Open Access Mandate from the European Commission – the Horizon 2020 Programme

Agro-Know is a company that captures, organizes and adds value to the rich information available in agricultural and biodiversity sciences, in order to make it universally accessible, useful and meaningful. It is an active contributor in European and international standardization initiatives in relation to the agricultural data representation and storage, with involvement in fora such as the Agricultural Information Management Standards (AIMS) of the Food and Agricultural Organization of United Nations (FAO) and the Coherence in Information for Agricultural Research for Development (CIARD). It is supporting the open data and models movement, participating and contributing in initiatives such as the Research Data Alliance and its dedicated Agricultural Data Interoperability Interest Group, the World Bank’s Global Food Safety Partnership where it co-chairs the Knowledge & Learning Systems Working Group and leads the Database Subgroup, as well as the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition initiative (GODAN).

Since 2008, AK has been directly involved in more than fifteen (15) EU-funded projects related to the management of agricultural information, in the context of which it has worked on solving data interoperability problems and developing data products, while the latest of them (such as agINFRA and VOA3R) propose solutions related to the Open Access issue in the filed of agricultural research. Such projects are funded under the ICT-PSP and FP7 programmes of the European Commission, while the Horizon 2020 programme is expected to fund the new generation of such projects.

The Horizon 2020 programme, which will fund a significant number of research projects, clearly defines the open access policy of the EC. In this direction, each beneficiary of the Horizon 2020 programme must ensure open access to all peer-reviewed scientific publications relating to its results. In the really useful EC document titled “Guidelines on Open Access to Scientific Publications and Research Data in Horizon 2020“, it is clearly stated that “the European Commission’s vision is that information already paid for by the public purse should not be paid for again each time it is accessed or used, and that it should benefit European companies and citizens to the full. This means making publicly-funded scientific information available online, at no extra cost, to European researchers, innovative industries and citizens, while ensuring long-term preservation“.

In this direction, the agINFRA FP7 project in collaboration and with the support of the Agricultural Information Management Standards of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nation (FAO AIMS) and the CIARD global initiative are creating a set of community standards in the form of recommendations for open data and data management in the H2020 projects and call for new projects in the field of agricultural and food sciences to adopt them. These recommendations will act as good practices, ensuring the reuse of existing standards and infrastructure and provide the necessary framework for related projects and initiatives that wish to implement an open access policy plan. These standards are currently under development and are expected to be published within the next weeks through the FAO AIMS portal.

You can read the full article at the Agro-Know blog.