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Open access publishing

Open access refers to free access to scholarly literature. This means that scientific publications can be accessed digitally, free of charge, and publicly via the Internet, and can generally be read, copied, distributed, printed, searched, and otherwise reused without technical or legal barriers.

Why open access?

The most important argument for open access is the worldwide free access to mostly publicly funded research results. Open access therefore also means a substantial increase in readership, enabling increased visibility, and citation frequency. With open access, long-term availability is ensured through adequate digital archiving. Open access also generally ensures that the rights to publications remain with the authors. Open licenses, which are established in open access, ensure free content and thus better reusability, which further promotes research and the dissemination of knowledge.

Are there any disadvantages?

Not really. However, there are reservations about open access. Many of these reservations can be easily refuted; for example, there are no renowned open access journals (there are many highly regarded open access journals) or that open access publishing costs authors money (there are numerous free publication options as well as established funding opportunities for open access). In addition, a closer look at some reservations reveals that they have nothing directly to do with open access; for example, when open access (a question of access) is associated with quality deficiencies (a question of quality assurance). For a detailed look at reasons for and reservations about open access, see the links on the topic (below).

How do I publish open access?

You can publish a scientific article in purely open access journals (free of charge or for a fee) or in closed access journals with an open access option for individual articles (so-called hybrid journals, for a fee). And even for an article that is not published openly, you can use open access via a second publication.

For books, both monographs and edited volumes, many publishers now offer the option of open access publication. University presses (such as BerlinUP) and science-led publishers often offer this free of charge; conventional publishers usually charge a publication fee, although there are huge price differences on the market here.

Other types of publications such as research reports or discussion papers, can be published free of charge and can be openly accessible via so-called repositories.

Can I publish open access free of charge?

Yes, with the following options:

  • There are non-profit journals/publishers, such as BerlinUP that are funded by professional societies or institutions and do not charge publication fees to authors. Open access journals without publication fees can be searched in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).
  • A free way to make your article freely available is to pre-publish the manuscript as a preprint. Preprint servers specifically designed for this purpose can be used, but also most repositories.

An already published closed access article can be self-archived on a repository under certain conditions.

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