Abstract - Péteris Zilgalvis
Pēteris ZilgalvisEuropean Commission
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Given the importance of research in science and engineering for innovation, addressing the challenges brought by the digital age and the advent of the internet has a direct impact on the competitiveness of the European Union. The European Commission, mainly the Directorate-General for Research (DG RTD) and the Directorate-General for Information Society and the Media (DG INFSO), holds the ambition of bringing the European research to the forefront of international developments in the field of open access to scientific results. This is even more pertinent for research that benefits from Community funds. However, such overall ambition cannot be attained without an agreement on how best to achieve it, and without the commitment and active support of Member States and all stakeholders. This is of critical importance if we are to exploit the potential of new technologies and services to the full. The European Commission has recognised the growing strategic relevance of scientific digital repositories and DG INFSO has been funding various ambitious projects. DG RTD has supported projects and promoted initiatives on the topic of access to scientific information and launched an Open Access pilot in 2008 that covers approximately 20% of the Community budget for research that is known as the Seventh Framework Programme. We need to continue to work together at refining our understanding of the nature and implications of all these changes in the research community. This is why we welcome studies and reports that measure the impact of open access models and policies and particularly their economic impact. We have to increase our efforts in building common, significantly enhanced access to European research output. There are gaps and sometimes barriers in access which need further investigations. Priorities must be identified in seeking to fill those gaps and bring unnecessary barriers down. The dynamics of improving access to research papers is here. The European Research Area should be the home of a scientific information scheme that is sustainable, efficient and effective in meeting the needs and aspirations of the European research community and world-wide.