These days, the European Commission has just published the results of a consultation regarding accessibility and preservation of digital publications and research data in the European Union.
Commissioner Neelie Kroes, responsible for the digital agenda for Europe, has launched this consultation in July 2011 for seeking views on access to and preservation of digital scientific information – to be more precisely, the survey broached the issues of Open Access for scientific publications, accessibility of research data and digital long term preservation.
The purpose of the consultation was to gather information from as many sources as possible and receive important input for the future development of policy options in the area of scientific information in the digital age.
1.140 persons from 42 countries responded the online-survey. The biggest parts of the respondents were from Germany (422 answers), followed by people from France (129) and the UK (127). The majority of respondents were individual researchers (37.6 %). The remainder were citizens (27.5 %), university/ research institutes (8.4 %), libraries (7.3 %), publishers (6.4 %), international organisations (4.3 %), research funding organisations (1 %) and national, regional or local governments (0.8 %).
Regarding the most relevant field for us – access to research data – the report stated that
“…the vast majority of respondents (87 %) disagreed or disagreed strongly with the statement that there is no access problem for research data in Europe.”
The major barriers to access research data are:
- lack of funding to develop and maintain the necessary infrastructures (80 %),
- the insufficient credit given to researchers for making research data available (80 %),
- and insufficient national/regional strategies/policies (79 %).
Almost 90 % of responses had the opinion that research data that is publicly available and results from public funding have to be, as a matter of principle, available for reuse and free of charge on the Internet.
Already when starting the survey, Mrs. Kroes had a clear vision regarding accessibility and availability of publicly funded research:
“The results of publicly funded research should be circulated as widely as possible as a matter of principle. The broad dissemination of knowledge, within the European Research Area and beyond, is a key driver of progress in research and innovation, and thus for jobs and growth in Europe. Our vision is Open Access to scientific information so that all of us benefit as much as possible from investments in science. To accelerate scientific progress, but also for education, for innovation and for other creative re-use. For the same reason we must preserve scientific records for future generations”.
With this vision, Europe seems to be on a good way.
Many thanks to Heinz Pampel (blog post in German) for spreading the news!
Graphics: European Commission