A study funded by the European Commission has stated that open access is reaching a "tipping point" with around 50% of scientific papers published in 2011 now available for free. This is about twice the level estimated in previous studies, explained by a refined methodology and a wider definition of open access. The study also estimates that more than 40% of scientific peer reviewed articles published worldwide between 2004 and 2011 are now available online in open access form. The study looks at the EU and some neighbouring countries as well as Brazil, Canada, Japan and the USA.
The European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Ms. Maire Geoghegan-Quinn said
"these findings underline that open access is here to stay. Putting research results in the public sphere makes science better and strengthens our knowledge-based economy"
Therefore open access will be mandatory for all scientific publications produced with funding from Horizon 2020, the EU's Research and Innovation Funding Programme for 2014-2020. The Commission has also recommended that Member States take a similar approach to the Commission in their domestic programmes. This means that researchers must make their articles available through an open access repository no later than 6 months (12 months for Social Sciences and Humanities) after publication.
The study was undertaken by Science-Metrix, a research evaluation company who produced three reports looking at Open Access Availability, Open Access Policies and Open Access data. The links to these reports are provided below.
Access the Horizon 2020 website here