This week was a revolutionary week in the sciences – not because we discovered a new fundamental particle or had a new breakthrough in quantum computing – but because some of the most prominent world leaders announced an initiative which asserts that European scientific papers should be made freely available to all by 2020.
This would legally only impact research supported by public and public-private funds, which are a vast portion of the papers produced annually; however, the goal is to make all science freely available.
Ultimately, the commitment rests on three main tenets: “Sharing knowledge freely”, “open access”, and “reusing research data”.
And it would totally transform the (long questioned) paid-for subscription model that is used by many scientific journals. It would also undermine the common practice of releasing reports under embargo (a method that allows scientific journals to favour certain science communicators and members of the media to the great detriment of others). Source: Europe announces that all scientific papers should be free by 2020