Support and Landscape

The major research funder in Germany is the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) which has tied open access into its funding policy:

“When entering into publishing contracts scientists participating in DFG-funded projects should, as far as possible, permanently reserve a non-exclusive right of exploitation for electronic publication of their research results for the purpose of open access. Here, discipline-specific delay periods of generally six to twelve months can be agreed upon, before which publication of previously published research results in discipline-specific or institutional electronic archives may be prohibited.”

The DFG also offers a number of funding schemes aimed at enabling open access publication (Open Access Publishing Programme) and the development and implementation of open access infrastructure (Infrastructure for Electronic Publications and Digital Scholarly Communication Programme).

National Initiatives

Open-Access.Network: The platform will be developed into a new infrastructure for information and networking. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research is funding the Germany-wide joint project The project creates a new information and networking service that will activate existing initiatives and network them across regions as well as sustainably improve the exchange within science on Open Access. Information on Open Access will be made available centrally and reliably across disciplines. New, freely accessible material, continuing education and training programmes qualify actors and multipliers in science and libraries and impart skills in practical, organizational and legal issues. All six project partners have been very active contributors to the Open Access community for many years: Communication, Information, Media Centre (KIM) at the University of Konstanz (project manager), Open Access Office Berlin at Freie Universität Berlin, Helmholtz Open Science Office at Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam – Deutsches Geoforschungszentrum, German National Library of Science and Technology (TIB) in Hannover, university library Bielefeld and university library Göttingen.

Network of certified Open Access repositories and related projects: In order to increase the worldwide perception and effect of the German Research contribution, the project "Network of certified Open Access Repositories” OA-Network seeks to intensify the national networking of repositories. It aims to virtually integrate all document and publication services with a DINI certificate and to increase the number of DINI certified repositories. These certified repositories easily blend in overall networks such as the DRIVER pan-European repository infrastructure (Repositories Infrastructure Vision for European Research). Networking will not only be pushed forward organisationally but also technically and infrastructurally.

New since 2019: National Agreements with Publishers

Project DEAL: Project DEAL is an initiative by the Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany. Its goal is to negotiate and conclude nationwide license agreements with major academic publishers for their entire range of ejournals. Changes in prices and availability of content shall be made to reduce costs and use institutions’ financial capacities more efficiently as well as expand access for academics to academic literature including some sort of Open Access. The involvement of 268 German universities and research institutions as well as state libraries raises hopes that new contracts will be negotiated and changes made. The negotiations started in 2016 and concentrate on the three biggest publishers on the German market: Elsevier, Springer Nature and Wiley. As press releases state, negotiations with Elsevier prove to be unsuccessful. Although around 300 institutions have cancelled their contracts with Elsevier, no consensus could be reached so far and negotiations have been temporarily adjourned in July 2018. In January 2019, a deal with Wiley has been achieved resulting in the first Publish and Read (PAR) contract with German institutions. The PAR fee is calculated yearly on the basis of publications per institution and allows all submitting corresponding authors of participating institutions to publish open access (generally under CC-BY) in all of Wiley’s ejournals at no further cost, as well as a 20% discount on Article Processing Charges for Wiley’s gold open access journals. The contract also includes perpetual access to all 1.700 Wiley ejournals. Very similar conditions apply to the contract with Springer Nature published in January 2020. Since then it is possible for all submitting corresponding authors of participating institutions to publish open access under CC-BY in almost all of Springer Nature's ejournals with a PAR fee paid by the institutions. The second part of the contract, addressing publications in Springer Nature's gold open access journals at a 20% discount will be valid from August 2020.

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