There are many reasons for publishing Open Access: the prices for campus-wide access to academic electronic journals are increasing permanently. This is causing orders to be cancelled and a deterioration in access to academic information. Access to published research results, which are created using taxpayers’ money and published in journals where subscriptions have to be paid, must be repurchased in an expensive manner by libraries, again using taxpayers’ money.
Publishing in Open Access, on the other hand, offers numerous benefits:
- rapid, global, free access
- improved supply of information
- greater visibility of publications and data and increased frequency of being quoted
- accelerated circulation and discussions of research results
- usage rights remain with the authors
Open Access may have already been able to establish itself in specialist disciplines such as the natural sciences, but not in others like the arts, for example, because of different publication cultures and reservations with regard to the shift from subscription to article fees. Research funders like the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the EU are increasingly demanding that the research results supported by them are published Open Access. The German Research Foundation (DFG) also supports Open Access.
Green Open Access covers academic articles, which appear in classic publishing house journals and, alongside this, are also published on freely accessible disciplinary or institutional publication servers. The technical term here is therefore “self-archiving”.
What is allowed? Self-archiving rights are settled in the publisher’s contract conditions and authors agree to them when submitting their scientific articles. Special additional agreements may be possible, for example, with the help of the SPARC Author Addendum or the Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine. The SHERPA/RoMEO-List indicates whether and in which form journals allow self-archiving. Depending on the respective rules, the manuscript version before or after the review (preprint / post-print) may be self-archived or even the article in its publishing house layout (version of record), possibly following an embargo period after its initial publication. Self-archiving is also possible according to Paragraph 4 of Section 38 of the Copyright Act in certain cases (cf. FAQ of the “Digital Information” initiative by the Alliance of Science Organizations in Germany).
If you have transferred the exclusive usage rights for earlier articles or contributions to anthologies to a publishing house or if you are not certain about any possible self-archiving of your publication, you can make an informal request to the publishing house in question about whether you may place a copy on a publication server. If necessary, our sample enquiry form may help you:
Availability via KOBRA: Members of the University of Kassel can make their journal articles available on the KOBRA publication server using Green Open Access. Academic texts like a thesis/dissertation submitted for a degree, conference and research reports, books, images and video documents etc. can also be stored as a secondary or primary publication. KOBRA documents academic works produced at the University of Kassel. The freely accessible documents can be found in general and academic search engines. Self-archived publications on KOBRA can also be found quickly and easily via Unpaywall. You can find detailed information about KOBRA in the FAQ.
Disciplinary repositories are also available for self-archiving and you can search for them in the Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR).
This involves the primary publication of academic articles in Open Access journals. However, monographs and anthologies can also appear as Open Access publications.
Quality assurance: Serious Open Access journals conduct a peer review just like subscription journals. Academics usually work as editors and reviewers without being paid. If this work is performed for Open Access journals instead of for expensive subscription journals, this further promotes their academic quality. Unfortunately, there are also fraudulent publishing houses (so-called “predatory publishers”), which only pretend to have conducted a peer review. Academics should definitely not publish anything with them, if only out of self-interest. If you have any doubts, we will be happy to advise you.
The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) lists international Open Access journals that meet certain quality standards. Serious publishing houses have joined forces in the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA). Further help for identifying trustworthy journals is provided by think - check - submit.
Funding: Open Access journals have various funding models. Many Open Access publishing houses charge article fees (so-called “article processing charges” or APC). The Publication Fund at the University Library pays these kinds of fees under certain conditions. The publication of articles in Open Access journals at the Wiley and Springer Nature publishing houses is free of charge for members of the University of Kassel as part of the DEAL Agreements.
There are also so-called hybrid journals in addition to purely Open Access journals, i.e. classic subscription journals, in which individual articles can be published Open Access in return for a fee. This model is controversial and is not supported by the fund at the University Library. But members of the University of Kassel can publish their articles Open Access in hybrid journals at Wiley and Springer Nature free of charge as part of the DEAL Agreements.
Other services: The kassel university press (kup) publishing house publishes quality-approved monographs Open Access so that they are freely accessible. It is also possible to opt for a print version, which is available at a book shop. You can publish your own Open Access journals via Open Journal Systems.
On 4 July 2018, the Senate extensively broadened the original Open Access policy at the University of Kassel dated 23 November 2005. It recommends publishing in quality-assured Open Access journals, encourages members of the University of Kassel to become involved in these kinds of journals as reviewers and publishers and support the transition from subscription journals to Open Access models. It advises members of the University of Kassel to not assign any exclusive usage rights to the publishing houses so that it is possible to have freely accessible self-archived versions on KOBRA. The precise wording is available on KOBRA.