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IP/10/1644

Brussels, 2 December 2010

Research: OpenAIRE opens access to EU scientific results

EU researchers, businesses and citizens can have free and open access to EU-funded research papers thanks to OpenAIRE (Open Access Infrastructure for Research in Europe), which the European Commission launched today, at the University of Ghent in Belgium. OpenAIRE will provide a network of open repositories providing free online access to knowledge produced by scientists receiving grants from the Seventh Framework programme (FP7) and European Research Council (ERC), especially in the fields of health, energy, environment, parts of Information & Communication Technology and research infrastructures, social sciences, humanities and science in society. This is an important step towards full and open access to scientific papers that could, for example, allow patients with rare illnesses to have access to the latest medical research results, or provide scientists with real-time updates about developments in their field. Developing research infrastructures and e-Infrastructures, including those for scientific research results, with a view to boosting Europe's competitiveness, is a priority of both the Digital Agenda for Europe (see IP/10/581, MEMO/10/199 and MEMO/10/200) and of the Innovation Union initiative (see IP/10/1288 and MEMO/10/473).

Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission for the Digital Agenda said: "The launch of OpenAIRE marks a very concrete step towards sharing the results of EU funded research to our mutual benefit. Scientific information has the power to transform our lives for the better – it is too valuable to be locked away. In addition, every EU citizen has the right to access and benefit from knowledge produced using public funds."

Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, said: "Scientists need access to research results if they are to maximise the potential of further work in the same areas. Industry, not least SMEs, need to know where to find research results if they are to build on them to create jobs and improve the quality of life. OpenAIRE will be an important contribution to improving the circulation of scientific knowledge in Europe and thus to developing a true Innovation Union."

Some 2.5 million research articles are published in 25,000 peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings worldwide every year. Currently, just 15%-20% of these articles are available in Open Access repositories or Open Access journals. The rest are only accessible through pay per read schemes or by paying for a subscription to the publication. The EU-funded OpenAIRE infrastructure launched today at the University of Ghent in Belgium could eventually open up access to all scientific papers and data produced by researchers funded by the EU's Seventh Framework Programme for Research (FP7), including scientists receiving grants through the European Research Council (ERC), and beyond. Since FP7 started in 2007, some 10,000 projects have been funded.

Under the terms of their FP7 grants, researchers who receive EU funding in the fields of health, energy, environment, Information & Communication Technology, research infrastructures, social sciences, humanities and science in society should deposit the full text of their research publications in an open access repository, to be made permanently available worldwide. This is around 20% of all projects funded by FP7. Researchers in other fields could also opt to make their texts available in the open access repository.

The project could also lead to new ways of indexing, annotating, ordering and linking research results – and new methods to automate all this. This could trigger the development of new services on top of the information infrastructure which OpenAIRE provides. The project is running a helpdesk in 27 European countries, consisting of a network of experts and a portal of tools helping researchers to make their articles available online.

Background

OpenAIRE originates from a European Commission pilot initiative on open access, launched in August 2008. Projects funded under FP7 are requested to deposit peer-reviewed papers in online repositories and to provide open access within 6 or 12 months after publication depending on the thematic area.

It complements other EU-funded research infrastructures such as GÉANT (IP/10/1448), which provides European scientists with a high speed research network, and PRACE (IP/10/706) which develops supercomputing capacity for highly demanding applications. Results and reports of EU funded research can also be found on CORDIS, the Community Research and Development Information Service

More information about OpenAIRE can be found on http://www.openaire.eu/


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