The European Commission joined many other research funders in 2013 when it announced that one central requirement of future research grantees of Horizon 2020 would be that their research publications be made freely available to all. The Commission’s vision is open access for research outputs, as announced in its 2012 Communication. This states: “Information already paid for by the public purse should not be paid for again each time it is accessed or used, and […] should benefit European companies and citizens to the full.”
The Commission has no preferred model for how to achieve open access. It is searching for innovation wherever it may be found, from traditional commercial publishers, new organisations, distributed academic networks, and research libraries. The goal of achieving open access is a public one that sits above private interests. This sometimes means that businesses are obliged to evolve and adapt in light of the project to move towards open access.
The move to open access scholarly publishing has been accelerating for many years. It is driven by many factors, including: the emergence and expansion of the internet, which enables the fast and free dissemination of research outputs; the fact that many academic libraries are reporting the rising cost of subscription journals and the declining number of journals they can subscribe to; a moral case that publicly funded research should be freely available for all to see; and a case that more dissemination of knowledge will lead to more innovation and therefore economic growth.