Open Access

" a free, irrevocable, worldwide, right of access ..." (Berlin Declaration)

The principle of "Open Access", considering the technical potentials in scientific communication and the distribution of scientific information, becomes more and more important.

Several declarations defined and supported Open Access — one of the most influential was the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities launched in autumn 2003. The list of signatories reads like a who’s who of European scientific institutions and organizations and it is still growing.

„By 'open access' to this literature, we mean its free availability on the public internet […] without financial, legal, or technical barriers […]“ (from "Budapest Open Access Initiative")

Benefits for scientists

The main advantage of Open Access is the increased global dissemination of knowledge along with the improved reception by the scientific community. Citation rates grow throught free accessibility, as studies about Open Access citation advantages proof. 

Publishing in Open Access Journals (Golden Road)

Means the primary publication of an article in a scientific journal, that makes its articles immediately online freely accessible after publication.

In the area of Open Access Publikations the same quality standards apply as for publications in traditional journals.

The number of Open Access Journals is constantly rising. Next to original Open Acces publishers like Copernicus, traditional publishers also launched Open Access journals (e.g SpringerOpen)

Most of the time during submission of an article the scientist has to pay charges, so called Article Processing Charges (APC). The GFZ offers a publication fund for publication fees - we would be happy to assist you!

Self-archiving (Green Road)

The green road to Open Access means the self-archiving of a peer reviewed article in a full-text database, a so-called institutional repository.

In most subscribtion-based journals you have to transfer all your copyright to the publisher by signing the author agreement. Under certain conditions, like an embargo, the article can be published anyhow. For example as a self-achieved copy in an institutional repository.

The SHERPA/RoMEO list gives a overview on publisher copyright policies & self-archiving:

Common restrictions are:


  • archiving of publisher's version/PDF,only pre- or postprint
  • Publisher copyright and source must be acknowledged
  • Embargo, 6-12 months after publication

If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact us directly: openaccess(at)
Please take advantage of the opportunity to publish your article in an institutional repository.
»See here how it works.

Hybrid Open Access

In a hybrid Open Access journal the publisher offers the author the opportunity to make his article freely accessible. This requires the payment of a publication fee to the publisher.

Here are 3 reasons not to support hybrid Open Access:

  • In many cases self-archiving is possible
  • Compared to Article Processing Charges (APC) from Open Access-Journals, the incoming fees are disproportionately expensive
  • The library still has to subscribe the journal and in this case the institution pays twice - for publication fee and subsciption.

Open Access in Horizon 2020

Fact Sheet: Open Access in Horizon 2020
Fact Sheet: Open Access (Europen Commission, 2013, PDF, 207 KB)
Guidelines on Open Access to Scientific Publications and Research Data in Horizon 2020
Guidelines on Open Access to Scientific Publications and Research Data in Horizon 2020 (European Commission, 2013, PDF, 321 KB)

More Information

"HowOpenIsIt?" Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition and Public Library of Science (2014) [PDF, 415 KB]

Open Access - Positionen, Prozesse, Perspektiven“ - Brochure [PDF, 111 KB, German only]

AlbertOpen“ - Current developments in Open Access. [German only]

International Open Access-Week - Information collection

Open Access in the Helmholtz-Association [WWW, German only]

Helmholtz Open Science Newsletter - Progress of Open Access [German only]

Leibniz Association and Open Access - Guidelines [PDF, 79,5 KB]