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Document 32012H0417

Access to and preservation of scientific information

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Access to and preservation of scientific information

Proposals to boost access to and the preservation of scientific information aim to give citizens faster and better access to the benefits of scientific discoveries.


Commission recommendation of 17 July 2012 on access to and preservation of scientific information (2012/417/EU)


In July 2012, the European Commission proposed ways for EU countries to improve access to scientific information produced in Europe. Broader and more rapid access to scientific papers and data will make it easier for researchers and businesses to build on the findings of publicly funded research. The idea here is that this will boost Europe’s innovation capacity and give citizens quicker access to the benefits of scientific discoveries.

Open access policies aim to provide readers with access to peer-reviewed scientific publications and research data free of charge as early as possible in the dissemination process and enable the use and reuse of scientific research results.

Open access to publications

The Commission recommends that EU Member States define clear policies to ensure the dissemination of and open access to scientific publications resulting from publicly funded research.

Aims of these policies include:

  • open access to publications resulting from publicly funded research as soon as possible, preferably immediately and in any case no later than 6 months after the date of publication (and 12 months for social sciences and humanities);
  • licensing systems that contribute to open access to scientific publications resulting from publicly funded research;
  • an academic career system that supports and rewards researchers who participate in a culture of sharing the results of their research;
  • more transparency, in particular by informing the public about agreements between public institutions or groups of public institutions and publishers for the supply of scientific information;
  • small and medium-sized enterprises and unaffiliated researchers having the widest and cheapest possible access to scientific publications of the results of research that receives public funding.

Preservation and reuse of scientific information

The Commission also has a range of proposals relating to the preservation and reuse of scientific information. These include ensuring the long-term preservation of research results, ensuring that an effective system of deposit for electronic scientific information is in place and preserving the hardware and software needed to read the information in future or by migrating the information to new software and hardware environments on a regular basis.


The Commission has also come up with a set of recommendations for the further development of e-infrastructures to facilitate the flow of scientific information. One of these is to support the development and training of new cohorts of data-intensive computational science experts, including data specialists, technicians and data managers.

The Commission also suggests that EU Member States appoint a national point of reference to:

  • coordinate the measures in this recommendation;
  • act as an interlocutor with the Commission on questions relating to access to and preservation of scientific information;
  • report on the follow-up to this recommendation.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Commission Recommendation 2012/417/EU



OJ L 194 of 21.7.2012


Commission staff working document: Executive summary of impact assessment accompanying the document Recommendation on access to and preservation of scientific information. (SWD(2012) 221 final of 17.7.2012)

Commission staff working document: Impact assessment accompanying the document Commission recommendation on access to and preservation of scientific information in the digital age. (SWD(2012) 222 of 17.7.2012)

Last updated: 17.03.2014