Helga Nowotny

Research Area
Science Studies

Research Institution
ETH Zurich, University of Vienna

Academic Position
University Professor President of the European Research Council

Important Grants or Merits
Foreign Member, Royal Swedish Academy of Science, John Desmond Bernal Prize (2003), AAAS Fellow (2011)


For the first time in history, research results can be made available to virtually everyone in the world with one mouse click. However, the introduction of open access is only consequential if we look at the history of science. In earlier days, the spectacular advance in scientific research was only possible because results were published, first in books, later in journals, then as working papers. Newly gained insights need to be spread to the informed colleagues, but also to the wider public, for the sake of scientific progress. Usage of the latest publication technology is mandatory if we want to maintain the pace.

Like the FWF, the European Research Council sees itself as a facilitator of Open Access. Early on, the ERC elaborated a vade-me-cum on Open Access for all ERC-funded researchers (see http://erc.europa.eu/documents/erc-scientific-council-guidelines-open-access). This policy bears fruit: More than 60 percent of all publications by ERC funded projects are published under Open Access regulations. Chaired by the eminent biologist and Nobel Prize Laureate Tim Hunt, a dedicated ERC Working Group on Open Access is seeking for partnerships with uprising initiatives for making Open Access worthwhile to researchers from all fields of science and scholarship.

We strongly believe that Open Access is the future of scientific publishing, and will also help to make science’s intrinsic democratic value more momentous than ever.