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Manifesto launched for opening up EU Covid-19 research


Signatories pledge to make research results immediately and openly accessible

The European Commission has launched a manifesto for Covid-19 research, asking organisations and individuals—in particular beneficiaries of EU grants—to make their results accessible and usable.

Signatories pledge to make their results openly accessible immediately, following the principle that data should be findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable.

If possible, they should also grant time-limited, non-exclusive, royalty-free licences on intellectual property resulting from EU-funded research. This should be “in exchange for the licensees’ commitment to rapidly and broadly distribute the resulting products and services under fair and reasonable conditions to prevent, diagnose, treat and contain Covid-19”.

“The importance of cooperating closely across the EU and beyond, supporting open science and the principles of open access against coronavirus, has never been more evident,” R&D Commissioner Mariya Gabriel said on Twitter on 29 July, when the initiative was launched. “I encourage all EU beneficiaries to endorse this manifesto.”

Results could be posted to the Horizon Results Platform for sharing results of EU-funded research, or to other platforms for sharing intellectual property, the Commission suggests. Papers and data may be shared on preprint servers or public repositories, and especially through the European Covid-19 Data Platform, “with rights for others to build upon the publications and data, and with access to the tools needed for their validation”.

The manifesto has already garnered the formal support of several groups, including the Young European Research Universities Network, All European Academies and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory.

Endorsement does not “entail legal implications for signed grants”, the Commission said.