Today I read a Science article entitled “In dramatic statement, European leaders call for ‘immediate’ open access to all scientific papers by 2020“. I would say that it is the beginning of a dream come true for those of us who have lobbied for free and open access to Science for many years. The locking up of publicly funded science output in commercial journals, hidden from the citizens who paid for it and from parts of the world who cannot afford to pay for it has to be one of the biggest scams in human history. I recently wanted to read one of my own papers, and was asked to pay $50 for the privilege. This is perhaps the beginning of the end for the artificial creation of scarcity, the locking of the common heritage of humanity behind paywalls to maintain out-dated business models of scientific publishing. We are perhaps maturing as a species, as befits a species named ‘sapiens’.
I always knew the Dutch were leaders in this kind if thinking, and having the Dutch presidency is probably one of many factors that have come together to create this maturity in thinking about science.