October 24, 2023

Small Steps on the Path to Open Access Transformation at the University of Klagenfurt

A single Open Access point of contact for all researchers from all departments – Open Access publishing at the University of Klagenfurt is to become easier, less bureaucratic and more popular.

The University of Klagenfurt funds Open Access on several levels, both centralised and decentralised, at the department level. Existing OA funding, which applies to both journal articles and book publications, is now to be completely centralised through the OA Publication Fund and awarded according to quality criteria that are consistent with Plan S.

Plan S is an international strategy to promote open access and was adopted in 2018 by 22 national and international research funders, including the Austrian FWF, as well as the European Commission and the European Research Council. Part of Plan S is the goal of withdrawing from commercial, so-called transformative agreements, since Open Access has so far led to a lucrative business model for large publishers, but not to free access to publicly funded research and its results, since authors have until now been obliged to cede their copyrights to the publishers. The aim is to counteract this problem with the Rights Retention Strategy, and authors are to retain the rights to their publications in the future.

For the time being, however, in addition to the redesign of the Open Access Publication Fund, the University of Klagenfurt will continue to offer its researchers the opportunity to publish in renowned journals within the framework of the Austria-wide, transformative Open Access publishing agreements. Furthermore, Klagenfurt University Library operates a publication repository called netlibrary, where all university members can publish their publications or qualification theses in Gold or Green Open Access.

On a structural level, the University of Klagenfurt is involved in the national project Austrian Transition to Open Access Two (AT2OA2). Specifically with regard to the possibilities, also discussed at the international level, of introducing the most comprehensive OA cost monitoring possible, this project, with the cooperation of the University, has recently published two recommendations on Zenodo for dealing with OA publication costs at the level of Austrian research performing organisations (RPOs): Empfehlung zur Erhebung, Analyse und Steuerung von Open-Access-Publikationskosten an österreichischen Universitäten und Forschungseinrichtungen (December 2022) and Empfehlung für die Erfassung von Publikationskosten in Statistiken (September 2023). These recommendations serve OA transformation insofar as they call for transparent cost monitoring to strategically guide future OA funding decisions toward Plan S implementation.

National research funding by the FWF also plays a central role in this respect, especially since the FWF in Austria is withdrawing from all transformative OA publishing agreements at the end of this year. This leads to greater pressure at the respective RPOs to actually implement Gold Open Access and the Plan S Rights Retention Strategy. It remains to be seen, however, to what extent the trend towards Diamond Open Access will become sustainable and structurally established. In any case, the University of Klagenfurt is already supporting small initiatives such as the Diamond Open Access Consortium KOALA.


Photocredit: © Daniel Waschnig

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