Researchers call on EU to ensure free circulation of scientific findings

by Aurelia Chaise

Researchers should have the right to share their research findings without embargoes or restrictions, according to a joint statement issued by the Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA), the European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers (Eurodoc) and the Young Academy of Europe (YAE).

Issued on February 17, the statement calls on the European Commission to propose legislation ensuring that researchers always retain the right to share their publicly funded, peer-reviewed research findings.

The researchers propose uniform legislation on a European level to harmonise and clarify rules by removing barriers which today prevent scientific knowledge from circulating freely.

According to YAE Vice-Chair Toma Susi, embargoes are an unjustified disservice to society, researchers and science itself. He said: “European governments and others who fund research are entitled to demand immediate open access to research supported by taxpayer money. Legislation like this would ensure that researchers do not end up as collateral damage or bargaining chips in this long-overdue transition.”

In addition to the many open access journals that exist, there are also numerous subscription-based journals that already today allow researchers to share their findings in open access repositories without embargoes or restrictions,” added MCAA Chair Matthew DiFranco. “We call upon the publishers that still force barriers on the flow of knowledge to modernise and accept the need for immediate access. While a European directive is important as it would solve this challenge for all researchers in Europe, ensuring that all publishers modernise their policies would solve this problem for all researchers globally.”

Eurodoc President Eva Hnátková stressed the importance of immediate access to the most up-to-date information. She said it is crucial to tackling urgent societal challenges. “A clear example of this is the laudable commitment by funders and publishers to ensure that all peer-reviewed research publications relevant to the coronavirus outbreak are made immediately open access to help save lives. But why should we stop there? Aren’t saving lives from other diseases also urgent and important? And isn’t this equally true for the climate crisis and for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals? There is no valid reason to lock away research outputs that are so vital to help us tackle all of these urgent and important challenges.”

The three organisations represent a broad spectrum of researchers. For instance, Eurodoc represents more than 100,000 doctoral candidates and postdoctoral researchers from 29 national associations across Europe. The YAE consists of 200+ outstanding and recognised researchers in Europe. MCAA counts more than 14,000 members who are current or previous beneficiaries of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions.

Read the joint statement here: and the board members will never ask you passwords or other sensitive data. Also you will never receive strange links from them. Please always check the email sender and be careful what URLS you visit.