Gold and green given equal weight for Horizon 2020

Research funded through the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme from 2014 will have to be published through either the “gold” or “green” open-access routes, it has been confirmed.

July 17, 2012

In a communication published on 17 July, the European Commission launched its plans to promote open access as the norm for research funded by the EU.

All articles must either be published in pay-to-publish open-access journals (the gold model) or submitted to free-to-access repositories after publication (the green model).

Papers will have to be submitted no later than six months after publication or 12 months for articles in the social sciences and humanities.

The Commission will cover publication fees for gold open-access publishing, but only as part of the original grant, a spokesman for the digital agenda commissioner, Neelie Kroes, told Times Higher Education.

It will also work up a plan by the end of this year for how it will enforce the rules, he added.

“Taxpayers should not have to pay twice for scientific research and they need seamless access to raw data,” Ms Kroes said. “We want to bring dissemination and exploitation of scientific research results to the next level. Data [are] the new oil.”

The EU’s decision to give equal weight to gold and green models is in contrast to the UK’s approach.

Following the recommendations of the Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings, chaired by Dame Janet Finch, former vice-chancellor of Keele University, the government has endorsed gold.

However, the UK research councils have said that they will accept the green model alongside gold as part of their commitment to make all papers whose research they have even partly funded open access by 1 April 2013.

The Commission also plans to increase the availability of research data as well as papers.

Horizon 2020 will include a pilot framework for providing open access to data, taking into account concerns such as those relating to privacy or commercial interests.

The Commission also announced a range of measures to align research within the EU and make it easier for researchers to move about, creating the “European Research Area” (a single market for research) by 2014.

“We cannot continue with a situation where research funding is not always allocated competitively, where positions are not always filled on merit, where researchers can rarely take their grants or have access to research programmes across borders, and where large parts of Europe are not even in the game,” said Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, the research and innovation commissioner.

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