Jump to main navigation Skip to Content

DFG Logo: back to Homepage Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

banner: Kopfbereich DFG2020 Logo - englisch Because research matters

Open Access

To promote open access the DFG works closely with partners in Germany, Europe and the rest of the world. As part of the Digital Information Alliance Initiative, the DFG is supporting the introduction of an inalienable second publication right. Through organisations and networks such as Knowledge Exchange, Science Europe and the Global Research Council, the DFG is also working at European and international level to influence the transformation of academic publishing from a subscription-based to an open-access model. In spring 2016 the DFG signed the Expression of Interest of the OA2020 initiative.

DFG-funded authors can also take advantage of the publication allowances available through individual grants and coordinated programmes to pay the processing fees that may be required by open-access journals.

The DFG also offers funding programmes through which open-access infrastructures and services can be established.

Further Information

DFG Funding Programme Open Access Publishing - Report on Funding

The report "Open Access Publishing" contains extensive information from an empirical evaluation of the funding programme with which the DFG has been supporting the "golden road" of open access since 2010.

Towards a Roadmap for Open Access Monographs

Knowledge Exchange has published a new report on the subject of Open Access monographs: ‘Towards a Roadmap for Open Access Monographs’. The report contains recommendations that could potentially serve as the foundations for further developing the entire landscape for Open Access (OA) publication of scientific book forms. Somewhat overlooked in the past, Open Access monographs are now gaining in significance. National open science policies explicitly cite OA monographs as a means of achieving openness in the field of science and research. Plan S announces the development of separate proposals for this type of freely accessible publication.

To promote the integration of OA monographs in general OA policies, Knowledge Exchange 2017 and 2018 published a Landscape Study on Open Access and Monographs and the results of a Stakeholder Survey. Following on from this work, Knowledge Exchange invited experts and stakeholders from scientific libraries and universities, authors, publishers, representatives of the European Commission and other actors to a two-day international workshop. This report contains the results of the intensive discussions and brainstorming that took place on 8 and 9 November 2018.

It was presented at the Conference of European Research Libraries (LIBER 2019), where it won the Library Innovation Award.

Knowledge Exchange Preprints

As part of the European Knowledge Exchange initiative, the DFG has turned its attention to the subject of preprints. Preprints are versions of research articles that are typically made available on ‘preprint servers’ in online journals prior to peer review and publication. Although this publication method has been used since the 1990s in some scientific areas (e.g. physics, mathematics and IT with the arXiv server or economics with the RePEc server), recent years have witnessed a great increase in new preprint servers. Knowledge Exchange has focused on this second wave of preprint servers,

with the aim of obtaining an overview of preprints in digital science communication. Investigations were conducted into researchers’ use of preprints, the advantages of preprints and the incentives and barriers faced by researchers in the adoption and use of preprints. The investigations also encompassed the attitude of research institutions and funding organisations towards preprints, and examination of the strategies and objectives of suppliers of preprint services. Literature research was also carried out and some 40 interviews were held with the stakeholders referred to above. These interviews were subjected to a qualitative analysis.

The study shows that the major advantage of preprints is the early and quick dissemination of results. The ability to receive feedback and the openness of access were also cited as additional advantages. The challenges stated were the lack of quality control, linked to the risk of disseminating incorrect results through the media and the fear of rejection by prestigious journals of articles already posted as preprints. Trust also plays a major role in the extent to which preprints are accepted in a specific research community. Twitter makes an important contribution towards building this trust and in the dissemination of preprints. Finally, there is still the unresolved question of whether researchers or publishers are responsible for posting preprints over the long term.

More information on this subject can be found here:

DFG Statement: Establishment of "cOAlition S" to Promote Open Access

The DFG welcomes the coordinated collaboration between European funding organisations to bring Open Access to fruition. In line with its Open Access strategy, it highlights the role of the scientific community in the transition towards Open Access.

Directory of Open Access Journals

The DFG has long advocated for the development and sustainable operation of Open Access infrastructures. As a member of Knowledge Exchange, it has been involved in compiling the study "Putting down roots", which shed light on the significance and the precarious situation of international infrastructures. By providing direct support, the DFG has been contributing to the preservation and transparent expansion of the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) since June 2018. The DOAJ is an archiving tool for high-quality Open Access journals.

Knowledge Exchange: A defining overview on Open Access & academic books

Open Access is also advantageous for scientific disciplines for which the leading medium and central means of communication is the monograph.

An in-depth study is the first to examine the current situation in the area of Open Access monographs in eight European countries. It will present how monographs are currently regarded in Open Access policies and then look at which business models and publication platforms are available for this type of publication. Furthermore, specific topics which are highly relevant to the future design of this publication model, such as retrievability, citation and archiving, will be explored. Exemplary projects from the countries will be presented, such as the Language Science Press and the Heidelberg University Press, funded with start-up financing from the DFG; Heidelberg Studies on Transculturality also received funding.

One conclusion of the study is that the situation in the different countries is heterogeneous, both in regard to the publication cultures and the possibilities to transform this format into Open Access. At the same time, the diversity of national publication markets, the sources of financing and the needs of researchers must be taken into account, which is why there may be no uniform model for the transformation.

Different routes will be opened up, such as publishers, funding bodies, academic institutions and, most notably, scientific libraries, which can support the transition from monograph production to Open Access. It is very important that reliable, integrated and sustainable infrastructures for accessing and archiving Open Access monographs are provided in the changeover of the publication method for the benefit of research

Open Access Strategy of the BMBF

Statement of the Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany on the Open Access strategy of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

Open Access 2020

OA2020 – initiative for the large-scale transition to open access

Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities

The Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities dated 22 October 2003 is a milestone in the Open Access movement.


By publishing the MAK Collection in Open Access, the DFG is leading by example in the provision of free electronically available information.

Making Data Count

At the workshop on handling research data, international experts discussed and compiled recommendations for establishing data exchange within the context of Knowledge Exchange.

Science Europe: Open Access Publishing Policies in Science Europe Member Organisations

Key Results from Science Europe and Global Research Council Surveys - Survey Report

Science Europe: Shaping Open Access and Creating Transparency

Science Europe recommendation based on the appeal of the Alliance of German Science Organisations:

Science Europe Recommendation for the Disclosure of Publication Fees, "Shaping Open Access and Creating Transparency" (April 2017)

Knowledge Exchange: Workshop „Monitoring of Open Access, Publication and Cost Data“

Report from the Knowledge Exchange workshop on "Monitoring of Open Access, Publication and Cost Data", which took place in November 2016.

Knowledge Exchange: Study "Paying for Open Access"

The new Knowledge Exchange study examines the decision on Open Access and the administrative structures in the billing of Open Access article fees at universities in Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, Great Britain and the Netherlands. It focuses on motivations and experiences as well as on the wishes of libraries and the administrative processes of authors. The study as a whole as well as some experiences from a research perspective can be found here: