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How does the DFG support researchers to publish in open access?

Open access policy

In January 2006, the DFG's Joint Committee adopted a set of guidelines for publishing results from DFG-funded projects in open access, which was updated in 2019. It is not compulsory for results from DFG-funded projects to be published in open access, though the general guidelines for use include a request to publish open access (see DFG form 2.00 - 1/21).

“The results of projects financed by DFG funding should be made available to the public. […] The recipients of DFG grants are hereby requested to publish their project results for the purpose of scholarly communication in open access. The corresponding articles should either be published directly in quality-assured or recognised open access journals or open access platforms, or in addition to commercial publication be included in subject-specific or institutional electronic archives (repositories) without delay.”

Support for open access publications

Project-related publication expenses can be applied for as part of the proposal to carry out a research project. In the case of individual grants, for example, the DFG makes available publication expenses up to €750 of DFG funding per year. These funds can be used to pay the fees for publishing open access journal articles or open access monographs. If the fees for an open access publication exceed the approved publication allowance, it is possible to increase the publication allowance by reducing the staff funding or allowance for direct project costs within the same grant.

These funds however should not be used without consulting the local (university) library. This is particularly important if the institution provides open access funding through the “Open Access Publication Funding” programme and the duplicate funding of publications must be avoided. In most cases this can easily be clarified by getting in touch with the library at a research institution, since the library also manages contracts relating to open access publishing that might cover the relevant costs.

The DFG does not accept any proposals from researchers who ask for funding exclusively for individual open access publications, unless the funding is requested under the “Publication Grants” programme. The open access officers at academic institutions can also give advice about additional funding opportunities for open access publications.

The “Publication Grants” Programme

Publication grants support the publication of scientific and scholarly works in print or digital form. Publication grants can only be awarded for

  • works in which basic material is made available for further research (such as editions of primary texts and manuscript material) and
  • works of exceptional scientific importance, which constitute the first publication of outstanding results.

A publication grant can only be used to fund electronic book publications and open access books. The decision not to publish Open Access requires justification, as does the production of a print edition. In addition, it is possible to request funding to cover proof-reading costs. In the case of a purely electronic publication, details must be provided of how long-term availability will be ensured.

Individual researchers whose book publications do not result from DFG research funding are eligible to apply.

Forms and Guidelines: