Open Access

The open access movement aims to make scientific research accessible to everyone worldwide: free of charge and free of technical and legal barriers. The University of Freiburg strongly recommends that its members publish their research in open access.

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What is open access?

One of the most well-known definitions of open access can be found in the Declaration of the Budapest Open Access Initiative (2002), an international initiative of individuals from all academic fields aiming to make the results of scientific research freely accessible to the public:

"The literature that should be freely accessible online is that which scholars give to the world without expectation of payment. [...] By 'open access' to this literature, we mean its free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited."

Types of open access

Gold and diamond open access

Primary publications in open access usually appear in dedicated open access journals or as open access books (so-called gold open access). For open access publications with commercial publishers, article or book processing charges (APCs/BPCs) may apply. The University of Freiburg operates a publication fund to support such publications.

In addition to fee-based publication outlets, there are also non-commercial services that are not subject to reading or publication-related costs for authors (diamond open access). At the University of Freiburg, this type of primary publication in open access is possible on the institutional repository FreiDok plus or the FreiJournals platform.

Hybrid open access

In addition to dedicated open access journals, whose entire content is freely accessible, many academic publishers offer so-called hybrid open access models: While still publishing in a subscription-based journal, authors can make their articles freely accessible online by paying an additional publication fee. Since the additional income generated in this way usually does not lead to a reduction in the subscription fee (so-called double dipping), following the guidelines of the German Research Foundation, these business models are only supported by the University of Freiburg if a contractual agreement has been made with the publishers to transform the journals to a strictly open access model (so-called transformative agreements).

Green open access

Under certain conditions, you as an author can also republish your work on disciplinary or institutional repositories such as FreiDok plus to improve its visibility and accessibility and to ensure long-term archiving (so-called green open access). Many academic publishers allow this type of self-archiving or secondary publication with a short delay after publication, even if during the publication process exclusive rights to use were transferred to the publisher. The Sherpa Romeo platform provides information on common regulations employed by individual publishers and journals for this case. In addition, it may also be possible for you to exercise the so-called secondary publication right ("Zweitveröffentlichungsrecht") as defined by the German Copyright Act (Urheberrechtsgesetz, UrhG).

[Translate to Englisch:] Wege des Open-Access-Publizierens (Grafik)
Advantages of open access publishing

There are various reasons why it is both attractive and advisable for researchers to publish their results in open access: 

  • The political reason: academic research is largely publicly funded. The results should therefore be publicly accessible.
  • To promote academic cooperation: open access publications can be accessed and reused by everyone worldwide free of charge and free of technical and legal barriers. This free and fast access accelerates the academic communication process and promotes international and interdisciplinary collaboration and networking between researchers.
  • To empower authors: publishing in open access increases the visibility and citation frequency of research findings. The rights of use to the publication remain with the authors, who are free to decide on the further dissemination and subsequent use of their work.

The following figure also illustrates the reasons for open access:

Figure: based on Helene Strauß, 10 Gründe für Open Access, 29.03.2021, DOI 10.5281/zenodo.7575092, CC BY 4.0 International

Further information
University of Freiburg