Open Access in Germany
Germany currently numbers 347 Higher Education and over 250 public research institutions. Many of them run an institutional or subject-based Open Access (OA) repository, some of these centrally managed by umbrella organizations. Today, there are about 150 OA repositories in Germany: 124 OAI repositories according to OpenDOAR, plus those listed by DINI (for more information about DINI see below) and OAI service providers (like BASE, OAIster, and Scientific Commons). The majority of German repositories are based on the OPUS software, followed by DSpace, MyCore, FEDORA and Eprints as well as locally developed software options. Over 40 repositories operate on platforms that are centrally managed by country-state library networks in Cologne, Berlin, Jena, Munich, and Constance.
In the federal environment of Germany, the strong competition among universities and research institutions is stimulating - but also challenging – to the development of Open Access publication strategies and digital repositories. At present, there is no OA mandate (compare ROARMAP), but some OA statements of German universities and research institutions/organizations are in place. The most prominent statement in use is the 2003 “Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities”, signed by approx. 250 international research institutions/organizations (with >30 from Germany, including the German Rectors’ Conference which includes 258 universities and other HE institutions; the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft and the Wissensgemeinschaft Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz - together organizing public research institutions).
At present, the most important obstacle in the implementation of repositories seems to be a lack of resources for the implementation of institutional publication policies and the development of technical infrastructure. The main challenge is the re-organization and filling of repositories with scholarly content beyond theses and dissertations as this process is dependent upon the formulation of general rules allowing the electronic deposit of already published materials in the German Copyright Act. With the reform of this law at the end of 2007, the rights for the digitization of older materials (published before 1995) have changed: the right to publish digitized versions falls to the publisher by the end of 2008 if the author does not intervene to retain some electronic publishing rights. This has been applied in advocacy activities by several institutions to raise authors’ awareness and increase the use of OA repositories.
Enhancing the networking of digital repositories by supporting best practices and technical standards is another challenge in Germany (see the description of the DINI certificate below). At the European level, the situation in Germany would be best supported by a further improvement of the infrastructure enabling networks of digital repositories in combination with advocacy activities.
The state-of-the-art of the OA movement in Germany is described in several recent publications, for example the book "Open Access. Chancen und Herausforderungen" published 2007 by the Deutsche UNESCO-Kommission (English version in preparation), and the special issue “Open Access”, Zeitschrift für Bibliothekswesen und Bibliographie, Vol. 54 (2007), Nr. 4/5. (mostly in German, author’s copies can be found here).
German research organizations and funders actively support OA projects and initiatives. For example, one project funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) resulted in the development of the DINI network. Further projects and initiatives will be described below.
The Deutsche Initiative für Netzwerkinformation DINI (German Initiative for Network Information) is the most relevant organization in Germany for supporting a national repository infrastructure. DINI is organized in working groups for thematic fields like IPR, Standards and Electronic Publishing. DINI regularly organizes workshops and conferences for promoting the use and the quality of digital repositories. It has initiated several projects to support the technical development of a network of digital repositories and actively encourages the process of DINI certification. The DINI certificate was developed and is regularly updated by the Electronic Publishing working group. The certification process evaluates and improves the quality of publication services by referring to international standards and quality criteria. In consequence, the process improves data quality and conformity to enable services and the networking of repositories. Currently 21 German repositories have received the DINI certificate.
The DINI certificate is internationally renowned and has been translated into English and Spanish. Together with the DARE guidelines, the DINI certificate served as a basis for the DRIVER Guidelines for Content Providers. Therefore all DINI certified repositories comply with the DRIVER guidelines.
Information platform open-access.net
The main aim of the platform open-access.net is to provide detailed information about open access for scholars and other stakeholders. To do this, information about OA already available at different places has been reviewed, systematized and presented for different purposes/target groups. For example, scholars from different disciplines can find information about the OA culture in their respective communities, about OA journals and repositories, etc. Moreover, information is presented from different user perspectives: authors, librarians, OA publishers, institutions running OA repositories, and so on. They may access more general information, dedicated to the respective group/interests, by short articles, or via FAQs, providing answers for more practical issues.
The platform presents information about several OA initiatives, including the specific initiatives of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft and the Leibniz-Gemeinschaft. The platform is funded by the DFG and supported by the Volkswagen-Stiftung, the DINI network, the Hochschulrektorenkonferenz, and several learned societies. Open-access.net integrates further OA activities from Germany, Austria and Switzerland into its platform. The project aims to develop a network of Open Access commissioners and is planning to provide an english version.
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. OA-Network therefore supports repository managers in the certification process and, at the same time, issues a number of services on its platform. Documents are accessible by full-text search, search via metadata and overall browsing. The platform will offer additional services, i.e. information about new documents (Alerting), export functions for common reference formats and the link-up of printing services (Print on Demand). Furthermore, the project integrates future developments from other electronic publishing projects such as user statistics and citation analysis.
Bielefeld Academic Search Engine - BASE
The Bielefeld Academic Search Engine BASE is a multi-disciplinary search engine for scientifically relevant web resources which was created and developed by Bielefeld University Library. It is based on search technology provided by FAST Search & Transfer, a Norwegian company. For the BASE project OAI metadata from scientific repository servers are collected by a so-called "harvester" and are indexed by means of FAST software.
BASE is a registered OAI service provider and contributes to the European project "Digital Repository Infrastructure Vision for European Research" (DRIVER) since June 2006.
Helmholtz Association Open Access Project
The Helmholtz Association with its 28.000 employees in 15 research centres is Germany's largest scientific organisation. It was one of the initial signatories of the “Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities” in 2003. This commitment towards Open Access was formally adopted: ”Publications from the Helmholtz Association shall in future, without exception, be available free of charge, in so far no conflicting Agreement with the publishers or others exists.” (Agreement of the Assembly of Members, 27.09.2004).
Since 2005 the Helmholtz Open Access Project supports the scientists as well as the respective Helmholtz Centres in the realisation of Open Access. The project´s Newsletter and the Helmholtz Open Access Workshops are only two examples of how the project informs and advises employees about new developments, strategies, and ideas. One example of the project’s success is that most Helmholtz Centres now run institutional repositories. These open accessible databases contain a significant and steadily growing share of the scientific output of the Helmholtz Association. In the Helmholtz Open Access community several scientists act as editors and/or reviewers for Open Access Journals and develop the idea of Open Access in their individual Research Centres (see the list of editors and reviewers and the selected interviews (in german)). Open Access to research data will in the future be an indispensable part of scientific culture and will generate a considerable added value to science. Even today, “data sharing” already has a high relevance and a growing number of data centres with Open Access - including two of a total of three ICSU-World Data Centres in Germany - are run by Helmholtz Centres. Helmholtz scientists are actively involved in national and international initiatives related to open data.
The CARPET (Community for Academic Reviewing, Publishing and Editorial Technology) project aims to develop an electronic platform where tools and services for electronic publishing can be systematically and clearly represented. This shall allow a more efficient use of existing tools and foster coordinated developments avoiding redundancies. As a start a catalogue of existing tools will be generated which will be expanded to an information platform and eventually be developed to a collaboration platform, a forum to support users and developers alike. The aim of the project is to establish the platform permanently as a virtual competence center to make the results of developments in the area of electronic publishing available in the long term and to effectively support their use and future developments. The platform is amenable to the presentation of international developed publication tools provided that they can be reused freely.
Open Access Policies
It is essential for the strategy of Open Access self-archiving that scientific authors are given comprehensive information on publisher copyright policies. Therefore, the DFG-funded project Open Access Policies has developed a German (and potentially multilingual) interface to the English SHERPA/RoMEO service to provide additional information on German publishers' open access policies. This interface was enhanced to an integration layer combining different sources on publisher copyright policies and can be used in many different contexts. Together with the SHERPA/RoMEO team, DINI aims to build an international support structure for open access information. (Compare also the project description and the article about phase I and II).
According to the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) there are 135 German OA journals. Some of these journals are hosted by OA journal platforms, but most are run individually by research institutions and learned societies, including the following: Forum: Qualitative Social Research, Documenta Mathematica, Economics: The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, and the Journal für Psychologie.
- Copernicus Publications
- Digital Peer Publishing NRW
- German Academic Publishers (GAP)
- German Medical Science
- Living Reviews
According to the German Copyright Act (Gesetz über Urheberrecht und verwandte Schutzrechte) the copyright consists of intransferable moral rights (only transferable by inheritance) and rights to exploit the work, either in the author's own rights or by granting exclusive or non-exclusive licences. With the reform of the German Copyright Act (Zweites Gesetz zur Regelung des Urheberrechts in der Informationsgesellschaft), which came into force on January 1, 2008, the exploitation right for as yet unknown types of use can be transferred but follows particular regulations. Ownership of works created in the course of employment follows its own rules: the author owns the copyright, but may be obliged to grant a licence to the employer. In general, the author retains the right to decide to publish or not, but has some obligations to her/his employer when s/he acts within the framework of the employers’ mission. Publishing agreements define the terms and conditions under which a manuscript is published. Therefore authors should identify the rights they wish to retain. Today, very few German publishers offer a “Licence to publish” which leaves the right to deposit in an open access repository to the author, but several accept the deposit of authors’ pre and/or post prints (see SHERPA/RoMEO database).
Increasingly, Creative Commons Licences are used by digital repositories as a supplement to deposit licences, and are applied to publication contracts by some publishers, including many not-for-profit German university presses. Another publication licence in use in Germany, is the Digital Peer Publishing Licence DPPL, created by the Institute for Legal Issues on Free and Open Source Software. DPPL is a modular licence, designed for the publication of scholarly content in electronic formats. The licence is customised for national law, but is internationally applicable.
The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) 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.” Other funders like the Volkswagenstiftung support OA publishing in financial terms (see the overview at access.net).
The SHERPA/RoMEO database numbers 10 German publishers offering self-archiving options, including Springer, Thieme, Copernicus, Klostermann, Lucius & Lucius, Wiley-VCH, and the university presses of Kassel, Karlsruhe and Göttingen.
Some German publishers offer OA options, most prominently Springer with its “Open Choice”. Recently Springer has agreed arrangements with the UKB (a consortium of all Dutch universities plus the Royal Library, Press Release June 2007), Goettingen University, PR October 2007, and the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, PR February 2008). Within the terms of the contract all publications of “corresponding authors” will be made available within the “Open Choice” scheme.
The project PEER (Publishing and the Ecology of European Research) (see the press release), supported by the European Union, brings together the major STM (Science, Technology, Medicine) publishers in collaboration with scientific research organizations and the library community. The project will investigate the effects of systematic depositing of authors' final peer-reviewed manuscripts (so called Green Open Access or stage-two research output) in a large-scale impact study. As a result of these activities about 60.000 articles from 300 scientific journals will be made freely available in digital repositories over the next three years, and the effects monitored by behavioural, usage and economic research programmes.
Over the past decade, the landscape of scholarly publishing in Germany (and other parts of continental Europe) has seen a significant trend in the resurgence of not-for-profit university presses: Kassel university press in 1997, Hamburg university press in 2002, followed by the Universitätsverlag Karlsruhe and Universitätsverlag Göttingen in 2003, Potsdam 2004, Ilmenau 2006. Further new presses are in the course of formation such as Bamberg or Heidelberg. A common trait of these presses is their close relationship within the academic institutions, especially to libraries, and a strong commitment to Open Access publishing. These presses, as well as three presses form Italy and Austria are organized in the “Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Universitätsverlage”.
The Universitätsverlag at Göttingen University is participating in the project OAPEN (Open Access Publishing in European Networks), together with Amsterdam University Press, Manchester University Press, Firenze University Press, Presses Universitaire de Lyon, Museum Tusculanum Press, Amsterdam University and Leiden University. The OAPEN project aims to develop and implement OA publication models for peer reviewed books in the Humanities and Social Sciences on the basis of a OA publishing platform. The project started in September 2008 and reaches out to offer solutions to both publishers and other stakeholders, as authors, libraries, research funders, and policy makers.
Berlin 6 Open Access Conference “Changing Scholarly Communication in the Knowledge Society”, November 11-23, 2008, Düsseldorf, Germany
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Contributor's contact details
Dr. Birgit Schmidt, Goettingen State and University Library
Page last modified: November 04, 2008, at 03:43 PM