A public consultation on access to, and preservation of, digital scientific information has been launched by the European Commission. European researchers, engineers and entrepreneurs must have easy and fast access to scientific information, to compete on an equal footing with their counterparts across the world. Modern digital infrastructures can play a key role in facilitating access. However, a number of challenges remain, such as high and rising subscription prices to scientific publications, an ever-growing volume of scientific data, and the need to select, curate and preserve research outputs. Open access, defined as free access to scholarly content over the Internet, can help address this. Scientists, research funding organisations, universities, and other interested parties are invited to send their contributions on how to improve access to scientific information. The consultation will run until 9 September 2011.