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Open access to encourage innovation

Sander Dekker, Dutch State Secretary of Education, Culture and Science: an ambitious goal

DUTVH GOVERNMENT/VALERIE KUYPERSSander Dekker, Dutch State Secretary of Education, Culture and Science: an ambitious goalDUTVH GOVERNMENT/VALERIE KUYPERS

The European Union has taken on an ambitious goal: by 2020, all scientific articles produced in its members states will be freely available under the system known as open access. The Competitiveness Council, the entity that consists of ministers of science, innovation, industry and commerce, made this decision at a meeting in Brussels. The goal is one of a series of recommendations, which also includes storing research data so that they can be reused freely as long as there are no legal or ethical restrictions. The decision involves more than just disseminating the results of publicly-funded research. For the European ministers, the free circulation of knowledge is part of a strategy to grow the economy and attract companies and technology startups. They also agreed to bolster legislation on innovation to improve the business environment. “Research and innovation provide solutions to future social and economic challenges,” says Sander Dekker, State Secretary of Education, Culture and Science of the Netherlands, the country that currently holds the presidency of the European Union. “Open access will ensure that society benefits from scientific discoveries as much as possible.” The council gave no details of how the transition will take place. The League of European Research Universities praised the decision, but cautioned that implementing it in just four years will not be easy.