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EU Commissioner Kroes wants the internet to play a key role in easing access to research materials (Photo: EU)

The European Commission, in a move to boost innovation in Europe, is pushing to make scientific information more easily available to everyone.

The governing body of the 27-nation European Union will make open access to scientific publications a general principle of its research and innovation funding programs for the coming years. That means EU funded research articles will have to be made accessible online no later than six months after publication. EU subsidies for publication are available.

"Taxpayers should not have to pay twice for scientific research and they need seamless access to raw data," said Neelie Kroes, commissioner for the EU's digital agenda. "We want to bring dissemination and exploitation of scientific research results to the next level."

The Commission wants 60 pc of all European publicly funded research articles to be available under open online access by 2016. Currently, only 25 pc of researchers share their data openly, according to an EU study.

Kroes said easier and faster access to research results will boost innovation and help entrepreneurs who have limited access to expensive research journals.

"This package is big news for any start-up or small company that can’t afford scientific journals," Kroes said.

The EU official said the internet is key in its plans for broader access to research and she noted that the Commission is working to put in place a Europe-wide very high-speed network between all universities and research institutes.

"Open access to data needs infrastructures to host and serve the data ”“ and it needs infrastructures to connect to and transport the data," said Kroes. "We already are busy building and extending both."