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.

Many organisations support open access, e.g., the UNESCO or the German Alliance of Scientific Organisations (Allianz der Wissenschaftsorganisationen).
In Hamburg, the Senate launched a cross-university program ("Hamburg Open Science" 2018 - 2020) to support the development of technical infrastructures and services that help Hamburg scientists to secure and visualize their research findings. One result is the Open Science portal.

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

HafenCity University Hamburg is supporting its researchers in publishing in Open Access through:

When publishing in Open Access, there are usually publication fees, "Article Processing Charges" (APC). Publish and read agreements enable a "corresponding author" of the participating university to publish Open Access in a publisher's subscription journals (hybrid Open Access). APC is covered by the agreement. Depending on the publisher, publication in an gold open access journal is also possible at no additional cost or for a reduced cost. University members can therefore publish in open access in the publishers' journals without worrying about paying publication fees themselves. These are generally covered by the agreement. For details on the coverage of costs, please check the overview by publisher.

In addition, a publish and read agreement includes access to the publisher's content that has not yet been published in open access. This significantly increases the range of information available.

HCU is participating to the following consortial agreements:

DEAL is an initiative of the Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany. Under the leadership of the German Rectors' Conference (Hochschulrektorenkonferenz - HRK), DEAL negotiates nationwide transformative  "Publish and Read" agreements with the largest commercial publishers of scholarly journals. Find out more about the goals, background and players on the DEAL Consortium website. HCU have agreements with the following publishers:

Publishing Open Access in more than 2,500 Elsevier journals
Access access rights to almost the entire Elsevier journal portfolio (as of 2023)
Cost Costs and payment processing are currently covered by the library. Please note that additional costs such as "color charges" or "pages charges" will be charged to the authors.

You can check the titles included here (journal titles as Excel file).

Publishing Open Access in more than 2,000 Springer Nature subscription journals
Access access to almost all journal content on the Springer Nature platform; The archive offers a complete connection to the existing national license for the Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2002.
Cost Costs and payment processing are currently covered by the library. Please note that additional costs such as "color charges" or "pages charges" will be charged to the authors.

Find out which titles are included: journal titles as Excel file

The current agreement ends on December 31, 2023. A new agreement was signed on November 24, 2023. The HCU's participation is currently under review.


Publishing Open Access in more than 1,400 Open Access subscription journals (Wiley "OnlineOpen" option) and over 230 Gold Open Access journals
Access Access to the entire Wiley journal portfolio. The acquisition of the Wiley journal archive has ensured additional long-term access rights.
Cost Costs and payment processing are currently covered by the library. Please note that additional costs such as "color charges" or "pages charges" will be charged to the authors.

You can check the titles included here (Journaltitles as Excel file).

The current agreement will end on December 31, 2023. A new agreement was signed on November 17, 2023. Participation is under review.



Publishing Open Access in all Taylor & Francis hybrid journals ("Open Select Journals")
Access Access to all titles in the journal collections Science & Technology and Social Science & Humanities
Cost Costs and payment processing are currently covered by the library for all hybrid journals. Additional service fees (e.g. color or page charges) are not charged by the publisher.

You can browse for journals on the publisher's website (List of Journals).


Publishing Open Access in approx. 910 subscription journals ("Sage Open Choice") and in approx. 180 Open Access journals. In addition, HCU members are eligible to submit their articles published in the licensed journals in the published version with a time embargo of one year to a repository of their choice (e.g. repOS) and make them available in Open Access.
Access Access to all titles in the Humanities and Social Sciences collection. There is also access to all Sage Journals Online Deep Backfile 1879-2021.
Cost Costs and payment processing are currently covered by the library for all hybrid journals in the Sciences and Humanities collection. HCU members can publish in the original Open Access journals ("Sage Open") with a 20% discount on the article fees. In this case, the corresponding author will be invoiced. The article published in a traditional subscription journal can be republished in the published version on a publication server (e.g. repOS from the HCU) after a so-called embargo period of one year.


On the publisher's platform you will find the title list for the Humanities and Social Sciences Package as well as the titles of the Gold Open Access Journals.



Cogitatio Press

The open access publisher Cogitatio Press currently publishes four journals, including Urban Planning and Politics and Governance. All journals are listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and are published under the CC-BY license. There are no publication costs for HCU members - payment of the Article Processing Charge (APC) is covered by the HCU's contract with Cogitatio Press. 


As of September 15, 2019, the University is an institutional member of the open access publisher MDPI (Multidisciplinary Publishing Institute). MDPI is an open access publisher based in Switzerland. The publisher has a wide range of natural science journals in its program, including the titles Sustainability, Energies and Water. There are also a number of journals in the humanities and social sciences. You can find more information on the journals published by MDPI here.

HCU members will receive a 10% discount on the article fees for all of the publisher's open access journals. Invoicing is still via the authors.

For the publication of your scientific publication use repOS, the Open Access publication server of HCU:

We offer events on the topics of Open Access and Open Science. Please contact us if you have any specific requests.

Do you have any questions about Open Access? Please feel free to contact us.

Alexandra Jobmann, Susanne Lehnard-Bruch
Phone: +49 (0) 40 42827-5362 or +49 (0) 40 42827-5683
E-Mail: bibliotheksleitung(at)


How do I find scientific journals or a publisher if I want to publish in open access?

Use the OA.finder search tool. Here you can search by publication type and find a lot of information, e.g. on publication costs.

The B!SON recommendation service suggests suitable Open Access journals based on title, abstract or references. It uses the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and supplements the results with information on funding opportunities at the HCU.


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.

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

The first thing you should do is make sure of two things: First, that you have the funds to pay for it. Second, that the journal you want to publish in is reputable. To do this, you can refer to the think.check.submit checklist (see above) or, if you are unsure, you can contact the library's Open Access advisory service.

For the payment of the publication fee, a check and approval by the purchasing department is necessary. Therefore, before submitting the paper, please fill out a demand form and send it signed to HCU Purchasing. In case of financing from third-party funds, the check of admissibility in the respective project will be initiated here via the third-party funds controlling. You will receive an approval by e-mail from HCU Purchasing on the basis of which you can submit the paper to the publisher. Where possible, please enter "HafenCity Universität Hamburg, Rechnungseingang, Henning-Voscherau-Platz 1, 20457 Hamburg" as the invoice address. Without prior approval of your requisition by HCU Purchasing, neither the invoice nor the expense reimbursement can be accepted by HCU. If the item is rejected, the requisition is void.

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: FAQ Zweitveröffentlichung (in German).

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.


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