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Open Access Policy

This policy was adopted by the Assembly of Members of the Helmholtz Association on 7 April 2016.

Open Access Policy of the Helmholtz Association, 2016

Publications by employees

In their endeavour to make results of their work publicly accessible for sharing with science, industry and society without any barriers, the Helmholtz Centres are asking their employees to make those publications accessible and open for sharing that they have authored alone or collectively with others as a result of their work for the Helmholtz Association.

For the implementation of this policy, employees ensure that

  • (a) as soon as possible and at latest on publication, the peer-reviewed, accepted manuscript („final draft“) or, after publication, an electronic copy of the publisher's version is deposited in a repository (freely accessible archive),
  • (b) this deposited publication is – via a repository – openly accessible
    • (i) on publication, if an electronic version is available for free via the publisher (Gold Open Access article) or
    • (ii) within 6 months (12 months in the humanities and social sciences) after publication of the original (Green Open Access article),
    • (iii) for monographs within 12 months (24  months in the humanities and social sciences) after publication of the original (Green Open Access book)
  • (c) the bibliographic metadata identify the deposited publication.1

In addition, employees must aim to make the research data underlying the publication accessible and open for sharing.

The directors of the Helmholtz Centres ensure that there are appropriate incentives, monitoring, and controlling.

In-house publications

Whenever possible, in-house publications (published with or without commercial publishers) are made accessible in the repository of the centre with the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY).

Programme-oriented funding

This policy will also be implemented in „Programme-oriented funding“.


The Helmholtz Association would like to quantify its efforts in order to make them verifiable. It establishes the objective that by the qualifying date 31 December 2020 at least 60 % of the publications from the previous year falling under this policy will be available in open access. Measured quantity for this objective is the number of entries with full text in the repositories of the Helmholtz Centres or in other appropriate repositories in relation to the overall number of entries in the repositories / publication databases of the Helmholtz Centres for the year of publication. The target rate is increasing by another 10 % for every subsequent year of publication until the target value of 100 % from the year 2025 on.

The Open Science Working Group of the Helmholtz Association has been assigned to formulate recommendations for the operation of repositories and criteria for the mangement of publication charges (Gold Open Access). Assisted by the Helmholtz Open Science Coordination Office, it reports back to the President every year on the implementation of this policy.

Final clause

If individual provisions of this policy should be invalid or unfeasible or should become invalid or unfeasible after the policy comes into effect, the finality of the policy will be unaffected in all other respects.


A list of repositories of the Helmholtz Centers is available under Open Access Green. For publications in open access journals, it is recommended to adhere to the Criteria for the Operation of Open Access Publication Funds and the Payment of Open Access Publication Fees (current as of December 2020). 


1 Where appropriate, the bibliographic metadata should include information on the associated project or should allow interoperation with a current research information system (CRIS), respectively.


For general questions, the Helmholtz Open Science Coordination Office will be happy to assist you: open-science@helmholtz.de 

For questions on specific implementation at a Helmholtz Centre, please contact your open access contact person.

Current as of May 2016