European Commission Report Says Open Access At 'Tipping Point'
from the idea-whose-time-has-come dept
Techdirt has been reporting for some time on the growing number of moves towards making academic work freely available to the public — for example this recent major boost from the University of California. But what about the bigger picture? How is open access doing overall? The European Commission has just published a new report trying to answer those questions, which offers an extremely upbeat assessment:
The global shift towards making research findings available free of charge for readers — so-called ‘open access’ — was confirmed today in a study funded by the European Commission. This new research suggests that open access is reaching the tipping point, with around 50% of scientific papers published in 2011 now available for free. This is about twice the level estimated in previous studies, explained by a refined methodology and a wider definition of open access. The study also estimates that more than 40% of scientific peer reviewed articles published worldwide between 2004 and 2011 are now available online in open access form. The study looks at the EU and some neighbouring countries, as well as Brazil, Canada, Japan and United States of America.
Despite that good news, there’s no room for complacency. As we’ve noted before, publishers reluctant to come to terms with open access have started pushing back in various ways. But as the EU report indicates, they are clearly on the wrong side of history now.