A new report based on a Horizon 2020 monitoring exercise, featuring contributions from UNU-MERIT’s Ad Notten, confirms the continued progress of EU Open Science.
With a steady increase over the years and an average success rate of 83% open access to scientific publications, the European Commission is at the forefront of research and innovation funders, concluded the consortium formed by the analysis company PPMI (Lithuania), research and innovation centre Athena (Greece) and Maastricht University (the Netherlands).
The Commission sought advice on a process and reliable metrics through which to monitor all aspects of the open access requirements in Horizon 2020, and inform how to best do it for Horizon Europe – which has a more stringent and comprehensive set of rights and obligations for Open Science.
The key findings of the study indicate that the early European Commission’s leadership in the Open Science policy has paid off. The Excellent Science pillar in Horizon 2020 has led the success story, with an open access rate of 86%. Of the leaders within this pillar are the European Research Council (ERC) and the Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) programme, with open access rates of over 88%.
Researcher Ad Notten said: “UNU-MERIT has been a proponent of Open Access publishing for more than 15 years, leading several large OA-focused studies, including one on Creative Commons and another funded by the Wikimedia foundation. The reasoning behind this policy is that UNU-MERIT believes that research results paid for through public funding should likewise be freely accessible to the general public and (re-)usable for the wider scientific community.
“This includes not just publications but also research data, with the latter being a point of attention in the study at hand. Together with Maastricht University, UNU-MERIT aims to broaden the uptake of Open Access and FAIR principles within its scientific community and its broader network to support the basic academic integrity principle of ‘verifiability’ through high quality, replicable, research and data.”
Other interesting facts:
- In terms of article processing charges (APCs), the study estimated the average cost in Horizon 2020 of publishing an open access article to be around EUR 2,200. APCs for articles published in ‘hybrid’ journals (a cost that will no longer be eligible under Horizon Europe), have a higher average cost of EUR 2,600.
- Compliance in terms of depositing open access publications in a repository (even when publishing open access through a journal) is relatively high (81.9%), indicating that the current policy of depositing is well understood and implemented by researchers.
- Regarding licences, 49% of Horizon 2020 publications were published using Creative Commons (CC) licences, which permit reuse (with various levels of restrictions) while 33% use publisher-specific licences that place restrictions on text and data mining (TDM).
- Institutional repositories have responded in a satisfactory manner to the challenge of providing FAIR access to their publications, amending internal processes and metadata to incorporate necessary changes: 95% of deposited publications include in their metadata some type of persistent identifier (PID).
- Datasets in repositories present a low compliance level as only approximately 39% of Horizon 2020 deposited datasets are findable, (i.e., the metadata includes a PID and URL to the data file), and only around 32% of deposited datasets are accessible (i.e., the data file can be fetched using a URL link in the metadata). Horizon Europe will hopefully allow to achieve better results.
- The study also identified gaps in the existing Horizon 2020 open access monitoring data, which pose further difficulties in assessing compliance. Self-reporting by beneficiaries also highlighted a number of issues.
Together with the study, the Commission made the whole dataset that underlies the publication open access on Data Europa EU, as well as making, a database description and the data management plan (DMP) available for anyone to use and re-use.
See the full report below or download it here.
The opinions expressed here are the authors’ own; they do not necessarily reflect the views of UNU.
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