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Information for Researchers No. 29 | 2 June 2014
Open Access Transformation

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) invites proposals for the development and testing of new, possibly subject-specific approaches to open communication in research. The call pertains to innovative open-access solutions in all areas of the publishing process.

Funding Objectives

Open access plays an increasingly important role in improving ways to access, exchange, productively appropriate and more easily reuse research findings that are published digitally over the internet. While open access is spreading at different rates in the different scientific disciplines, overall there is a strong momentum in the implementation of various models for providing open access to research results. This often entails the development of innovative solutions for different areas of the publishing process, such as

  • technical and organisational aspects of the publication process;
  • financing and business models underlying open access;
  • transitioning traditionally subscription-based journals to open-access models;
  • ensuring the fullest possible reusability of publications; or
  • measuring the impact of open-access publications.

The DFG supports the science-driven development of this and similar areas that are constitutive of scholarly communication based on openly accessible research findings. For this purpose, the DFG funds experimentally oriented projects for the development and testing of new, innovative, and even risky approaches to introducing, designing and implementing open access, possibly in subject-specific ways.

Proposal Requirements

Eligible to submit proposals are: not-for-profit academic information-infrastructure facilities such as libraries, archives, museums, computing and media centres, and similar, represented by the respective director; and academic researchers who have completed their training, generally with a doctorate, and who work in Germany or at a German research institution abroad.

If the proposed project aims to develop a service, an information offering or a tool, the proposal should explain how financing and maintenance of the project results will be ensured after DFG funding expires.

For experimentally oriented projects, whose long-term prospects of successful broad-based implementation cannot be fully assessed until the project is completed, the question of how the project results can be maintained in the long term may be initially disregarded. In such cases, however, the proposal should set forth the criteria by which such an assessment can be performed in the future or the method by which the criteria for such an assessment will be developed in the course of the project.

All project results must be publicised to the academic community and made available free of charge for reuse by third parties.

Project Requirements

Proposed projects may relate to all aspects of production, dissemination, use, evaluation and impact of openly accessible research findings. They need not be limited to open access to and comprehensive reusability of traditional publications (such as journal articles and monographs). Rather, solutions for open access and reusability are also sought where research findings are presented in novel ways, for example by linking traditional publications with multimedia components or research data, or by preparing findings for computer-based analysis.

The proposal (in “Project Description”, under “2.2 Objectives”) must explain the potential of the intended project for transforming research communication into open access. Moreover, it must set forth in detail how the intended development differs from any comparable existing solutions and what constitutes the innovative element of the proposed project. It must also describe any risks that might hamper successful implementation of the project and how they will be handled.

Explain also (in “Project Description”, under “2.3 Work programme and proposed research methods”) whether or why the question of long-term sustainability of project results cannot be meaningfully assessed until the project has been completed, and what criteria for such an assessment will be developed in the course of the project.

Proposals may be submitted not only for publisher-independent initiatives but also for collaborative projects with publishers or other businesses functioning as service providers in the context of the project.

Type and Duration of Funding

For this funding opportunity, all possible modules in the Electronic Publications Programme may be submitted (see DFG form 12.11). Requested funding must be project-specific. Applicants are expected to make an appropriate financial contribution.

In a first-time proposal, funding may be requested for up to three years. A renewal proposal for up to three more years may be submitted only for the broad-based implementation of a pilot application that was developed in the first funding phase.

Deadlines and Proposal Submission

Proposals must be submitted no later than 31 October 2014 to the DFG Head Office, Scientific Library Services and Information Systems Division. If you plan to submit a proposal for this call, you are requested to notify the Head Office by 15 August 2014 in a non-binding letter of intent. In preparing your proposal, please follow the guidelines for the Electronic Publications Programme (DFG form 12.11) and the proposal preparation instructions (DFG form 12.01).

Further Information

The relevant forms can be found at:

Contact: