The European Union (EU) is poised to make big changes in the field of scholarly publishing by supporting non-profit publishing models and promoting instant open access to publicly financed research publications. The final technical proposals will be offered to EU member state governments for consideration later this month. The transition is projected to have a significant influence on commercial scholarly publishing.
The EU’s position underlines that open access to publicly funded research papers should become the norm. While some publications have become freely available in the past, many have stayed behind paywalls until commercial publishers’ embargoes expired. The EU wants to minimize such delays and encourages scientists to prefer immediate open access. It also applauds member nations’ efforts to incorporate secondary publication rights into national legislation, allowing researchers to preserve copyright and swiftly deposit their articles in repositories.
The EU acknowledges the rising costs associated with the gold model of open-access publishing, which requires authors to pay high article-processing charges. These costs are seen as contributing to inequalities and reducing available research funding. The EU calls for transparent pricing in line with publication services and proposes that article-processing charges should not be paid by authors. Instead, the EU supports non-profit publishing models and encourages the development of not-for-profit models led by public research organizations.
Open Research Europe is one example of a non-profit publishing model, in which the EU pays a publisher a multi-year charge to publish articles by EU-funded researchers. The EU urges member states to convert this platform into a large-scale, collaborative, non-profit open-access academic publishing service. It also suggests that alternative subject-specific and national not-for-profit, open-access publishing platforms be supported.
Initial reactions to previous drafts of the positions have been positive, with organizations like the League of European Research Universities praising the EU’s efforts to advance open access. However, they also emphasize the need for further recognition and rewards for researchers who embrace open-access practices. Concerns have been raised about the challenges associated with Open Research Europe and the need for a more comprehensive, interconnected infrastructure for open access throughout Europe.
The adoption of these stances by the EU is an important step toward changing scholarly publication. The EU intends to make research more accessible and decrease knowledge barriers by prioritizing open access and supporting non-profit alternatives. The research community is eagerly awaiting the impact of these decisions on the future of scholarly publishing.