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Open science is the unhindered dissemination of research publications and data. It uses modern means of digital publications to grant open access to scientific publications and - as far as possible - research data. A more concrete and clear definition of open science along with its goals can be found in the Budapest Open Access Initiative (14/02/2002): By "open access" to this literature, we mean its free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited.

Open Science is an international movement, primarily carried by different initiatives of research organisations and universities, with the common conviction that science and scientific results are common goods. This movement has been defined in 2016 as "a new horizontal approach to access to scientific work and objectives, and to sharing of scientific results, as well as a new way of DOING science, by opening up its processes, codes and methods." (for more information see DIST-CNRS, White Book, Open Science in a Digital Republic)

In 2016, after an unprecedented national consultation, the 'loi pour une République numérique' (legal framework for a digital republic) has consolidated some of these initiatives and has given a framework for developing open access in France. This law favours open access to scientific articles and results and realises many recommendations of the European Union. Concretely, it carries two important principles: firstly, the right of the authors (if their research is financed to 50% or more by public funding) to publish their work in open access, independent of what is stipulated by any contract they might have signed with an editor; secondly, the obligation to make their research data openly accessible. However, researchers may accept that editors impose an 'embargo' period before doing so, which is maximally 6 months for the disciplines of STM and 12 months for SHS. For further information, see: article L.533-4 of the code de la recherche.

"Open the science" is the credo of the national plan for open science, presented in the summer of 2018 by the French government. "France is committed to making scientific research results open to all – researchers, companies, citizens." For further information see https://www.ouvrirlascience.fr/national-plan-for-open-science-4th-july-2018/.

This plan is overseen by the Comité pour la science ouverte ("CoSO"), which is composed of members of the main public organisations of research in France (council of the Presidents of the universities, CNRS, ANR, etc.). The mission of the CoSO consists in handling all concrete challenges involved in carrying out the national plan, notably the organisation and coordination of various initiatives as well as the spread of information: how to publish scientific work, the impact on the evaluation of the researchers, how to make research data openly available (and keep them accessible), etc. For further information see the CoSO website.