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07/13/2021 | Podcast

"Open Access promotes scientific exchange"

Why is Open Access so important? What advantages does it bring? What pitfalls do scientists have to be aware of when publishing their articles? Dr. Tobias Pohlmann, staff member at Kassel University Library and Open Access Officer, answers these three questions for us in the podcast episode.

Dr. Tobias Pohlmann; Photo: University of Kassel.

The interview was conducted by Christine Graß.

For more information, see also the University Library's blog post:


Transcript of the podcast:

Dear listeners, in today's podcast episode, Dr. Tobias Pohlmann is our guest. He is an employee of the Kassel University Library and, among other things, an Open Access Officer. First of all, welcome from me!

Dr. Tobias Pohlmann: Thank you!


What makes Open Access so relevant for our scientists is the topic of this episode, and I'll now ask Mr. Pohlmann three questions about it: 1. Why is Open Access important?

Dr. Tobias Pohlmann: In terms of content, the majority of publications are in journals of a few large commercial publishers, and access to such journal content generates high and increasingly rising costs. The current system is not sustainable and cannot be financed in the long term, and science is becoming dependent on these major publishers, while the content and its quality control are actually provided by science free of charge. This model made sense in the print era, but it no longer makes sense in the digital age, and scientific communication should be as free as possible and without barriers and paywalls. Open access promotes precisely this kind of scientific exchange and also makes scientific research results accessible to the interested general public, which is ultimately the main source of funding for research.


My second question is: What are the benefits of open access?

Dr. Tobias Pohlmann: On the one hand, one's own research results that are published in open access are made freely accessible worldwide and thus find wider dissemination. It has been proven that they are also cited more frequently, which promotes and also accelerates scientific discourse. On the other hand, open access articles are usually published under a free license, so that authors can distribute their own texts as they wish and use them in other publications. This makes it possible for other scientists to do the same, so that the subsequent use of open access publications is considerably improved, and the more researchers publish open access articles, the easier it is for individual scientists to receive relevant research results in their own discipline.


And the last question is: What do I have to consider when publishing my paper?

Dr. Tobias Pohlmann: There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to Open Access, or rather pitfalls. In STM subjects, open access journals usually charge article fees for publications, and these can sometimes be very high. And if we now allow a price spiral here in the open access market that we have had up to now in the subscription market, then we will inevitably get the same problem here that we actually want to eliminate. That's why it's important to pay attention to journals that charge reasonable article fees, and when submitting research proposals, you should always request funding for open access publications, and if you don't have this available, you can use the university library's open access fund, which covers article fees of up to 2,000 euros gross.

It is also important to pay attention to the quality assurance of the open access journals, and not to produce with predatory publishers who only pretend to have a serious peer review and who are really only interested in charging an article fee and who publish everything there, regardless of the quality. So it would be important that the journals are listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals.

And one last note, the University of Kassel is a participant in the national deal agreements with the publishers Wiley and Springer Nature, and authors from the participating institutions, including the University of Kassel, can publish for free in open access with these publishers, not only in open access journals of these publishers, but also in their subscription journals. Unfortunately, not all scientists at the University of Kassel are aware of this yet, so that this option is sometimes unknowingly deselected and I would like to plead at this point that the Open Access option is always selected for articles published by Wiley and Springer Nature, because this is already paid for by the UB and there are no additional costs for the authors.

As a final remark, perhaps with particular relevance for the humanities and social sciences: From now on, we will also fund Open Access monographs on a pro-rata basis, provided that certain funding criteria are met.


Dear listeners, if you would like to learn more about Open Access, you can find a more detailed article on the University Library's block. You can find the link to it in the description below this video. Dear Mr. Pohlmann, thank you for your answers.

Dr. Tobias Pohlmann: Thank you very much for the interview!