IMMEDIATE OA IN EU BY 2020?
The means are still somewhat vague but the determination to reach the goal of having all scientific articles freely accessible (OA) immediately by 2020 is welcome. The goal is definitely reachable, and well worth reaching — in fact it’s long overdue.
It would be helpful, however, if the means of reaching the goal were made much more explicit, and with equal determination:
1. The EU can only ensure that its own scientific article output is OA by 2020. The EU cannot ensure that the scientific article output from the rest of the world (which is also the scientific article output to the EU) is OA by 2020 too. But if the EU adopts the right means for providing its own output, there is a good chance that it will be matched by the rest of the world too.
2. The right means for the EU to make all of its own scientific article output OA by 2020 is to require that it be deposited in the institutional repository of the author(s) of the article. This is called “Green OA.” The deposit should be made immediately upon acceptance for publication (because if the 2019 scientific article output is deposited in 2021, that is certainly not OA in 2020).
3. The deposit need not be the published version of the article; it need only be the final, peer-reviewed, accepted version.
4. The plan mentions Green OA, Gold OA (paying to publish in an OA journal) and hybrid combinations of the two. The EU is welcome to spend whatever funds it finds worthwhile to spend to pay for Gold OA, as long as immediate Green OA is required for all EU scientific article output. The rest of the world will match the EU’s provision of Green OA, but it is much less likely that the rest of the world will match the EU’s expenditure on Gold OA.