It is very flattering to me to be recognised in this way – not least because I regard open science as such a crucial step forward.
Scientists have long shared and compared their knowledge – so it is natural to use new technology to take that further. Indeed, if Europe isn't capturing these new technological opportunities, then it's clear that we're missing out. Eric Merkel-Sobotta tells me that, when Springer first started open access, some saw it as crazy – but now it's become part of the scientific landscape. It's something scientists and funding bodies have long been seeking – and I'm proud that the EU's own research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020, will be taking the lead here, with open access for all publications.
That's just part of the way we're making the transition to open, digital science – an issue we are now consulting on.
As I said in Berlin last week - the movement for openness is something that has long inspired and motivated me. And at that Open Knowledge Festival, I got to meet many thousands of those committed individuals who are fighting for that cause. This is about people using their creativity to make ideas into innovations, and generate jobs.
I'm very flattered to be the first ever politician to receive this award – but I really hope I'm not the last: I hope this message gets through to every policymaker in every level of government. We're certainly encouraging national governments to use open access for their national research programmes – and seeing considerable progress. I hope that open science movement continues – for the sake of citizens, scientists and society.