Open4DE Spotlight on Austria: How European and National Levels Interact

Authors: Malte Dreyer, Martina Benz and Maike Neufend

Open Access is developing in an area of tension between institutional and funder policies, the economics of publishing and last but not least the communication practices of research disciplines. In a comparison across European countries, very dynamic and diverse approaches and developments can be observed. Furthermore, this international and comparative perspective helps us to assess the state of open access and open science in Germany. In this series of Open4DE project blog posts, we will summarize what we have learned in our in-depth conversations with experts on developing and implementing nationwide Open Access strategies.

From Open Access to Open Science: a European trend

Following the adoption of Open Access policies by numerous European countries in recent years, the trend is now towards the design of Open Science policies. Finland has already announced that it will publish an Open Science strategy in the near future, and France has already done so. Austria also attracted attention earlier this year, publishing a guiding paper that provides a roadmap for the implementation of Open Science in the coming years. Reason enough for us to take a closer look at how this paper came about and what the general state of Openness is in our neighboring country.

Our interview partner

We met Dr. Stefan Hanslik for a conversation about Open Science policy making in Austria. Stefan Hanslik is an expert on Open Access and Open Science at the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF) and acts as delegate in various scientific committees at European level. As Head of Unit for Technical Sciences, he is involved in the topics of data and research infrastructures. In addition, Stefan Hanslik has been active in the EOSC process since 2018: through this involvement he also came in touch with European initiatives on Open Science.

The European framework

The history of the development of Open Science and Open Access in Austria clearly demonstrates the importance of the European framework in which national research and publication infrastructures are situated. An example of this is the EOSC process, which initially started in Austria in 2016, among others in an informal group of representatives of universities and ministries. This group, the so-called EOSC-Café, that focused on coordination, information, reflection and consultation on European processes, allowed to find a common understanding of Open Science. The discussion of EOSC also led to the question of whether a national Open Science strategy was necessary and what it might look like. The Open Science topic finally received additional support during the Austrian EU Council Presidency in the second half of 2018, Stefan Hanslik informs us. „With the emerging discussions at EU level and the call for all member state countries to take Open Science-related measures, there was a willingness in Austria to become active. After all, no one wanted to risk infringement proceedings.” Finally, the commitment to the European Research Area was included in the principles of the current government, „a backbone for our Open Science activities, that was important tailwind.“ European measures have often a strong inward effect, one can sum up.

National factors

In addition to the activities of the EU, numerous national initiatives were also important for the development of Open Science in Austria: „The initiative originally came from institutions that had already called for more Open Science and Open Access activities in 2015 and 2016,“ Stefan Hanslik reveals. The Open Access Network Austria (OANA), consisting of representatives of Austrian universities, had already made a clear recommendation that Austria needed an Open Sccience strategy. In addition, in the process of European harmonisation in digitalisation, the Information Sharing Law was passed at government level. This initiative brought together several stakeholders, including the Wissenschaftsfond FWF. So why not continue working together right away? At this favorable moment, it seemed clear to all parties involved, that an initiative had to be taken in the field of Open Science. As is often the case, a policy process was also promoted by the favor of the hour.

Relevance of informal structures

The example of Austria illustrates very well what has already been made clear in the other contributions to this series: Policy processes are rarely driven by a single factor, but often by several stimuli. These can have a delayed effect and sometimes even partially contradict each other. The example of Austria shows that informal associations can play a key role in policy processes. For example, it was the EOSC Café, which was initially conceived as an informal grouping for the exchange of information on open science topics, in which ideas for the Austrian Open Access Policy were formulated. „Austria is not large and the university landscape is quite manageable“ states Stefan Hanslik. At the operational level, a particular challenge was to build consensus among the relevant ministries, the  Federal Ministry for Education, Research and Science (BMBWF), the Federal Ministry for Digitalisation and Economic Location (Bundesministerium für Digitalisierung und Wirtschaftsstandort BMDW, until 2020) and the Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technogy (BMK).

In this process, the EOSC Café, this informal group, attained the status of a very important working tool. Because there, we were able to elaborate ideas, involve all the important players little by little and prepare the adoption of the policy. That would have been very difficult without this group and would have taken much more time.

The launch of the EOSC in Vienna in 2018 marked a turning point for this group and finally led to its institutionalisation. Today there are more working tools than the EOSC Café: An EOSC wiki and a productive EOSC Support Office Austria as well as Open Science Austria. In the meantime, EOSC Café Austria invites guests, including from the European Commission or other European countries and sees itself as an open forum. „The EOSC Café has established itself and is used again and again to deal with questions around Open Science. It is an Austrian melting pot of Open Science-affine people and very dynamic as a group,“ Stefan Hanslik tells us.

As before, this group is open: anyone involved in Open Science can participate. Amongst others, the TU Vienna, the University of Vienna, the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, the Natural History Museum Vienna and other institutions are involved.

The Austrian Strategy: Designable Framework, Supporting Measures

It was also with the help of this group, the EOSC-Café, that the Austrian Open Science Policy was initially created. This Policy serves as a framework helping individual institutions to develop their own strategies.  „The policy may therefore seem a bit like a toothless tiger“, admits Stefan Hanslik, “but the intention was to first bring all stakeholders to the table under the umbrella of agreeable guidelines. At the same time, it was clear all along that we wanted to keep the policy open for more elaborate positions that individual institutions, such as universities, already have and can develop further.“

Additionally, this Open Science Strategy is flanked by numerous practical measures: Activities around Open Science are financed and supported, for example by a funding program to support the digital transformation, in which more than 50 million euros are spent on 5 large projects. Although this program expires in 2024, Stefan Hanslik said that follow-up programs are already being considered.

Researchers, libraries and research funders

However, even well-funded programs are of no help if researchers do not agree. As in other countries, many researchers in Austria are very committed by heart. But – from Stefan Hanslik’s point of view – even more interesting are those who are not yet sufficiently informed. „There is a strong need to catch up across all sectors in our country,“ he diagnoses the situation. „For example, I recently had a conversation with a quantum physicist who had more questions than answers and a large need for information. That’s when I’m glad that Open Science Austria (OSA) exists. They set themselves the goal of tackling this, and reaching out into the finest roots of the research world, across all disciplines.“

Equally important and differently developed are the libraries. „We involve them, but with varying degrees of success“ notes Stefan Hanslik. The situation is different when it comes to research funders. “Here, Austria’s benefit is that there are only two funding agencies: the Fond zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung (FWF) and the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG). Both are committed to research infrastructure programs.” Stefan Hanslik emphasizes that they have successfully put a lot of thought into PlanS and have thus helped to shape the Austrian policy process.


But policy processes are never over, as Stefan Hanslik remarks: „Our policy lacks examples and concrete measures for almost all topics.“ Another well-known challenge in the area of Open Science is monitoring. Here, too, helpful initiatives already exist at European level, such as the EOSC Observatory Monitoring System. „We will feed this monitoring system with our data and create a Country Profile. This will also influence budget decisions, because we want to know to what extent what needs to be funded. But there’s often a question about how to quantify certain Open Science activities.“

What can we learn from Austria?

Austria and Germany are similar in many respects. Both countries have well-developed and very active open access and open science networks, a level of knowledge on openness that varies from discipline to discipline, and a federal system that can help shape decisions and policy processes in a participatory way. In addition to these similarities, however, Stefan Hanslik points to some clear differences between Austria and Germany: „I feel envious when I look at the research infrastructure and the research data infrastructure in Germany“ he admits. But he also sees that Germany has other scale dimensions to deal with. This makes it more difficult, especially in a federal system, to get stakeholders, responsible parties at EU and at governance level at the same table and to coordinate different interests. For the development of a federal policy process in Germany, he advises to take a close look at actors who have been able to implement successful policy models in Europe. „That way, you can learn from each other.“ Indeed, it was precisely this intention that motivated us to conduct this and other interviews. However, a preliminary evaluation of our interviews and a discussion with representatives of the federal and state governments of Germany led to the conclusion that no policy model of another country is transferable to the complex German situation. On the other hand, the international comparison offers inspiration and points to aspects that would otherwise have been ignored. Austria’s early adaptation of the Open Science idea and its integration with the European Union’s science policy can provide helpful and interesting hints here.

Das BUA Open Science Dashboard Projekt: die Entwicklung disziplinspezifischer Open-Science-Indikatoren

Autorinnen: Maaike Duine (ORCiD) und Maxi Kindling (ORCiD)


Open Access, Open Data, Open Educational Resources, Open Hardware, Open Software, Open Code, Citizen Science: Das Konzept von Open Science umfasst viele Praktiken, die im wissenschaftlichen Alltag zunehmend relevant werden. Sie haben zum Ziel, den wissenschaftlichen Arbeitsprozess, seine Quellen und Ergebnisse langfristig offen zugänglich, nachvollziehbar und nachnutzbar zu machen. Im Berliner Hochschulgesetz wird offene Wissenschaft seit 2021 im §41 adressiert. Dort ist formuliert, dass sie sich auf den „uneingeschränkten und langfristigen Zugang zu wissenschaftlichen Texten, Forschungsdaten, Software und weiteren Forschungsergebnissen und -quellen sowie Lehr- und Bildungsmaterialien“ bezieht, den die Hochschulen ebenso unterstützen sollen wie „einen transparenten Forschungsprozess einschließlich der Bereitstellung von Forschungsinformationen“.

Die Verbreitung von Praktiken offener Wissenschaft ist allerdings im Vergleich von Forschungsinstitutionen, Disziplinen und Wissenschaftler*innen unterschiedlich weit fortgeschritten. Weithin bekannt ist, dass der Anteil an Open-Access-Publikationen in Zeitschriften in den Lebens- und Naturwissenschaften höher ist als in den Sozial- und Geisteswissenschaften [1]. In der Umweltforschung sind Citizen-Science-Praktiken, d.h. die Beteiligung der Öffentlichkeit bzw. von Laien-Wissenschaftler*innen an der Forschung, verbreiteter als in anderen Disziplinen [2]. Weitere Beispiele findet man im Bereich der Veröffentlichung von Preprints, d.h. nicht-begutachteten Vorabveröffentlichungen von Manuskripten im Open Access, die in der Mathematik und anderen naturwissenschaftlichen Fächern gängiger sind (z.B. über die Preprintserver ArXiv oder BioArXiv) [3]. Auch das Teilen von Forschungsdaten (Data Sharing) nimmt zwar in allen Disziplinen stetig zu, aber im disziplinären Vergleich gibt es große Unterschiede. Disziplinen wie die Hochenergiephysik, in denen traditionell viel in (großen) Forschungskollaborationen zusammengearbeitet wird und Data Sharing notwendig ist, werden eher Daten nach den Prinzipien von Offenheit geteilt, als in Disziplinen, in denen das weniger üblich und notwendig ist [4, 5].

Was ist Monitoring und wozu machen wir das? Warum ist das ein wichtiges, aber auch schwieriges Thema?

Mit der Verbreitung offener Wissenschaft steigt auch der Bedarf nach einem Monitoring von Open-Science-Praktiken. Dies erlaubt einen breiten Blick auf die Aktivitäten, kann neue Anreize schaffen, Open Science umzusetzen und setzt Impulse für die Entwicklung von Policies oder Infrastrukturangeboten. Ein Monitoring kann sowohl quantitative wie auch qualitative Darstellungen enthalten. So kann es einerseits darum gehen, den Anteil von offen verfügbar gemachten Publikationen in Bezug auf eine Gesamtzahl von Publikationen zu bestimmen. Aufgrund der unterschiedlichen Publikationskulturen in den Disziplinen ist diese „an Zahlen orientierte“ Herangehensweise aber nicht in allen Forschungsfeldern sinnvoll und adäquat. Eine qualitative Beschreibung von Open-Science-Aktivitäten kann daher ebenso von Bedeutung sein, indem beispielsweise Projekte oder Publikationen deskriptiv und kontextualisierend dargestellt werden, um den Impact in einem bestimmten Forschungsgebiet hervorzuheben.

Ein Monitoring kann sich darüber hinaus auf die Aktivitäten einzelner Wissenschaftler*innen, auf Institutionen, auf Förderprogramme, auf eine nationale oder z.B. auf die europäische Ebene beziehen. Ein Monitoring kann beispielsweise für Förderorganisationen einen Einblick in die Anzahl der Open-Access-Publikationen aus einem bestimmten Förderprogramm geben oder für Institutionen ein Benchmarking (einen Vergleich mit, bzw. eine Orientierung an anderen Institutionen) ermöglichen. Dies zeigt bereits, dass mit dem Monitoring bestimmte Herausforderungen verbunden sind. Dazu gehört die Frage, inwieweit ein Monitoring zum unpassenden Vergleich von Disziplinen führt. Eine weitere Frage ist die nach der Bedeutung etablierter Indikatoren für wissenschaftliche Leistungen im Vergleich zu Open-Science-Indikatoren. Der Journal Impact Factor als Parameter ist hier ein häufig angeführtes und kritisch betrachtetes Beispiel, um die wissenschaftliche Leistung von Individuen und Institutionen zu vergleichen. Initiativen wie die San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment und Plan S haben zum Ziel, Verfahren zur Leistungsmessung über den Journal Impact Factor und Journal Metrics hinaus zu entwickeln. Die Entwicklung von Indikatoren für offene Wissenschaft (z.B. für die im nächsten Abschnitt erwähnten Monitoring-Ansätze) gehen in die gleiche Richtung, die Forschungsevaluation neu zu denken und beispielsweise Indikatoren wie den offenen Zugang zu Ergebnissen wie Daten und Software, aber auch die Durchführung von offenen Begutachtungsprozessen (Open Peer Review) oder die Zusammenarbeit (Team Science) zu fördern.


Auf europäischer Ebene gibt es verschiedene Initiativen, die das Monitoring von Open-Science-Praktiken voranbringen wollen. Ein Beispiel ist OpenAIRE’s Open Science Observatory, das die Anzahl der Open-Access-Publikationen, Open Data und Open-Access-Journals pro Land anzeigt. Zur Visualisierung der Daten aus verschiedenen Quellen werden Dashboards entwickelt. Im Fall des Open Science Observatory basieren die Daten auf dem OpenAIRE Research Graph, der Daten von institutionellen Repositorien und Zeitschriften mit Daten von Services wie CrossrefUnpaywallORCID und verknüpft. Ein anderes Beispiel ist der Open Science Monitor der Europäischen Kommission. Er zeigt in unterschiedlichen Dashboards Trends für Open-Access-Publikationen, Open Data und Open Collaboration. Das Monitoring der Open-Access-Publikationen basiert auf Scopus, Unpaywall und DataCite sowie qualititativen Daten von Umfragen. Darüber hinaus wird angezeigt, wie oft OA-Publikationen auf Social Media und anderen Medien erwähnt werden und die Anzahl der Policies von Forschungsförderorganisationen zu Open Access, Open Data sowie Journal Policies zu Open Data, Open Code und Open Hardware wird angegeben. 

In Deutschland ist der Open Access Monitor ein wichtiges Instrument zur Erfassung des Open-Access-Publikationsaufkommens deutscher akademischer Einrichtungen in wissenschaftlichen Zeitschriften. Der Monitor bereitet die Angabe kategorisiert nach Gold/Green/Hybrid OA und Closed Access auf. Der Open Access Monitor Deutschland basiert ebenfalls auf mehreren Datenquellen. Dazu gehören DimensionsWeb of Science, Scopus, Unpaywall, Directory of Open Access Journals und weitere. Es können aber auch weitere Indikatoren bei nationalen Monitoring-Ansätzen vorgefunden werden: Im niederländischen Open Science Dashboard und dem französischen Open Science Monitor werden z.B. die Zertifizierung von und die Nutzung von persistenten Identifikatoren für Forschungsdaten in Repositorien dargestellt.

Auch auf Landesebene ist das Monitoring relevant: Das OABB koordiniert seit einigen Jahren eine Arbeitsgruppe, die seit 2016 das Open-Access-Publikationsaufkommen in wissenschaftlichen Zeitschriften für die neun publikationsstärksten Berliner Hochschulen erfasst. Dies steht im Zusammenhang mit dem in der Berliner Open-Access-Strategie formulierten Ziel, bis 2020 einen Open-Access-Anteil bei Zeitschriftenartikeln von 60 % zu erreichen. Der zuletzt erschienene Bericht über das Publikationsjahr 2019 wies einen Open-Access-Anteil von 51,6 % nach (der Bericht über das Publikationsjahr 2020 wird derzeit vorbereitet).

Abbildung 1: Screenshot des Open Access Monitor Deutschland: Gold Open Access und die Anteile für Open/Closed Access bei Zeitschriftenartikeln der letzten fünf Jahre (Abrufdatum: 11. April, 2022). URL:

Diese Monitoring-Ansätze sind spezialisiert auf das Publizieren in Zeitschriften und zeigen aus verschiedenen Gründen nicht die Diversität der Publikationsformate in den Fachkulturen, die auch Monografien, Sammel- und Konferenzbände, Forschungs-/Kulturdaten, Software, Quellcode, Lehrbücher, Open Educational Resources, Publizieren in Blogs sowie nicht-textuelle Medien, wie z.B. Audio-visuelle Medien und 3D-Modelle umfassen. Ein Problem sind die fehlenden bzw. nicht standardisierten Nachweisquellen, fehlende Indikatorik, Metriken und automatisierte Screening-Tools für diese Formate. Daher sind Monitoring-Ansätze bzw. Dashboards, die auf Disziplinen fokussieren, bislang die Ausnahme.

Das BIH Quest Dashboard

Für die biomedizinische Forschung hat das BIH QUEST Center das Charité Dashboard on Responsible Research erstellt. Die fünf dargestellten OS-Indikatoren Open Access, Open Data, Open Code, Preprints und Anzahl der Forscher*innen mit ORCiD. Datenquellen für OA-Artikel, Preprints und ORCiD sind Unpaywall, Dimensions, und die ORCiD API. Für die OS-Indikatoren Open Data und Open Code wurden die Charité-Publikationen mit einem von QUEST entwickelten Textmining-Algorithmus analysiert: ODDPUB (Open Data Detection in Publications) [6]. ODDPub durchsucht den Volltext der Publikationen nach Aussagen, die auf Daten- oder Code-Sharing hindeuten.

Abbildung 2: Screenshot des Charité Dashboards: Indikatoren für Open Science (Abrufdatum: 7. April, 2022). URL:

Zuletzt wurde das Charité Dashboard um ein FAIR Dashboard erweitert: Forschungsdaten, die in Publikationen von Charité-Autor*innen aus dem Jahr 2020 erwähnt wurden, werden auf die Umsetzung der FAIR Data Principles geprüft, d.h. ob sie in den Repositorien, in denen sie veröffentlicht wurden, auffindbar, zugänglich, interoperabel und nachnutzbar sind [7]. Dafür wurde das F-UJI Automated FAIR Data Assessment Tool verwendet. Anhand von 16 Metriken wird so die FAIRness eines Forschungsdatenobjekts in einem Repositorium bewertet und kann als Hilfsmittel für Forscher*innen dienen, Services auszuwählen, die Daten möglichst umfassend nachnutzbar bereitstellen.

Entwicklung prototypischer Dashboards im BUA Open Science Dashboard Projekt

Für das Monitoring im biomedizinischen Bereich besteht mit dem Charité Dashboard eine funktionale Lösung, während es für viele weitere Disziplinen keine vergleichbaren Ansätze gibt. Ziel des von der Berlin University Alliance (BUA) geförderten Projekts Open Science Dashboards ist es, mit weiteren ausgewählten Instituten bzw. wissenschaftlichen Communities an den BUA-Einrichtungen zusammenzuarbeiten und gemeinsam Indikatoren für ein prototypisches Dashboard zu entwickeln. Die bestehenden Open-Science-Indikatoren des Charité Dashboards können als Ausgangspunkt für weitere disziplinspezifische Dashboards genutzt werden. Außerdem können neue Indikatoren wie z.B. für Citizen Science, Software, Open Educational Resources oder Open-Access-Bücher entwickelt werden.

Die Dashboard-Prototypen können von Instituts- oder Fakultätsleitungen intern genutzt, von Forscher*innen der Communities selbst verwendet, sowie bei Wunsch auch offen verfügbar gemacht werden. Ein besonderer Schwerpunkt liegt dabei auf der Automatisierbarkeit der Erhebung von Indikatoren sowie der Berücksichtigung der FAIR-Prinzipien.

Wir freuen uns über Fragen und Feedback zu diesem Projekt:


  1. Severin A, Egger M, Eve MP and Hürlimann D. Discipline-specific open access publishing practices and barriers to change: an evidence-based review [version 2; peer review: 2 approved, 1 approved with reservations]. F1000Research 2020, 7:1925.
  2. Pettibone L, Vohland K, Ziegler D (2017) Understanding the (inter)disciplinary and institutional diversity of citizen science: A survey of current practice in Germany and Austria. PLoS ONE 12(6): e0178778.
  3. Kristijan Armeni, Loek Brinkman, Rickard Carlsson, Anita Eerland, Rianne Fijten, Robin Fondberg, Vera E Heininga, Stephan Heunis, Wei Qi Koh, Maurits Masselink, Niall Moran, Andrew Ó Baoill, Alexandra Sarafoglou, Antonio Schettino, Hardy Schwamm, Zsuzsika Sjoerds, Marta Teperek, Olmo R van den Akker, Anna van’t Veer, Raul Zurita-Milla, Towards wide-scale adoption of open science practices: The role of open science communities, Science and Public Policy, Volume 48, Issue 5, October 2021, Pages 605–611.
  4. Tedersoo, Leho & Küngas, Rainer & Oras, Ester & Köster, Kajar & Eenmaa, Helen & Leijen, Äli & Pedaste, Margus & Raju, Marju & Astapova, Anastasiya & Lukner, Heli & Kogermann, Karin & Sepp, Tuul. (2021). Data sharing practices and data availability upon request differ across scientific disciplines. Scientific Data. 8. 192.
  5. Zuiderwijk A, and Spiers H (2019) Sharing and re-using open data: A case study of motivations in astrophysics. International Journal of Information Management: 49, pp: 228-241.
  6. Riedel, N., Kip, M. and Bobrov, E., 2020. ODDPub – a Text-Mining Algorithm to Detect Data Sharing in Biomedical Publications. Data Science Journal, 19(1), p.42.
  7. Wilkinson, M., Dumontier, M., Aalbersberg, I. et al. The FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data management and stewardship. Sci Data 3, 160018 (2016).

Political Commitment toward Open Science: Open4DE Spotlight on the Open Access Landscape in France

Authors: Maike Neufend, Martina Benz, Malte Dreyer

Open access is developing in an area of tension between institutional and funder policies, the economics of publishing and last but not least the communication practices of research disciplines. In a comparison across European countries, very dynamic and diverse approaches and developments can be observed. Furthermore, this international and comparative perspective helps us to assess the state of open access (OA) in Germany. In this series of Open4DE project blog posts, we will summarize what we have learned in our in-depth conversations with experts on developing and implementing nationwide open access strategies.

The open access movement in France plays a vital role since the beginning in the European region. Already around the 2000s French research institutions launched the platform (1999) – now OpenEdition – for open access journals primarily in Humanities and Social Sciences. In 2001 the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) started running HAL open archive (2001), a repository open to all disciplinary fields. In 2003 the CNRS signed the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities. During many years open access was a matter of personal involvement from individuals within institutions, says Pierre Mounier, deputy director of OpenEdition and coordinator of OPERAS:

The personal commitment based on political values works locally, but at one point you reach a glass ceiling. You don’t get that general movement because it is only a matter of individuals. It really changed in France…

In 2021 France has already published the Second National Plan for Open Science. Generalising Open Science in France 2021-2024. And during the recently held Open Science European Conference (OSEC) the French Committee for Open Science presented the Paris Call on Research Assessment, calling for „an assessment system where research proposals, researchers, research units and research institutions are evaluated on the basis of their intrinsic merits and impact […]“. In line with the general development across Europe, according to the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science and other policy papers, Open Science is no longer a question of few committed librarians, information scientists and researchers, but part of the national strategy on scholarly communication.

What can be achieved by a national strategy?

In Germany multiple stakeholders publish their own policies and strategies, committing to open access practices and values. Marin Dacos, national open science coordinator at the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, emphasizes that a national strategy is a strong signal no matter what, because multiple stakeholders receive concrete directions by such strategies. In addition, it might be more efficient to speak as a country regarding these issues, in particular at the international level, f.e. within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the European Commission and The Council for National Open Science Coordination (CoNOSC), a network of national coordinators in the UN-European region supported by SPARC Europe.

Looking at France, for certain topics national negotiations seem more convenient: Considering investment in green open access or diamond open access, it is more realistic to achieve progress on the national level instead of federal, local or institutional levels only. Setting open access on the national agenda allows for strategic planning. This argument is not only supported by the content of the two national plans for open science in France from 2018 and 2021, but also on the recently published Action Plan for Diamond Open Access „to further develop and expand a sustainable, community-driven Diamond OA scholarly communication ecosystem“. Prepared by OPERAS, PLAN S, Science Europe and French National Research Agency (ANR) the plan was commented by experts of a workshop sponsored by the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation in preparation for the OSEC conference. A summary of this conference and links to recordings are available online.

The National Plan and its infrastructure

But how did the first national plan actually come about in 2018? After the election in 2017, Frédérique Vidal became Minister for Higher Education, Research and Innovation. Since 2017 Marin Dacos is open science advisor to the director-general for research and innovation at the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation. He has been highly involved in the writing process of the French Open Science Plan. The open science committee was founded in 2019, consisting of a steering committee of open science, a permanent secretariat for open science (SPSO), colleges and expert groups as well as the forum for open science.

The steering committee meets 3–4 times a year to make strategic decisions related to the national strategy, acts as the Council of Partners of the National Fund for Open Science (GIS FNSO) and decides which initiatives to fund. The permanent secretariat headed by the national coordinator for open science gathers monthly to prepare the work of the steering committee, and to ensure the implementation of its conclusions. It coordinates the work of the colleges of the open science committee, oversees the editorial board of the website, and monitors the progress of ongoing projects for the operational implementation of the national open science policy. The colleges and expert groups are standing bodies composed of experts on various aspects of the national open science policy. They review issues, propose guidelines, issue opinions, and initiate and lead projects. The forum for open science supports the committee by bringing in the experience of professionals from academia and research institutions. It provides a space for dialogue, exchange and development of shared expertise. As Morka and Gatti point out, the open science committee is one of the „main platforms where librarians engage in discussions on open access“.

Moreover, in the French case, a national fund (Fonds National pour la Science Ouverte, FNSO) is in place since the first National Plan on Open Science (2018) funded by „ministerial allocations and voluntary contributions from institutions of higher education, research and innovation, as well as contributions from foundations and patrons“. Through this fund the steering committee for open science can incentivize concrete projects to foster implementation of measures articulated in the national plan, „it helps to target specific actions, an important transformation effect to help move forward“, says Mounier. 48 projects have been selected by the steering committee, 22 projects in 2019 mainly on research infrastructures, digital platforms and editorial initiatives and 26 projects in 2021 focusing on editorial platforms and structures as well as editorial content. Beside the fact that the fund is limited in its financial power, it is an important addition for a successful implementation of a national strategy.

What is there to consider for the German landscape?

One important lesson to learn from France refers to the administration of open access within the ministry. Open science and open access is highly coordinated inside the ministry and thus funds are not administered differently for these closely linked topics. However, the level of diversity included in the French national strategy is something to look up to. This is also visible in how the implementation of the national strategy is monitored in France. One aim of the French national open science strategy is the objective of a 100% open access rate in 2030 and progress is monitored on the national level. But different from the German Open Access Monitor the French version relies only on „using reliable and controlled open data“ like data from Unpaywall, DOAJ or OpenAPC – source databases like Web of Science or Scopus are not included. In addition, the French Open Science Monitor aims at including all scientific output and thus shows not only open access articles published in peer-reviewed journals but proceedings, book chapters, books and preprints as well. Sorting according to disciplines and their open access output is presented and the language of publication is shown as well. It is positive to see that both, the German and the French monitor, include diamond open access and thus differentiate it from full APC gold open access already.

But what works well in France is not necessarily the right path for Germany. University presses are well-developed in France, while the national publishing platform OpenEdition provides an infrastructure to publish open access books as well as journals. In Germany a decentralized library system operates quite autonomous on institutional levels, with different library consortia across federal states. A national publishing platform like OpenEdition may look like a desirable model, but as Pierre Mounier points out, does it really make sense for Germany? An important impulse from our interviews with French open science experts has been the question, how we can use the federated infrastructure in Germany as an advantage and not an obstacle for a national open access agenda.


(2017). „Jussieu Call for Open Science and Bibliodiversity.“ Accessed April 6, 2022.

Ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur, de la Recherche  et de l’Innovation (2018). „National Plan for Open Science.“ Accessed April 6, 2022.

Ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur, de la Recherche  et de l’Innovation (2021). „Second National Plan for Open Science Generalising Open Science in France 2021-2024.“ Accessed April 6, 2022.,

Ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur, de la Recherche et de l’Innovation (2022). „Paris Call on Research Assessment.“ Accessed April 6, 2022.

Ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur, de la Recherche et de l’Innovation (2022). „Action Plan for Diamond open access.“ Accessed April 6, 2022.

Mounier, Pierre (2019). „From Open Access as a Movement to Open Science as a Policy.“ Presented at the 2019 2nd AEUP Conference: (Re-)Shaping University Presses and Institutional Publishing. Profiles – Challenges – Benefits, Brno, Czech Republic, October 3. Accessed April 6, 2022.

Morka, Agata, and Rupert Gatti (2021). „France.“ In Academic Libraries and Open Access Books in Europe: A Landscape Study. PubPub. Accessed April 6, 2022.