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The FSFE files FOI request for Horizon 2020

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The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) files Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the European Commission (EC) Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, asking for information related to the use, development and release of software under Horizon 2020, the biggest EU research funding programme.

Software is a cardinal part of almost every research project in Horizon 2020 and most of it is acquired or developed with public or public-private funding. We are interested to figure out what percentage of the funding is spent on proprietary licences and what percentage of software developed within Horizon 2020 is released under Free Software licences. Our aim is to aggregate this data and draw conclusions about the situation of software in publicly funded research.

Taking into account the main points raised in our Position paper for the endorsement of Free Software and Open Standards in Horizon 2020 and all publicly-funded research and in accordance with the suggestions stated in it, the FSFE asks from the Commission the following questions:

  1. Do you monitor and/or collect data about the usage of IT and software in Horizon 2020 projects, and specifically if projects use or develop Free Software (also known as 'open source') ?

  2. How many projects, both in numbers and in percentage of the overall amount of research projects, are funded by Horizon 2020 to pay licence fees for software? What are the top most paid licence fees for software amongst Horizon2020 projects?

  3. How much money was spent by Horizon 2020 during its most recent "phase" on proprietary software licences? How much is this in comparison to the overall funds of Horizon 2020?

  4. How many projects in numbers and in percentage of the overall amount of research projects funded by Horizon2020 develop software on their own? What percentage of this software is kept proprietary and how much is published under a licence approved by Free Software Foundation/Open Source Initiative? Which are the most used Free Software/Open Source licences in this regard?

What to do while waiting for the EC to answer?

A few days ago, the FSFE published and submitted to the European Commission its Position paper for the endorsement of Free Software and Open Standards in Horizon 2020 and all publicly-funded research, as part of the public consultation on the midterm evaluation of Horizon 2020.

You can help us spread the word by reading and sharing our position paper or participating in the EC consultation on Horizon 2020. This way you make sure that your voice demanding Free Software and Open Standards in science is heard! You can take a look on how to do that at the relevant wiki page.

The consultation is open for everyone and runs until 15.01.2017.