Robert-Jan Smits to become special envoy open access of EU

News | de redactie
28 februari 2018 | On his last day as director-general of the DG Research & Innovation of the European Commission, Robert-Jan Smits has been appointed to a new task. Starting tomorrow he will be the special envoy for European open access. “Europe is no longer paying for research that is not published open access.”

“I want to act decidedly,” says Robert-Jan Smits to ScienceGuide about his new appointment. “Everyone agrees on this matter, all European minister have committed to open access last year in Amsterdam. Let’s make it happen.” Over the last years, especially during the Dutch presidency of the EU, Smits fought for the case of open access and open science. Now it is time to act.

“A lot of the talk about open access is just lip service”, Smits notes, and he wants to move past this. The last letter he will be sending in his role als director-general will contain an announcement for all project leaders in Horizon 2020 that 100% of all publications in this programme should be open access. “If not, we will impose fines.”

In his new role as special envoy, Smits wants to go back to the start of the discussion on open access. “I think we need to re-evaluate why we want open access in the first place.” Smits thinks publishers should not be the primary recipient of funding that is intended for research and innovation. In the quest for open access he is therefore willing to look at alternative ways of publication. “I am not sure about the most desirable form to organise this. This fall I will present a concrete plan of action.”

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