transfer their scholarships to other countries, they have very little access to foreign research programmes and large areas of Europe remain entirely excluded. No matter what company you talk you, you will always hear that the quality of the research base is a crucial factor when making investment decisions. Neglecting their own knowledge base is something no member state and no region can afford under today's general economic conditions.

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