University of Vienna
Ordinarius Professor for Physical Chemistry
Important Grants or Merits
Professor emeritus, President of the Austrian Academy of Science (ÖAW) from 2006 - 2009
Open Access is the contemporary response to the tremendously increasing number of scholars and scholarly journals. Electronic media provide opportunities for the individual researchers for archiving an excessive amount of scientific literature. Hence traditional libraries will become obsolete in the near future, at least in natural sciences. This shift in everyday practical archiving of knowledge from the scientific community to the individual researcher and the need to quickly access content also requires new business models for the publishing industry.
My vision of how to enable scholars to efficiently access the immensely increasing amount of literature is to make the entire knowledge available to efficient search engines through open access without payment, on which customized searches can be performed. Of course, publishers need to recruit revenues, for example by means of publication fees.
Furthermore, the market-based competition for authors that carry out excellent research, which (hopefully) will emerge as a consequence, should support realistic pricing. Moreover, Open Access is fair towards smaller facilities and facilities not in the focal point of interest, i.e. facilities which are currently not able to afford access to electronic literature, but would need it urgently to improve their performance. A solution for the stand-alone scientist, who may create the biggest innovations, is still to be found. It is safe to assume that the forthcoming structural change of the scientific publication system will lead to far-reaching changes also with regard to the current peer review system.
In summary: I think the expansion of open access is inevitable and resistance will only delay its full realisation.