Pointing the the importance of access to research results as a driver of the knowledge-based economy, the Commission announced that it would use the pilot to disseminate EU 7th Research Framework Programme (FP7) project results as widely as possible. FP7 will fund more than 50 billion euros over 2007-2013 and the pilot will include results from projects in health, environment, social sciences, energy and information and communication technologies. Other EU projects relevant to the initiative include OAPEN (Open Access Publishing in European Networks) and e-SciDR (e-science digital repositories).
The project is part of the response of EU research ministers to examine the application of open access in FP7, as described in the February 2007 Communication on "Scientific information in the digital age: access, dissemination and preservation". It is complemented by the eContentplus programme, announced in 2005, which is committed to providing multi-lingual access to content.
The project is to give access to the EU-funded research results by placing them online for unrestricted access after an initial period of 6-12 months, making such results progressively much more widely available. The embargo period of 6-12 months is described as a limited period during which time publishers can get a return on their investment - a kind of management of the commons in the traditional sense.
The EU Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potocnik (pictured at left), said "This open access pilot is an important step towards achieving the 'fifth freedom', the free movement of knowledge amongst Member States, researchers, industry and the public at large."