Criteria for the Operation of Open Access Publication Funds and the Payment of Open Access Publication Fees

Unofficial translation: This English version is not binding and for convenience only. The German version is authoritative. The German version can be found here.  

All employees of the Helmholtz Association are required to make their publications available and reusable as open access publications. This applies to publications arising from their work for Helmholtz and whether or not these publications were created individually or collaboratively with other researchers. For this purpose, the Helmholtz Centers for instance provide open infrastructures and the option of covering potential open access publication fees.

With this document, the Working Group on Library and Information Management (Arbeitskreis Bibliotheks- und Informationsmanagement) as well as the Working Group on Open Science (Arbeitskreis Open Science) provide recommendations for the Centers on how to design their implementation of these criteria for operating open access publication funds and covering open access publication fees. This document specifically targets the Centers' administration and their libraries; however, the document is also relevant for researchers at the Helmholtz Centers.They are informed about which criteria for the funding of open access publication fees should be established across the Helmholtz Association.


These criteria were developed by the joint Task Group Open Access Transformation  (Task Group Open-Access-Transformation) of the Working Group on Library and Information Management (Arbeitskreis Bibliotheks- und Informationsmanagement) and the Working Group on Open Science (Arbeitskreis Open Science), in cooperation with the Helmholtz Open Science Office. These criteria were adopted by the two working groups in December 2020. The revised document from 2020 replaces
the document adopted in April 2016.

Recommendations for Promoting Open Access

  • Mechanisms for covering open access publication fees should be designed to be easy to understand.
  • The Centers should operate or, if necessary, establish open access publication funds to advance open access publishing.
  • Fixed contact persons should be designated for the publication fund.
  • The Centers should promote self-publishing activities for gold open access publishing1 (e.g. in the form of an open access publisher or an open access repository). This funding should be strategically aligned with the publication funds.
  • The Creative Commons license “Attribution” (CC BY 4.0) should be adopted as a standard.
  • It is recommended that the Centers promote alternative open access publication platforms and projects (such as Diamond Open Access2 or Subscribe to Open).

Recommendations for the Management of Open Access Publication Funds

  • The libraries should be responsible for and administer the respective open access publication funds.
  • The open access publication funds are to be equipped in such a way that all incurring open access publication fees can be financed from them, taking into account the specific regulations within the respective Center if applicable.
  • The rules for the open access publication funds should be applied even if payments to publishers, e.g. publication fees, are covered from other budgets of the respective Center.

Recommendations for the Coverage of Open Access Publication Fees

  • The coverage of open access publication fees should be possible for all publication types.
  • The coverage of publication costs from the publication fund should be linked to the following conditions:
    • The use of third-party funds has been examined in advance and, if available, these funds have been used.
    • The corresponding author is based at the Center (mention of affiliation).
    • The publications are published under the Creative Commons license “Attribution” (CC BY 4.0).
    • The publication’s quality is guaranteed by quality assurance mechanisms recognized in the respective discipline.
      • Articles should be published in journals listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). Additionally, it is recommended that the respective publisher's membership in the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) is considered.
      • Monographs should meet the quality standards for open access monographs and anthologies3 of the Working Group of University Publishers (AG Universitätsverlage).
    • The amount of the respective publication fee should be appropriate. In line with previous recommendations, a cap at EUR 2000 for articles remains the target. It is recommended that the Centers define subject and center-specific caps for publication fees, including monographs.
  • The coverage of publication costs from the publication fund is not recommended for publications in hybrid journals outside of “Publish and Read” contracts.

Further Recommendation

  • The following further recommendation should be taken into consideration if possible: Publications should be published in a machine-readable form in addition to the PDF version, ideally in XML using the Journal Article Tag Suite (JATS) or the Book Interchange Tag Suite (BITS).

Please note that the document is currently only available in German.

Diamond Open Access describes the institutional funding of Open Access publication. The goal is to burden neither authors nor readers with publication costs.

Please note that the document is currently only available in German.