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EUA Research Policy Working Group focuses on open access to scientific publications

10 April 2014

At its meeting on 20 March 2014, the EUA Research Policy Working Group (RPWG) gave particular attention to the topic of open access to scientific publications.

The RPWG invited Professor Bernard Rentier – Rector, Université de Liège, Belgium – to share his views and experience. He highlighted the importance of “green” open access to scientific publications (a type of open access), and building strong institutional open access repositories and internal policies for researchers’ self-archiving of publications, as a response to the increasing costs of subscriptions to scientific publications and the need to respect the freedom for researchers to publish in journals of their choice.

The subsequent discussion, which also took account of Horizon 2020 developments, confirmed that key open access issues for universities included: business models/costs; requirement for self-archiving of research publications in institutional or shared repositories; peer-review and quality assessment; difficulties in assessing the progress of open access and its impact in the advancement of research. This policy work was then complemented by additional discussions with the national rectors’ conferences at meetings prior to last week’s EUA Annual Conference.

Meanwhile, the RPWG also talked about the proposed revision of the European Data Protection regulation and proposed points to build a position for EUA which was later discussed at EUA Council last week. RPWG also addressed the contribution of EUA to the follow-up European Research Area progress report that the European Commission plans to publish later this year. For the 2014 ERA progress report, RPWG had an initial discussion on how EUA could best highlight the comprehensive strengths of the European university system, and the obstacles faced, beyond the different national policies for research and innovation.

Another important topic for the RPWG was the planning of a high-level event on 20 June (in Brussels), involving universities and national and regional authorities, on “Mobilising Europe's Universities for Smart Specialisation”. This event is a follow-up to the collaboration between EUA and IPTS/JRC and aims at reinforcing the role of universities in defining and implementing Smart Specialisation Strategies. It will include addresses from high-level officials from the European Commission (DG Research & Innovation and DG Regio), case studies of good practice and a discussion on perspectives for the future.

More information about the event, which is expected to gather experts representing the EC, national and regional authorities, universities, and stakeholders from enterprise and the innovation community, will be published shortly through the EUA website/newsletter.

European University Association (EUA)

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