Carlos Moedas, EU Research Commissioner, claimed this week that the public should have open access to government funded research. He stresses that science journal publishing companies should reshape their business models to fit an open access system.
Moedas said: “There is a revolution happening in the way science works. Every part of the scientific method is nowadays becoming an open, collaborative and participative process. Can publishers afford to stay out of that trend? I believe that much effort is needed by the main publishers to adjust their business models to the realities of the 21st century.”
In this spirit three of the largest universities of Sweden, Uppsala University, Lund University and Gothenburg University today are announcing their new joint pilot-project “Kriterium” that is aiming to give open-access to scientifically work and also review the quality of the research.
However, while the EU Commission thinks digital and asks for modern business models for digital publishing of research and science. Their own solutions for digital publishing are trapped in the 20th Century with its differentiated VAT-policy for the book market. You can also question how democratic a value added tax on freedom of expression really is? Is it not a governmental fee on a fundamental human right? Is it not time for the EU Commission to launch a VAT-policy that is adapted to the 21st Century?
The pioneer of the digital bookstore-business Amazon opened on Tuesday this week their first physical bookstore with 5-6000 titles on the shelves. This is one important event in a general development that the book market is now integrating, where content is the engine, the customer choose the format. Now would be a good time for the EU Commission to leave the 20th Century behind and launch a policy that is adapted to the 21st Century book market.