Co-Action Publishing in Brussels

Co-Action Publishing participated in the recent conference Scientific Publishing in the European Research Area – Access, Dissemination and Preservation in the Digital Age. More than 500 delegates, representing all stakeholder groups, responded to the invitation from the European Commission to join discussions on scientific publishing and digital preservation in the European Research Area. Over two days, the delegates, including 24 from the Nordic countries, debated the challenges facing the European information space with respect to new publishing paradigms and to digital preservation for future generations.  

The European Commission is a major funding body for scientific research in Europe investing approximately €50 billion through its 7th framework. In her speech, Viviane Reding, Commissioner for Information Society and Media, concluded that Europe needs “rapid and widespread accessibility of scientific information while maintaining the highest quality”.

Given that the participants of the conference represented “big” publishers, small national and Open Access presses, research libraries, and EU policy makers, the debate was as polarized as it has been for some time now. However, a few common themes did emerge, notably that one publishing solution and/or business model does not fit all journals, publishing houses or societies; that funding agencies need to ensure that they make funds available for publication fees if they require open access as a fulfilment of their funding requirements; that future EU policies do not squeeze out small and middle-size publishers; and that the whole question of national journals – in the vernacular - is not forgotten.

In her speech, Viviane Reding concluded that she now wants “to move forward and try to get to workable solutions”. The goal of the Commission is to “combine rapid and wide dissemination of validated results with fair remuneration for those who make the investments to make the system work.” Or as Commissioner Janez Potocnik concluded in his opening address: “Change is inevitable – we have no choice there. But the way we adapt to this change does involve choice. Now is the time to act and I hope we can do it in an inclusive way”.

We will follow developments closely.