Open Access

The Helmholtz Association was one of the initial signatories of the „Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities“ in 2003. This document constitutes the basis for the open science activities of the Helmholtz Association.

For ​​open access, one of the Helmholtz Open Science Office's key endeavours is the promotion of the transformation from subscription-based access to open access.

The Helmholtz Association operates a distributed repository infrastructure that the Centers maintain as part of their publication management to promote open access (e.g., by making accessible self-archived publications and original open access publications). To promote open access, the Centers have entered consortium agreements with publishers pertaining to aspects of Open Access publication fees.

The Helmholtz Association also participates in international consortia such as SCOAP3. Helmholtz centers also publish their own publications and operate their own open access publishers. Furthermore, the Helmholtz Association is a partner in the internationally recognized DEAL project of the Alliance of German Science Organizations and supports the international OA2020 initiative to promote the Open Access transformation.

The open access quota of the Helmholtz Centers is analyzed annually by the Helmholtz Open Science Office and figures in Helmholtz-internal key figures; for the publication year of 2019 the open access quota measured 67 % across Helmholtz.

The following guidelines form the policy framework for the implementation of open access in the Helmholtz Association:

This commitment towards open access was then formally approved by its Assembly of Members in 2004 with the decision on the implementation of the „Berlin Declaration“. 

Decision on the Implementation of the “Berlin Declaration”, 2004 

By approval of its Assembly of Members (assembly of the directors of the Helmholtz Centres) in 2004, the Helmholtz Association was the first science organisation in Germany to adopt an open access policy: „Publications from the Helmholtz Association shall in future, without exception, be available free of charge, as far as no conflicting agreement with publishers or others exists.“

Open Access Policy of the Initiative and Networking Fund, 2013

Since 2013, beneficiaries of funding from the Initiative and Networking Fund of the Helmholtz Association are required to make publications originating from funded projects freely available. The Initiative and Networking Fund is one of the central funding schemes of the Helmholtz Association. Further information...

Open Access Policy of the Helmholtz Association, 2016

In 2016, the Assembly of Members specified the open access policy in concrete terms, offering a framework of action to the Helmholtz Centres for a coordinated transformation towards open access. Further information...

Implementation of Open Access in the Helmholtz Association 

Open Access is implemented in the form of “Open Access Green” and “Open Access Gold”. Both of these strategies are pursued equally in the Helmholtz Association. The Helmholtz Centers actively promote a variety of projects furthering Open Access on a national and international level. For example, the national Open Access Monitor is operated at Forschungszentrum Jülich.

The advancement of Open Access is also supported through the collaboration of the Helmholtz Open Science Office in third-party funded projects such as e. g., or in the Priority Initiative “Digital Information” of the Alliance of German Science Organizations.