The European Science Foundation's (ESF) membership organisation for all medical research councils in Europe, the European Medical Research Concils (EMRC) has today released an ESF-EMRC Science Policy Briefing (SPB) entitled 'Open Access in Biomedical Research' highlighting the need to accelerate the adoption of open access to research articles in the biomedical sciences across Europe.
Over the past few months, various reports and communications have been published on the topic of open
access. These include the Finch Group report on 18 June 2012, the Publishing and the Ecology of European Research (PEER) final report on 19 June 2012, the European Research Council (ERC) announcement of its new open access policy on 13 July 2012, and the European Commission's launch of a communication and recommendations to Member States 'Towards better access to scientific information' on 17 July 2012. On the same day, Science Europe reaffirmed its commitment to strengthening the European Research and recognised open access as a priority area in which a common policy and action plan will be developed and implemented.
"The Internet and the technological developments that have arisen from it in recent years have the potential to radically change science publishing and maximise the impact of research" said Professor Pär Omling, ESF President and Science Europe Vice-President. He continued: "We envisage a full open access future – one in which all published research generated by science researchers in the European Union is immediately available online and accessible by all."
The ESF-EMRC Science Policy Briefing entitled 'Open Access in Biomedical Research' was instigated to examine whether there are new opportunities for open access in biomedical research within Europe that will benefit European biomedical researchers and European society as a whole. The report provides three key recommendations for the adoption of open access policy:
1. There is a moral imperative for open access
Research papers should be made freely available to all to read, use and re-use, with appropriate acknowledgement, in order to maximise the value of biomedical research, build on the body of knowledge, accelerate the process of discovery and improve human health.
2. Individual agencies must work together to raise awareness of the moral imperative for open access
Agencies and organisations that fund and perform research, libraries, publishers and researchers must work collectively to raise awareness of the moral imperative for open access publishing. Enhanced efforts towards national, European and international partnerships are the basis for the successful achievement of open access to research outputs.
3. All research stakeholders should work together in order to support the extension of Europe PubMed Central into a Europe-wide PubMed Central
In order to facilitate discoveries and innovation in biomedical research, research stakeholders should collaborate to establish a Europe-wide repository in biomedicine as a partner site to the US equivalent PubMed Central. The recently rebranded Europe PubMed Central represents a valuable means to achieving this goal, provided that the diversity of European partner mandates and policies can be integrated.
Professor Josef Syka, Chair of the Science Policy Briefing and EMRC Core Group member, commented: "The turnover of information in biomedical sciences is very fast, so rapid delivery of information is needed at a fair price. Open access publishing has the potential to revolutionise the way in which biomedical scientists publish and access the latest results. The EMRC supports open access publishing as the ultimate goal to maximise the discoverability process, the access to and the re-use of biomedical research results in Europe."