What is open access?

Open access refers to quality-assured scientific publications that are made freely accessible via the Internet. These publications are for readers free of charge and are permanently available to all interested persons worldwide. In this way, the visibility and reuse of scientific outputs can be increased. Open access publications can be journal articles, monographs or edited volumes.
The Open Access movement is based on the idea that publicly funded research should also be made publicly available. Leuphana supports the open access idea in the sense of the Berlin Declaration on “Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities” of 22 October 2003 and adopted its own Open Access Policy in 2014.

Open access publication practice is further developed by initiatives and projects (OA2020, DEAL) and are either required by some research funders (DFG) or are even mandatory (Horizon Europe).

Benefits of open access

Open access brings multiple benefits for authors, readers and the scientific discourse:

  • Supporting global information provision: People worldwide can access scientific information without financial barriers.
  • Improved and permanent discoverability: Open access publications are freely, easily and quickly accessible via reference services and search engines. Persistent identifiers (e.g. DOI) ensure that the publications are permanently accessible and citable.
  • Greater visibility and increased citation rates: The worldwide availability increases the visibility of publications, which leads to higher citation rates.
  • Authors retain their rights: Because of free licenses, the exploitation rights remain with the authors.
  • Enhanced interdisciplinary collaborations: Open access publications reach broader audiences. Thus, international and interdisciplinary research is strengthened.

Routes to open access

There are two main routes to open access: the so-called “Gold Road” and “Green Road”.

Gold Open Access

“Gold Open Access” refers to the practice of publishing in fully open access journals or in the case of books by open access publishers. These publications are accessible immediately and undergo peer review or editorial reviews. They are published under free licenses (e.g. Creative Commons), so the authors retain copyright and the content can be disseminated rapidly. The costs for these publications (so-called Article Processing Charges and Book Processing Charges) are usually covered by the authors or their institutions.
A related but criticized business model is so-called hybrid open access. Hybrid journals are subscription journals in which authors can optionally publish their articles open access against a publication fee. Because these hybrid journals receive subscription fees and open access fees, research institutions are paying twice for the same content (i.e. double dipping).

In order to support researchers in open access publishing, the University Library has established an Open Access Publication Fund and has signed up specific agreements with various publishers.

Some journals require an ORCID iD when submitting manuscripts. This identifier ensures that scientists are unambiguously linked to their research output, thus enabling precise citation analyses.

Green Open Access

“Green Open Access” refers to the practice where authors deposit a copy of their already published articles or books in an institutional or disciplinary open archive (= repository) making them freely accessible. Depending on the publisher, the submitted, accepted or original publisher's version may be published in repositories. Some publishers demand an embargo period (e.g. of 12 months) from the final publication date. Green open access could be an alternative for articles that have already been published behind a paywall, in order to make them freely accessible after a delay. In addition, repositories can also be used for already published genuine open access publications.
The prerequisite is that the publisher has only non-exclusive rights of use or that the author has reserved the right for parallel publishing. Authors should always read their publishing contract carefully to find out whether and under what conditions a particular publisher allows parallel publications.

Members of Leuphana can self-archive their publications (e.g. journal articles, books) via PubData.


Gesa Baron
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21335 Lüneburg
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Martin Bilz
Universitätsallee 1, CB.105
21335 Lüneburg
Fon +49.4131.677-1113