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How does the DFG support open access in infrastructure funding?


The "Open Access Publication Funding” programme

The "Open Access Publication Funding” programme aims to subsidise the costs associated with open access publications. The long-term objective of the DFG is to contribute funds exclusively for subsidising open access publications resulting from research projects funded by the DFG. In the first funding period (2021-2023) however, institutions may apply for and use publication allowances based on their quality-assured open access publications output independently of DFG project funding. Only in the second funding period (2024-2027) should the calculation of the need for subsidies be based exclusively on open access articles which demonstrably result from DFG funding, even though the use of the granted funds is still flexible as in the first period. Funds may also be requested to publish books in open access providing that they result from DFG funding. Universities and non-university research institutions are eligible to submit proposals.

The "Infrastructures for Scholarly Publishing” programme

The funding programme “Infrastructures for Scholarly Publishing” aims to support the transition to open access through the establishment and development of suitable information infrastructures and the (further) development of structural conditions. The funding is focused on three thematic focus areas, namely:

  1. Structures for Transitioning to Open Access
  2. Open Access Infrastructures
  3. Digital Publishing

In the focus area “Structures for Transitioning to Open Access”, projects are funded which develop models and standardise transformative agreements and financial flows. In the focus area “Open Access Infrastructures”, funding focuses on establishing and developing quality-assured, nationally relevant publication platforms. In the focus area “Digital Publishing”, innovative techniques and procedures for scholarly publishing are developed, implemented and tested. Furthermore, projects are also funded that aim to launch or further develop an individual open access journal or to transition an individual journal to open access.

Discontinued programme “Licences for Digital Content”

As part of the “Licences for Digital Content” funding programme, until the end of 2020 the DFG supported libraries in implementing and testing new and innovative licensing models as well as approaches to bundle licensing activities in the acquisition of electronic media. An evaluation of the programme carried out between 2017 and 2019 revealed that the most important results of the funding were structural developments and standardisation. This was clearly shown for example in drawing up model agreements for the conclusion of national licences, in standardised specifications for workflows for processing contracts, or in efforts to collect comparable data on costs and the number of publications within institutions. The granting of money to fund licensing and publication costs as part of the programme thereby served as an incentive to initiate and strengthen the structural development of consortia and research institutions. In future, the DFG will fund the structural development directly as part of the “Infrastructures for Scholarly Publishing” programme in its focus area of “Structures for Transitioning to Open Access”.

The “Licences for Digital Content” programme was discontinued at the end of 2020 along with the accompanying call “Open Access Transformative Agreements”. A one-off renewal proposal with a maximum period of 36 months can be submitted for proposals which have been granted in this programme and call in 2020 or which were still receiving funding, providing that the maximum funding period has not yet been reached.

Discontinued programme “Open Access Publishing”

As part of the “Open Access Publishing” programme, until 2020 the DFG supported research universities in setting up publication funds to finance the costs associated with publishing articles in gold open access journals, providing that members of the university functioned as the “submitting authors” or “corresponding authors”.

For 2021 and 2022, the funding conditions of publication grants approved under this programme continue to apply. Funds awarded in this programme may only be used for pure gold open access journals. Article processing charges may not exceed €2,000 (including value added costs).

An evaluation of the programme carried out between 2017 and 2019 revealed that the most important aim of the programme had been achieved: the successful establishment of publication funds to finance open access publication fees of individual articles from gold open access journals. However, more recent developments, including the signing of open access transformative agreements and the increasing number of books published open access show that new methods are now needed to finance the costs of open access publishing. Funds are now required both for transformative agreements as well as for publishing in purely open access journals and other freely accessible formats. Therefore, the “Open Access Publishing” programme was discontinued at the end of 2020. Funding to subsidise the costs of open access publishing which takes account of the current requirements is possible in the new DFG programme “Open Access Publication Funding”.