NEWSROOM » STM comments on the report on “access and re-use of scientific publications and data” 

STM comments on the report on “access and re-use of scientific publications and data” 

Brussels, Belgium – The International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers (STM) acknowledges the recent release of the report, “Improving access to and reuse of R&I results”, authorized by the European Commission. While STM fully agrees with the intent of the PPMi-led effort, the trade organisation has multiple concerns with the final report and its characterization of access and re-use in Europe, as well as with the preparation phase and process. Contrary to the documented assertions, data show that funded Open Access to the Version of Record has been growing at a sustained pace and authors increasingly choose Gold OA when funding is in place.  

“STM firmly stands for advancing open and trusted research, where researchers and the rest of society can rely on information that is credible, accessible, linked and searchable in perpetuity,” said STM CEO, Caroline Sutton. “It is part of our mission to strive for improved access to, and re-use of R&I results, publications, and data for scientific purposes.”

“However, we believe there are better approaches to achieve these goals than those outlined in the report.”

Considering that the Commission intends to use it to guide and inform priority action 2 of the European Research Area Policy Agenda—“Propose an EU copyright and data legislative and regulatory framework fit for research”—STM urges the Commission to undertake additional consultations and engagement. 

While STM appreciates the efforts of the consortium responsible for the study to gather feedback from various stakeholders, including STM, and acknowledges the minor adjustments made to the preliminary findings, the organisation remains concerned about several aspects of the study itself:

  • The survey underpinning the report’s findings, intended to identify potential barriers to access and reuse of scientific publications, was flawed. It gathered feedback from stakeholders through leading and biased questions focused on a few pre-selected measures rather than offering a broad array of questions or open-ended responses, suggesting a pre-determined agenda.

  • Considering the complexity and gravity of the issue, the timeframe allotted to conduct the study was far too brief and possibly compromised the quality and number of meaningful engagements. Publishing houses were never directly heard by the consortium, despite having been led to believe they would be.

Before considering any new measures, STM recommends a thorough analysis of the impact of the recently adopted digital and data legislation, which was only recently implemented by EU Member States. STM is prepared to assist the EU Commission and EU Member States in successfully implementing this existing legislation so that the current framework can reach its full potential. 

STM is committed to constructive engagement and is open to collaborating with stakeholders and policy-makers on policies that genuinely support the advancement of trusted research. It is essential that any examination of the industry is conducted fairly and considers all options, and STM recommends further consultation and engagement. 

STM will provide more detailed comments about the report following a more thorough analysis. 



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