Logo: Open Access
Open Access logo by art designer at PLoS; http://plos.org - CC BY-SA 3.0

Open Access

The phrase “open access” refers to the removal of barriers to accessing scientific research results. Scholarly publications are thereby accessible to everyone worldwide, without the need to pay fees to read, copy, print, share or search the full text.

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Why Publish Open Access?

Open access publishing enhances the visibility of your research outputs. When you publish open access then you advance your discipline and reduce the time it takes for your work to create impact through assisting others to answer research questions or translate ideas into products, policy, etc. Open access furthers transparency and co-operation, facilitating interdisciplinary and networked research.

Open access improves information provision to scientists all around the world. At the same time, it allows ordinary citizens to build new perspectives and builds their trust in scientific endeavors.

Finally, you strengthen your author’s rights when you publish open access. Open access publications are copyright protected, however in contrast to the usual method of publishing you will retain the ability to use your own work and to define what use others may make of your work.

Additional archiving of your outputs in non-commercial repositories and collections improves the discoverability of your work and ensures long-term accessibility.

The Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities, dated 22 October 2003, has now been signed by more than 600 scientific organizations and institutions as well as by major research funding institutions worldwide.
 
Among the signatories are the Berlin universities, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, the Berlin Institute of Health and the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine.

The Berlin Senate passed the "Open Access Strategy for Berlin" in 2015, which sets goals including that by the year 2020, 60% of all articles from Berlin’s scientific institutions should be freely accessible to all.

How to Publish Open Access

Ever since the Budapest Open Access Initiative (2002), two options for open access publishing have been identified:

The gold route refers to the publication of an article in a pure open access journal, monograph or anthology through an open access publisher, so that the publication is immediately available worldwide, free of charge.
The costs for such publications will usually be paid by authors, through their employer or research sponsors.

The green route means depositing a publication to a freely accessible repository, after it has been previously published by a traditional publisher, in a publication where a charge or fee is paid by readers (sometimes called a paywall). Such secondary publication (self-archiving) is possible after expiry of an embargo period set by the publisher.
Since January 1, 2015, you can also exercise the new Zweitveröffentlichungsrecht (secondary publication right) in Germany, according to § 38 (4) UrhG, which came into force on 01.01.2014. According to this right, authors of scientific papers are allowed to re-publish their journal articles under certain conditions after one year, even if different terms have been agreed in the publishing agreement.

Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin Funds Open Access

The Charité is actively supporting open access publishing and has its own publication fund, created through the German Research Foundation (DFG) Open Access Publishing Programme.