The argument that publicly-funded research should be made available to the public recently received a shot on the arm when the Competitiveness Council of the European Union reinforced its commitment to making all scientific articles and data openly accessible and reusable by 2020. As Creative Commons reports, the Council offered the following conclusions about the transition towards an open science system, stating that it:
- Acknowledges that open science has the potential to increase the quality, impact and benefits of science and to accelerate advancement of knowledge by making it more reliable, more efficient and accurate, better understandable by society and responsive to societal challenges, and has the potential to enable growth and innovation through reuse of scientific results by all stakeholders at all levels of society, and ultimately contribute to growth and competitiveness of Europe;
- Invites the Commission and the Member States to explore legal possibilities for measures in this respect and promote the use of licensing models, such as Creative Commons, for scientific publications and research data sets;
- Welcomes open access to scientific publications as the option by default for publishing the results of publicly funded research;
- Agrees to further promote the mainstreaming of open access to scientific publications by continuing to support a transition to immediate open access as the default by 2020;
- Encourages the Member States, the Commission and stakeholders to set optimal reuse of research data as the point of departure, whilst recognising the needs for different access regimes because of Intellectual Property Rights, personal data protection and confidentiality, security concerns, as well as global economic competitiveness and other legitimate interests.
In a recent interview with Shareable, Creative Commons CEO Ryan Merkley stressed that opening research leads to faster innovation and solutions to pressing issues around climate, public health and more.
“What if we were to say, ‘Let’s open cancer,’” he says. “What if we opened up all the research that relates to this work? Let’s shine a bright light on this disease that we’ve allowed to hide in the shadows and behind paywalls, and crush it with innovation. What would that look like?”
As the open movement continues to grow, with an increasing number of artists, scholars, researchers, scientists and ordinary citizens contributing to the commons, the Competitiveness Council of the European Union’s commitment to open data and articles marks a positive step toward a more open global culture.