A recent report in Science Business provided insights from Robert-Jan Smits, former Director General for Research and Innovation at the European Commission, on the plan to make publicly funded research in Europe freely available to readers by 2020.
Smits highlighted that 15 years ago 15% of scholarly publishing in the EU was open access and today the figure stands at 20%. Both are a long way from the target of all new reports of research supported by public funding being freely available within the next two years. However, Smits is collaborating on ‘Plan S’, which will aid advancement towards open access with the help of science funders. The plan is due to be publicly released once finalised and will rely on grant recipients only being able to publish their research in open access journals.
Smits suggested that the plan requires overcoming an “enormous amount of vested interests”, as the current paid subscription model sees subscription-based profit models for publishers and university libraries receiving large sums of money to pay for subscriptions. However, Smits asserts that “it’s not that difficult to flip the system”.