Recommendations for the Transition to Open Access in Austria

Gerda McNeill and Anna-Laetitia Hikl, National Open Access Desk Austria  

The Open Access Network Austria (OANA) has released 16 recommendations for the transition towards Open Access in Austria. In spring 2015 a working group of 14 Open Access experts, under the leadership of Peter Seitz (Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy), started to work on suggestions as to how Austrias entire publicly-funded scholarly publication output could be converted to open access by 2025. The aim was to create a clear vision and concrete recommendations for Austrian OA, with the decision taken to favour Gold Open Access. In addition to a broad consideration of the aims of open science, the group was particularly concerned with widening access to publications for SMEs in Austria, as well as for developing countries.The paper was published on 30th of November 2015.


The 16 recommendations are:

(1) Introduce Open Access policy
By 2017, all research and funding organisations financed by public sources should officially adopt and implement their own Open Access Policy and sign the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities. From 2020 onward, the Open Access Policy should be obligatory for all members of the institutions.

(2) Create cost transparency
From 2016 to 2018, research and funding organisations should provide a comprehensive and transparent overview of the costs of the current publication system. On this basis, a permanent group of experts should be established. One of their tasks will be to coordinate the research and funding organisations by monitoring the costs of publication.

(3) Reorganise publishing contracts
(a) From 2016 onward, licensing agreements with publishers should be concluded in a manner that the research publications of authors from Austria are automatically published Open Access; (b) all contracts from 2020 onward should include this clause; (c) contracts and prices should be made public; and (d) in their negotiations with publishers, the Austrian Academic Library Consortium (KEMÖ) should be supported by the executives of the research organisations.

(4) Introduce publication funds
By 2018, all research and funding organisations should establish transparent publication funds to cover author fees for Open Access.

(5) Reorganise publication venues
When scholarly publication venues are funded by public resources, the funding conditions should be such that the publication venues can be transformed to Open Access at the latest from 2020 onward.

(6) Merging the publication infrastructure
Until 2020, research policy-makers should provide financial incentives which, by pooling resources, will permit the establishment of inter-institutional publication structures for publishing high-quality international Open Access venues in Austria.

(7) Support international cooperation
From 2017 onward, all research and funding organisations in Austria should participate jointly in international initiatives that promote high-quality non-commercial publication models and infrastructures.

(8) Provide start-up capital
Public funds as start-up capital should be available to commercial providers who want to switch to Open Access or plan new start-ups. This step will enable some providers from Austria to establish themselves in the international marketplace.

(9) Registration of repositories
By 2018, all research organisations should have publicly accessible and internationally registered repositories.

(10) Support self-archiving
From 2016 onward, until complete conversion to Open Access publication (Gold Open Access), secondary publishing of quality-tested articles should be actively pursued (Green Open Access).

(11) Offer training programmes
From 2016 onward, all research organisations should prepare and provide training programmes for Open Access and Open Science.

(12) Acknowledging Open Access / Open Science
From 2018 onward, Open Access and Open Science activities should always be honoured in the curricula of scholars of all fields, and alternative evaluation systems should be taken into account.

(13) Expand the scope of the copyright reform of 2015
Austrian legislators should modify copyright law by 2018 so that, independent of the form and place of publication, authors of scholarly publications will have the right to place their publication in a repository and render the original version of their publication freely accessible after a maximum embargo period of 12 months. Furthermore, large bodies of data should be made available for scholarly purposes with no restrictions in terms of search, networking and further use (content mining).

(14) Opening the inventories
All publicly funded archives, museums, libraries and statistical offices should digitise their inventories by 2025, and their collaboration with research organisations should be supported. Previously digitised inventories should be made freely accessible to the public by 2020.

(15) Monitoring during implementation
A target of 80% (Green and Gold) Open Access of the total publication output in Austria should be achieved by 2020, with 100% Gold Open Access by 2025 for all academic publications in Austria. This should be monitored by the BMWFW (Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy).

(16) Set targets for Open Science
The recommendations presented here should be developed into a fullly-fledged Open Science strategy from 2017 onward. Its aim should be to provide resources to those persons who wish to integrate the instruments of Open Science into their work processes.

Fig. 1: Timeline of the Open Access Recommendations

Open Access Network Austria (OANA) was created in 2012 organized by the Universities Austria and FWF (Austrian Science Fund). 50 member organisations exchange knowledge and expertise and defined goals like the stimulation and coordination of Open Access activities of Austrian research and funding organisations and research policy organisations.


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Further links:   
Authors: McNeill Gerda <>;Hikl Anna-Laetitia <>
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