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Open Access

Open Access stands for free access to scientific information on the Internet. Without technical, legal or financial obstacles, scientific findings should be accessible and reusable for all persons.

> Open Access in research

> Gold Open Access

> Green Open Access

> Publishing house memberships

> Lectures on Open Access at the HCU

> Frequently asked questions

> Advice


Open Access in research

Open Access stands for the free flow of scientific information on the internet.  Scientific information is supposed to be freely available, without any technical, legal, or financial barriers.

There is a trend towards Open Access. Many organisations support Open Access, e.g., the UNESCO or the German Alliance of Scientific Organisations (Allianz der Wissenschaftsorganisationen).

In Hamburg, there is a programme called Hamburg Open Science to support Open Access.

Open Access has many advantages for scientists. Numerous studies show that publications that are made available in Open Access are downloaded and cited more often than traditional publications which are behind paywalls. Open Access accelerates scientific communication. It makes international and interdisciplinary collaboration more easy. In addition, publishing your work in a repository will, in most cases, ensure long-term storage.

All the advantages and also the disadvantages of Open Access are discussed in detail on the platform open-access.net.

There are two ways to make your publication Open Access:

1. The Golden Way: publish your work in an Open Access Journal or in an Open Access publishing house. 

2. The Green Way: publish a pre- or post-print of your work via the internet (if it is legally allowed to do so).


Gold Open Access

You can publish your work on the repository of HCU  or in an Open Access journal or publishing house.

Do you want to publish on the HCU repository?

If you are a member of HCU, you can publish your work as Gold Open Access on the HCU repository. Further information: Forschungsergebnisse publizieren.

If you are a PhD student, you can publish your PhD on the HCU repository.
Further information: Dissertation publizieren.

If you are a student, you can publish your good Bachelor or Master thesis on the repository of HCU. 
Further information: Abschlussarbeit publizieren.

Alternatively, you can use other repositories for your publication. You find information on repositories in the Directory of Open Access Repositories.


Do you want to publish your work in a journal or publishing house?

Information on Open Access Journals is available in the Directory of Open Access Journals.
For books, there is the Directory of Open Access Books.

Information on Open Access publishing in different disciplines is available on the platform open-access.net

You will find a very helpful checklist for choosing a trustworthy journal on the website  think.check.submit

Even if you publish your work in a traditional publishing house, we recommend that you make sure that you still have the right to publish your work as a pre- or post-print on the HCU repository (as Green Open Access). The plaftform open-access.net gives some good advice on that.

In Gold Open Access, you might want to think about an Open Content Licence for your work. For scientific work, usually the CC-BY license is recommended. Further information on licenses: Creative Commons.


Green Open Access

You can profit from publishing a pre- or post-print via Green Open Access, even if you have published your article in closed access.

In some cases, you have the right to publish a post-print of your work in Open Access no matter what other agreements exist with a publishing house. This is called Zweitveröffentlichungsrecht.
Further information: FAQ Zweitveröffentlichungsrecht (in German).

Many publishing houses allow authors to publish a pre- or post-print in an institutional repository, sometimes after an embargo period. You can check your contract for this.
You can also ask the publishing house for the permission to publish your work as Green Open Access.
If you do not have your contract at hand, you can check the Sherpa-Romeo database for publisher copyright policies (but do make sure to verify this information with your publisher).

Once all legal issues are clarified, you can publish your work on the HCU repository as Green Open Access.


Publishing house memberships

The HCU has concluded special contracts with three publishers. These contracts allow HCU members to publish Open Access at reduced rates. The agreements allow HCU members to publish at reduced rates in pure OA journals (Gold Open Access) and/or to publish at reduced rates in traditional subscription journals (hybrid OA). Below you will find the conditions offered by the publishers MDPI, Sage and Wiley.


Since 15 September 2019, the HCU has been an institutional member of the open access publishing house MDPI (Multidisciplinary Publishing Institute).

Gold Open Access: HCU members receive a 10% discount on the article fees of all the publisher's OA journals. Invoicing is still done by the authors.

MDPI is an Open Access publisher based in Switzerland. The publishing house's programme includes a wide range of scientific journals, including the titles Sustainability, Energies and Water. There are also some journals in the humanities and social sciences.

More information about the journals of the publishing house MDPI can be found here.


The HCU participates in a consortium agreement with the publisher Sage, which also includes Open Access regulations.

Gold Open Access: HCU members can publish in original OA journals (e.g. Sage Open) at a 20% discount.

Hybrid Open Access (Sage Open Choice): HCU members can publish in journals from the Social Sciences and Humanities package without having to pay fees . Please contact the library team to clarify whether the journal you have chosen is part of the contract.

Green Open Access: The article version published in a traditional subscription journal can be republished on a publication server (e.g. repOS from HCU) after a so-called embargo period of one year.


The HCU signed the DEAL contract with the publisher Wiley in 2019. The contract runs in a pilot phase from 2019-2022.

HCU members will be able to publish in Wiley journals without having to pay publication fees themselves.

Gold Open Access: HCU members can publish in an original Open Access journal.

Hybrid Open Access: The online version of your article in a traditional subscription journal becomes Open Access. Wiley calls this "Online Open". The print version of the journal is still subject to a fee.

To publish Open Access under the conditions of the DEAL agreement, you must be a corresponding or submitting author and indicate this in the online submission process.

The contract also includes reading access to Wiley's full online journal portfolio. This is currently around 1700 journals plus archive rights to full texts published since 1997.

If you have any questions regarding publishing contracts, please contact the library.


Lectures on Open Access at the HCU

> Oktober 2020

Digitaler Workshop: Autorenrechte für Open Access
Wann: 20. Oktober 2020, 14.00 - 15 Uhr
Vortrag auf der HCU-Cloud
Link zur Mitschrift

> Februar 2020

Coffee Lecture: Wie finde ich ein gutes Open-Access-Journal? Wie hilft die HCU dabei?
Wann: 5. Februar 2020, 13.00 - 13.15 Uhr

> November 2019

Coffee Lecture: Warum Forschungsdaten teilen? Vorteile und Fallstricke von Open Data.
Wann: 12. November 19, 13.00 - 13.15 Uhr

> Oktober 2019

Workshop: Was ist Open Science und was bringt das für die wissenschaftliche Karriere?
Wann: 29. Oktober 19, 10.00 - 12.00 Uhr

> September 2019

Coffee Lecture: Was ist DEAL und was bedeutet der Vertrag mit Wiley für HCU-Mitglieder
Wann: 11. September 19, 13.00 -13.15 Uhr

> Juli 2019

Coffee Lecture: Mit einer ORCID ID selbstbestimmt den eigenen Forschungsoutput managen
Wann: 09. Juli 19, 13.00 -13.15 Uhr
Wo: Bibliothek, EG

> Juni 2019

Coffee Lecture: Forschungsleistung messen – Was können und was sollen Metriken?
Wann: 18. Juni 19, 13.00 -13.15 Uhr

> Mai 2019

Coffee Lecture: Was bringt die Nutzung von (akademischen) sozialen Netzwerken wie Twitter und ResearchGate?
Wann: 06. Mai 19, 13.00 -13.15 Uhr

> April 2019

Filmscreening:  „Paywall. The business of scholarship“
Wann: 10. April 19, ab 18.00 Uhr

> Februar 2019

Coffee Lecture: Lassen Sie sich nicht täuschen! Raubverleger und -konferenzen erkennen
Wann: 05. Februar 19, 13.00 -13.15 Uhr



How can I find out whether an Open Access Journal ensures good quality?

If you are unsure about a journals quality, you can use a simple checklist which you find on the website think.check.submit. This will help you in making an informed decision.

You can also check if the journal is on the whitelist Directory of Open Access Journals. The directory only includes journals that meet certain quality standards.

If you received a dubious email from a publisher, you can also forward it to us: openscience(at)hcu-hamburg.de

Another helpful tool for choosing a journal is the list of frequently cited Open Access Journals which was put together by the national contact point for Open Access in Germany.


I have to pay an article processing charge (APC) for my Open Access article. What is the procedure for paying it at HCU?

First of all, make sure that you have the funds to pay for the article. Second, you do not have to compare different journals, since you made the decision to publish in a specific journal for good reasons. For the HCU administration, the Beschaffungsabteilung, is is important that you do not pay the fee directly online. They need an invoice. The best way to proceed is to immediately file a "Beschaffungsantrag" once you  propose your article to the journal. The Beschaffungsabteilung will contact the publisher concerning the invoice. Should your article be rejected, there will of course be no invoice and no payment is due.


What do I have to consider when publishing a work in Green Open Access on a repository?

If you want to publish a work on an Open Access repository that has already been published in a publishing house, you have to check your contract with the publishing house. If your research project is publicly funded in Germany, you may (under certain conditions) have the right to publish your work on an Open Access repository after an embargo period of one yeear - no matter what your contract says. This is called Zweitveröffentlichungsrecht.
Further information: Zweitveröffentlichung.


Why should I apply a license to my Open Access publication?

A Creative Commons license makes the legal spreading of your work more easy. For scientific works, the license that is usually recommended is CC-BY. This license allows others to share and re-use your work, but they have to mention you as the author.
Further information: Creative Commons.


To what kind of works can I apply an open content license?

You can apply a Creative Commons license to your creative work, such as texts or videos (see above).

You may not be allowed to apply a license to a work that has been previously published in a publishing house in closed access, because the publishing house may possess a part of the publishing rights.

In the case of software or hardware, you have to look into Open Source licenses.


What is the ORCID ID?

The Open Researcher and Contributor ID, ORCID, is a persistent digital identifier which makes it possible to connect your person with your research activities -  without ambiguities.  ORCID solves the problem that many researchers have the same name by giving you a unique identifier. Registration for an ORCID takes only 30 seconds. After registration, you can add your scientific work to your ORCID, for example by importing the metadata from your publications from other databases.
Further information: ORCID.



Do you have questions concerning Open Access?
Please feel free to contact us:

Alexandra Jobmann
Phone: +49 (0) 40 42827-5362
e-mail: bibliotheksleitung(at)hcu-hamburg.de

We offer regular workshops concerning the topics Open Access and Open Science. Please feel free to contact us if you have suggestions for topics for workshops.


What do I need to know?

What do I have to follow?
Protection measures


The library offers advisory services, coffee lectures and workshops on this topic.

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