The European Commission has launched a pilot project to provide open access to EU-funded research results after a 6-12 month embargo period. Further information about the pilot project will be available on 9/1/08 at the Open Access Pilot in FP7 page.
Here's an excerpt from the press release:
Fast and reliable access to research results, especially via the Internet, can drive innovation, advance scientific discovery and support the development of a strong knowledge-based economy. The European Commission wants to ensure that the results of the research it funds under the EU's 7th Research Framework Programme (FP7) with more than € 50 billion from 2007-2013 are disseminated as widely and effectively as possible to guarantee maximum exploitation and impact in the world of researchers and beyond. The Commission today launched a pilot project that will give unrestricted online access to EU-funded research results, primarily research articles published in peer reviewed journals, after an embargo period of between 6 and 12 months. The pilot will cover around 20% of the FP7 programme budget in areas such as health, energy, environment, social sciences and information and communication technologies. . . .
The Commission's open access pilot, to run until the end of FP7, aims to ensure that the results from EU-funded research are progressively made available to all. Grant recipients will be required to deposit peer reviewed research articles or final manuscripts resulting from their FP7 projects in an online repository. They will have to make their best effort to ensure open access to these articles within either six or twelve months after publication, depending on the research area. This embargo period will allow scientific publishers to get a return on their investment.
Open access to research articles, previously accessible through journal subscriptions, can help to increase the impact of the EU's € 50 billion investment in research and development and avoid wasting time and valuable resources on duplicative research. With access to a wider selection of literature, researchers can build upon this knowledge to further their own work. Small and medium sized businesses and entrepreneurs can also benefit from improved access to the latest research developments to speed up commercialisation and innovation.