Ladies and Gentlemen, The best thing about the internet is that
it is open. In every field, it lets us share and innovate. As Digital Agenda Commissioner, my mantra
is to allow and promote that openness everywhere. Whether it’s to get the economic and democratic
boost of open public data. Or to unlock the cultural wonders of our museums
and archives on Europeana. Nowhere is this more appropriate than for
science, where openness is essential. That need to share is why scientists have
long sought out new tools to spread, examine, and compare knowledge.
Remember that the Web itself was invented by physicists at CERN – to share their results.
Now, ICT stands to make a huge change through Open Science. We are just beginning to learn
how huge. Look at data. Without doubt, science is in
the “big data” era, every year producing enough to fill 20 Libraries of Congress.
That big data needs big collaboration: so you can collect, combine and conclude from
different experiments, in different countries, in different disciplines.
That collaboration delivers more efficient, practical and important results than you can
get from separate, closed systems. We’ve seen that in countless fields. That’s why high-speed research networks like
our own GÉANT already connect millions of researchers, scholars, educators and students.
And I want to promote ever better, ever more open infrastructures for collaboration. Open science isn’t just about opening up data.
It’s also about sharing findings. Don’t forget that the number one research
funder in Europe is the taxpayer. Don’t they deserve the largest possible reward from their
investment? And shouldn’t scientists be able to learn
from each other, from others’ expertise and others’ results? Internet advances make such sharing economically
possible. And there’s increasing awareness of how much it could help science.
Already, the infrastructure to support open access is out there. The thousands of publications
in e-Infrastructures like OpenAIRE help researchers, funding bodies and citizens alike. Open access will be built into Horizon 2020,
our proposal for tomorrow’s EU research and innovation funding.
Horizon 2020 will invest in e-infrastructures for open access. It will look at how to incentivise
researchers to share. And it will require open access for EU-funded research.
All together, it will show the benefits of opening up, for a successful European Research
Area. Open Science doesn’t mean ignoring economic
reality. Of course we need business models to be sustainable. But that doesn’t mean we
have to carry on doing things the way they’ve always been done.
So, wherever you sit in the value chain, whether you’re a researcher or an investor or a policy
maker, my message is clear: let’s invest in the collaborative tools that let us progress.
Let’s tear down the walls that keep learning sealed off.
And let’s make science open.