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By Anna-Laetitia Hikl


The various projects and the developments of the last few years have done a lot to enhance Austrian opinion on, and the standing of Open Access within research and academic communities. Of particular note is the first e-infrastructures Austria project[A1] , the Springer Compact Agreement, the “Recommendations for the Transition to Open Access in Austria”[A2]  and the Vienna Principles. A lot of events, network and working groups in the field of Open Access and Open Science have taken place over this period and, step by step, these ideas and associated principles have become more solidly adopted within the wider scientific community and their related structures, evidenced by the establishment of repositories or Open Access Offices at Austrian research institutions. The turn of the year saw some new projects coming online, these have since made moves forward towards open science.


Austrian Transition to Open Access - AT2OA

Promoted by the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy (BMWFW) "Austrian Transition to Open Access - AT2OA" is a new project involving 21 Austrian Universities under the lead of the University of Vienna. Its aim is to contribute to the transformation from Closed to Open Access of scholarly publications. The funding pool (Hochschulraumstrukturmittel HRSM[A3] ) of the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and the Economy is being used as seed funding for cooperation projects across Austrian Universities, the goal being to promote lasting positive[A4]  effects and importantly an increase of efficiency in the field of administration and innovation for teachers and students.

  Photo: © Universität Wien/ Barbara Mair

Supporting measures for the transition to Open Access include the redesigning of licence agreements with publishers, as well as, spurring researchers into publishing through Open Access agreements and encouraging new Open Access strategies for publications.

The following topics will be organised in sub-projects: (1) analysis of potential impacts of an Open Access transition, (2) funding of Open Access business models, (3) establishment of Open Access publication funds and (4) promotion of Open Access publications and alternative Open Access publication models.


e-Infrastructures Austria and its follow-up project e-Infrastructures Austria PLUS[A5] 

In November 2016, the last General Assembly of e-Infrastructures Austria took place at the University of Vienna. The importance of this project has been demonstrated in its results and the many initiatives which have subsequently arisen out of it.

Notably, a survey[A6]  on the handling of research data in Austria was conducted, directed at the scientific and artistic-scientific personnel of 20 public universities and three extramural research institutions in Austria. Consequently templates for data management plans and a Model Policy for Research Data Management (RDM) at Austrian Research Institutions[A7]  were prepared, as well as, publications e.g. guidelines, FAQ’s and other deliverables from cluster groups. In addition to this, the success of this project can be found in the implementation of repositories across Austrian research institutions and in the eminent follow-up project.

In January 2017 e-Infrastructures PLUS started as a project within 9 Universities, coordinated by the University of Innsbruck. Like the previous project it is funded by the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and the Economy (HRSM). The project’s main focus is on 1) analyzing reference projects, 2) implementing a road-map based approach on, for instance, research data management policies, standardized metadata, persistent identifiers, as well as, provisioning for uses within schooling while underpinning relevant support, and 3) building technical infrastructures.


AUSSDA – the Austrian Social Science Data Archive has a mission to become a leading supplier of social science data in Austria. As a certified repository, AUSSDA will systematically collect, document and disseminate digital quantitative data and will guarantee its long-term availability, along with any accompanying documentation, while adhering to international standards. Its main data so far consists of survey data from sociology and political sciences. By putting open access first, wherever possible, data usage can be extended beyond the Austrian and international scientific community.

AUSSDA is based at Vienna University Library and Archive Services with partners at the Universities in Linz and Graz. This new social science archive has received funding from the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy, ensuring the archive’s work until late 2019. After an evaluation period, the infrastructure will hopefully be integrated within the organizational and infrastructural settings of the universities, making it an integral part of the Austrian social science community. Being the official Service Provider for Austria, AUSSDA is integrated within the European ESFRI roadmap via its membership in the Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives (CESSDA).

Open Education Austria

Open Education Austria started as a new project to set up a national infrastructure for Open Educational Resources (OER). Services of e-learning centres, computer centres and libraries of the partnering universities will be linked together to support lecturers in creating these educational resources. In support of these aims, a consulting service for media didactics, infrastructure for video production, e-tutors, a clearing body for copyright issues and a portal to publish these educational resources (corresponding to the owner principle under a Creative Commons License) will be developed. The project is founded by Federal Ministry of Science, Research and the Economy (HRSM).