Information and Consulting on Open Access

"Literature should be freely and publicly available online [...] without financial, legal, or technical barriers." (Extract from the Budapest Open Access Initiative)

Open Access Strategies

The "gold road to open access" refers to the primary publication of research results in original open access journals. In the open access system, the same quality assurance standards apply as for publications in subscription-based journals. But other than in closed access journals, articles are worldwide freely and publicly accessible.

The number of open access journals is increasing steadily. In addition to original open access publishers (e. g. Copernicus), traditionally working publishers have founded open access journals as well (e. g. SpringerOpen).

In many cases, fees, so-called Article Processing Charges (APCs), are due when articles are accepted. The GFZ supports open access publications for  staff members with its publication funds.

More information on publication funds:

The green road to open access refers to the publication of quality assured text publications and other digital objects on an institutional or disciplinary document server (repository).

When publishing in subscription-based journals usually authors have to transfer exploitation rights to the publisher by signing the author agreement. However, many journals themselves, but also the German Copyright Act, allow simultaneous or delayed parallel publication on an open repository.

Common restrictions include:

A good overview on publishers' copyright and self-archiving policies is listed by SHERPA/RoMEO:

If no publishing contract has been concluded for collections, the publisher acquires an exclusive right of use for only one year (§ 38 UrhG). After that, self-archiving is possible without restriction. In the case of conference contributions etc., publishing on an institutionally repository is unproblematic in many cases.

Do not hesitate to contact us and use the possibility to publish your articles in our institutional repository: What do I have to do?

The publishers' offer to put an article - published in a subscription-based journal - open access immediately after publication is called "Hybrid Access". It is also known as "OpenChoice" or "Paid Open Access".

The are mainly three arguments against this publication model:

  • In many cases self-archiving in the sense of Green Open Access is possible.
  • Compared to usual Article Processing Charges (APCs) of Gold Open Access journals publication fees for Paid Open Access are disproportionately expensive.
  • If the library already has subscribed the journal, the institution pays twice (double dipping): Publication fee for the article and subscription fee for the journal!

Search for OA Publications

Tools to search for freely available publications

ALBERT - our library search engineIn ALBERT OA publications from many different sources are indexed, searchable and visibly marked with "ARTICLE (OA)". Example
Google ScholarGoogle Scholar indexes freely available articles and documents.
BASEA special search engine for open access documents.
Open Access ButtonRedirects to freely accessible versions.
UnpaywallRedirects as browser plugin to freely accessible versions.
Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) This is an interdisciplinary index of scientific e-books that are published with an open access license.