It is the essence of modern science and scholarship that its results can be replicated, verified, falsified and reused for further research or practical purposes. In the digital age that means free access on the internet.

While the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) has so far primarily focused on Open Access to publications, the principle of openness will now be extended to research data as part of a long-term Open Science strategy. That means that in the medium-term all research data and similar materials which are collected and/or analysed using FWF funds must be made openly accessible, whenever legally and ethically possible. In order to make that happen, this pilot programme aims to create role models and to gain experiences with research data.

The corner marks of the pilot programme are the following:

  • As a precondition only outline proposals based on research data that predominantly result from FWF projects which were granted during the past five years (completed or running projects which were approved after January 1, 2010) are eligible for the pilot programme. An applicant can only submit one project application.
  • Pilot projects of all disciplines may be submitted focusing on the analysis, maintenance and update of research data following the guidelines for Stand-alone projects. The maximum eligible project duration is 24 months and the applied budget must not exceed EUR 250.000. 
  • Research data is defined as data which is “produced by scientific projects, for example by means of digitization, the study of sources, experiments, measurements, surveys or questionnaires”1 including software.
  • Research data must (1) be published on the basis of the latest technical standards, (2) must be openly accessible, (3) reproducible, (4) machine-readable, (5) citable, (6) have attached an open licence for unrestricted further (re-) use and (7) must be published in a registered repository.

The application form for the “Letter of Interest” has to be submitted in English via Email ord(at)  (no scanned file) and signed via mail (date of postmark) by 14 March 2016 at the latest.

The “Letter of Interest” is a precondition to be eligible for a full proposal. Based on the decision of the FWF board, the FWF will invite the best “Letters of Interest” in mid-May 2016 to submit a full proposal until the beginning of July. The full proposals will be internationally peer-reviewed according to usual FWF procedures. Final funding decisions will be made at the beginning of March 2017.

Application Form: „Letter of Interest“(pdf, 4.1MB)


Digital Curation Center:
Registry of Research Data Repositories:

1 The Priority Initiative Digitale Information of the German Alliance of Science Organisations.


Falk Reckling / Katharina Rieck

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