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Capturing the interest of the public

OA research story: Raoul Scherwitzl

Open access research can be read by anyone, anywhere, immediately on publication. This allows articles published OA to work up quite a storm, being shared via social media, blogged about, and picked up by news outlets.

We spoke to Raoul Scherwitzl, co-author of ‘Fertility awareness-based mobile application for contraception’ in The European Journal of Contraception & Reproductive Health Care, which gained an impressive 6,245 downloads and an Altmetric score of 183.*


“Our paper was an important addition to the field of contraception, which was not only relevant for academia, but the medical community and the public in general. Contraception has always been a hot topic for society – in recent years, there has been a lot of discussion about the side-effects of hormonal contraception and alternative methods that are effective are scarce.

In addition, you have large consumer health trends, where women and men pay close attention to what and how they consume, how they exercise, etc. using apps. An app that is effective for contraception therefore also captures the interest of the public. This study was the first study that evaluated the effectiveness of fertility awareness-based methods supported by a mobile application providing real life data on contraception, which is very interesting.

That’s why our research was published Open Access. In general, I believe that all science results should be made available to the public. This is the least biased source of information and everyone should be able to form their own opinion based on facts. The publishing process was seamless, no different to not choosing OA, and it allowed many people to access and read the article, including the media who could easily get a hold of the study and found the results interesting enough to cover.”

*Data is correct as of January 3, 2017.


Raoul Scherwitzl is a former post-doctoral researcher in solid state Physics, who turned entrepreneur to develop a mobile application for natural family planning which is the subject of this study.