New open access funding pilot for Austria

The Austrian Science Fund (FWF), the Austrian Academic Consortium (Kooperation E-Medien Österreich), the Austrian Central Library for Physics at the University of Vienna and IOP Publishing (IOP) have today announced a new pilot project that will provide advance funding for Austrian researchers to publish on a hybrid open access basis in IOP’s subscription journals and which will offset that funding against subscription and licence fees paid by the Austrian Academic Consortium for access to IOP’s journals.

The FWF will cover article publication charges for all authors (who meet the qualifying criteria specified by the Austrian Science Fund) when they choose to publish with IOP. The pilot project will run for three years starting at the beginning of 2014. It also encompasses a three-year agreement for access to IOP’s journals for participating members of the Austrian Academic Consortium. It brings two such funding agreements – for open access publication and for access to a portfolio of journals – together for the first time.

Falk Reckling, responsible for Scholarly Communication at FWF, says: “Open Access is the future of scholarly publishing. But models and experiments are needed to migrate the current subscription system into open access. Following the Open Access recommendations of Science Europe, the FWF is happy to present together with the Austrian Academic Consortium and IOP one of the first pilots that applies country-based reductions in journal subscriptions, in line with increases in author- or institution-pays contributions for Open Access.”

Kerstin Stieg, Coordinating Director of the Central Head Office of the Austrian Academic Consortium, says: “This pilot project is outstanding and exemplary in terms of bringing together subscription agreements and Open Access and enabling their costs to be managed at a national level. With both the FWF and IOP we have found competent, reliable and strong business partners in the implementation of this ground breaking pilot. We hope and trust that this agreement will lead the way to further projects in uniting subscription agreements and open access.”

Brigitte Kromp, Head of the Austrian Central Library for Physics at the University of Vienna, says: “As the University of Vienna is one of the key players in the open access movement in Austria we are very interested in developing sustainable open access models. We hope to get reliable figures for the calculation of open access fees, to manage costs nationally and find economically feasible future business models by this project. Knowing IOP for many years as a reliable partner, we considered the publisher to be best qualified for this experiment.”

Steven Hall, Managing Director of IOP Publishing, said: “We are very pleased to be working on this pilot project at a national level with our Austrian colleagues. We are aware of a growing demand from research funders and universities to look more closely at the relationship between open access publication charges and journal subscription and licence fees and believe that this initiative will provide all the partners with valuable data on how it might be made to work, at a global and local level. We hope that this will provide an incentive for more Austrian researchers to publish in our journals.”

Member institutions of the Austrian Academic Consortium are invited to join this agreement any time.