Ruben Sommaruga

Research Area
Limnology

Research Institution

University of Innsbruck, Institute of Ecology

Academic Position
Full Professor

Important Grants or Merits
International Prize on Recognition of Professional Excellence in Ecology (ECI)


Long before the Open Access (OA) initiative took place, I used my personal website as a "green way" for making my publications available for free. After several years of the OA initiative, I continue posting the pdf files on my website because I am convinced the OA is not working properly. This is because of the high publication fees for OA requested by most large editorial houses, which have created two classes of scientists based on whether they can pay for them or not (in few cases editorial houses will offer a complete or partial fee waiver). In that way, citation patterns and bibliometric indexes are also influenced.

In Austria, we are in a privileged situation where the OA fee can be covered through the Austrian Science Fund, if one has a grant. Nevertheless, I have a very bad feeling when exorbitant prices of up to EUR 3,000 are paid for OA. I am convinced that a real democratization of the OA and of the transfer of scientific knowledge is needed. This will imply to increase the pressure on editorial houses to reduce the OA fees for authors and to incentivise the use of repository platforms in internet that guarantee a real access to everyone.