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FAQ: Open Access Publication Funding

Frequently asked questions

Relationship of the "Open Access Publishing" funding programme to "Open Access Publication Funding"

Until when is it possible to submit proposals under the "Open Access Publishing" programme?

The programme will be discontinued at the end of 2020. No further proposals can be submitted under this programme. The programme's funding guidelines continue to apply to ongoing projects.

Can institutions that still have ongoing projects under the "Open Access Publishing" programme also use "Open Access Publication Funding" to submit proposals?

Yes that is possible, by deducting the DFG funds they still have available for golden open access publications in the corresponding period. In most cases this will only apply to 2022.


Is it permissible for non-university research institutions to submit proposals under the "Open Access Publication Funding” programme?

Yes, non-university research institutions can submit proposals. The head of the institute or the body with legal capacity should submit the proposals. A form (DFG form 12.201) can be used to delegate authority regarding the submission of proposals.

Does DFG funding only relate to publications in the context of DFG projects or can anyone apply to receive open access funds?

Each institution that incurs open access publication costs can submit proposals. Albeit funding needs in the second phase can only be calculated based on publications arising from DFG research funding.

Differentiation in the two programme phases

Why is there a differentiation between open access articles and open access books in the first phase?

All eligible open access articles by an institution's correspondence authors who are liable to pay a fee can be taken as a basis for the funding calculation in the first phase, but only open access books where the author or editor is employed at the institution and the content of which arises from DFG research funding. This differentiation was introduced because the financing responsibility by DFG for the publication costs of books can take effect earlier, as the origin of books is easier to determine. In addition, the "Publication Grants" programme still exists and can in future also be used to raise open access funds for books that do not arise from our funding.

Why can funding needs in the second phase only be calculated based on open access articles that arise from DFG funding?

The reason for this is that the second phase of funding aims to gravitate towards the principle of financial responsibility. So only articles that demonstrably arise from a DFG research project can be used to form the basis of a needs calculation. The set allowance per article increases to €1,400 to account for this.

Calculation of funding needs

Will the data basis for a needs analysis be standardised in some way or is it left to the proposer to develop suitable methods and explain them in the proposal?

The development of suitable methods is left to the proposer. The guidelines clearly regulate the basis on which the funding needs calculation is to be undertaken. Proposers must make and substantiate plausible assumptions regarding their needs in the proposed period.

Does a needs calculation exclusively cover the open access publications of affiliated correspondence authors or also their co-authors?

Only those open access publications by correspondence authors affiliated with the proposing institution are to be used as the basis, excluding publications that are not eligible for funding.

What is the set allowance that can be proposed per publication? Does it differ according to disciplines?

  • Proposals in the first phase can be made for €700 per eligible open access article and €5,000 per eligible open access book.

  • Proposals in the second phase can be made for €1,400 per eligible open access article and €5,000 per eligible open access book. The flat rate does not differ according to research sectors or disciplines.

How do you determine whether a transformative agreement is sufficiently "transformative" that resulting publications are eligible?

Please align your proposals to the agreements cited at ESAC and/or cOAlition S. The review session also determines whether agreements are considered to be eligible.

Must transformative agreements be concluded in Germany, i.e. must the institution be an explicit party, or is it sufficient if the publisher has a transformative agreement elsewhere?

The proposing institution must be party to a transformative agreement in the period for which the funds are requested or it can only propose funds for the period in which it is such a party.

Does this funding represent a departure from the ceiling of €2,000 per APC, which was envisaged in the "Open Access Publishing" programme?

No and yes. This ceiling applied to Open Access Gold and there was also an orientation towards this figure envisaged in the DFG "Open Access Transformative Agreements" announcement on publication costs in relation to hybrid journals. DFG considers adequate remuneration for the publishing service to be proper, and it has set the allowance at a maximum amount which it believes to be sufficient for a good, sustainable publication service. Albeit research institutions are now free to define their own ceilings for the gross APC and to provide co-funding at a level they deem necessary.

Is it possible to finance publications from the institutions' own publication infrastructures (e.g. OA journal, OA publisher) via funds from this programme?

Funds can also be used for this purpose if the publications of the institution's authors appear in these publication infrastructures and are quality assured in open access.

Eligible content

Can the institution's authors use the funds to publish preprints?

Yes, if there are costs associated with these preprints. Although it is only permissible to use DFG funds once per "aggregate state" of a publication, i.e. not for the preprint and the open access article.

What does quality assurance of the content mean in terms of this programme?

Quality assurance in terms of the programme is defined in such a way that scientific debate and its documentation must be assured before or after publication. This can take the form of community peer review or post publication peer review. Good research practice applies to all publications funded by the programme.

Are there particular funding guidelines for this programme?

Yes, the funding guidelines for the programme will be available in a special section of the Funding Guidelines (DFG form 2.00) from 2021.

Which funding purposes are definitely not possible?

  • Use of the funds for non-research articles
  • Publications in "mirror journals"
  • Fees for submission charges, page charges, colour charges, etc.
  • Use of the funds for opt-out articles, i.e. articles that do not ultimately appear in open access
  • Use of the funds for administration fees associated with publication

  • Externer LinkFurther information on "mirror journals"

Project-internal publication funds from DFG research funding

Can individual researchers propose open access funds to the DFG or is funding only arranged via institutions?

Only the institution’s management or a duly authorised individual can submit proposals under the Open Access Publication Funding programme. Individual researchers can however also use their project-internal publication funds from the research funding for open access purposes.

Must funds for open access publications in the context of DFG research projects be specifically submitted in the proposal for the DFG research project?

No, the proposal remains unaffected by this. "Project-internal publication funds" can still be proposed under general research funding.

Is it still possible to propose "project-internal publication funds" within DFG research projects?

Researchers can continue to directly propose "project-internal publication funds". The DFG does however recommend that researchers contact the central information units when open access publications are involved, so that double funding is avoided.

Does the funding of "open access publication costs" occur in addition to the grants for "project-related publication expenses" that are awarded directly to the researchers?

Yes, but the grantee must ensure there is no double funding of the same publication. "Project-related publication expenses” can however be used to co-finance open access publications.

What regulates the introduction of a funding acknowledgement for publications that arise from DFG funding?

The introduction of funding acknowledgements is regulated in the "General section" of the DFG Funding Guidelines (see DFG form 2.00, section 13). Each grantee (author) is individually responsible for this insertion. In the programme context, however, it may be appropriate for the proposing institution to draw its institutional authors' attention to this DFG requirement.