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Helmholtz Open Science Newsletter of February 11, 2021

Dear colleagues,

This is the 84th Helmholtz Open Science Newsletter brought to you by the Helmholtz Open Science Office.

For the first time – and from now on – the newsletter will also be published in English.

With this newsletter, we provide you with a regular overview of the most important open science developments. You can find the current newsletter and the newsletter archive on the Helmholtz Open Science Office website.

We appreciate you forwarding this newsletter to anyone interested.

Helmholtz is Key Actor in the German Reproducibility Network

On February 1, 2021 the German Reproducibility Network (GRN) has been launched. This peer-led cross-disciplinary consortium aims to increase the trustworthiness and transparency of scientific research in Germany. Among the eight founding members are the Helmholtz Incubator Initiative Helmholtz AI and the Helmholtz Open Science Office.

The GRN is open for further members and offers various ways to participate.

More information can be found via and

Revised Open Access Criteria

All employees of the Helmholtz Association are asked to make their publications available and reusable as open access publications. This concerns 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 provide open infrastructures and the option of covering potential open access publication fees. In December 2020, the working groups for library and information management (Arbeitskreise Bibliotheks- und Informationsmanagement) as well as open science (Arbeitskreis Open Science) thus revised the Kriterien für den Betrieb von Open-Access-Publikationsfonds und die Übernahme von Open-Access-Publikationsgebühren (i. e. criteria for the operation of open access publication funds and the coverage of open access publication fees). This revised document from 2020 replaces the document adopted in April 2016.

This document in particular contains recommendations for promoting open access, for the management of open access publication funds, and for the coverage of open access publication fees. The document specifically targets the Centers' administration and their libraries; however, the paper is also relevant for researchers at the Helmholtz Centers.

The revised document is available for download and online; an English translation is currently being drawn up and will be made available here shortly.

Open Access Monitor Germany – New Functions to Support Applications to the German Research Foundation (DFG)

The Open Access Monitor (OAM) offers additional filter functions to support applications for the new German Research Foundation (DFG) funding program "Open Access Publication Costs". The OAM displays the entire publication volume of German research institutions in scientific journals and thus enables – among other things – the estimation of necessary funding for future OA publishing (see Newsletter 82 and OAM project info).

The restructured filtering panel now provides additional functions:

  • Hybrid journals included in OA transformation contracts are listed in the "Transformation Contracts" area.
  • In the "Journal List" section, the "DFG Proposals" option provides a list of OA journals fed from the DOAJ and the Bielefeld Gold OA List. Mirror Journals are not included here.
  • The section on Project DEAL has been moved from the menu on the left to the new Transformation Contracts filter on the right.
  • Further filter options can be used to differentiate publishers and journals by closed/hybrid or golden open access.
  • Additional columns are now offered in the table view and in the download.

These and other innovations in the web application are regularly documented in the Release Notes, viewable in the OAM under the menu item "Documentation". Detailed instructions for evaluations regarding the DFG funding program are available here and in the Open Access Monitor itself. Helpdesk offers additional phone service

The Helpdesk of the BMBF-funded project (see Newsletter 81) will be offering additional telephone consultation hours from February 2021. On Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 to 4 p.m., urgent questions about open access can be answered directly by telephone. The telephone number +49 7531 88 33 66 provides access to experts in the field of OA who have many years of consulting experience. The helpdesk is primarily aimed at scientists and academics, who can here receive initial answers to their open access questions.

Outside of service hours, the Open Access Helpdesk can still be reached at The Helmholtz Open Science Office Office is involved as a project partner.

DeepGreen: Review and Outlook

Together with five other project partners, the Helmholtz Open Science Office has been involved in the DFG-funded DeepGreen project since the beginning of 2016. The project partners can look back on many positive developments and results of the project within open access transformation. Nationwide, 60 institutional open access repositories, some including integrated research information systems, and three subject-specific open access repositories, have been connected to DeepGreen's adaption of the Jisc Publication Router to receive scholarly publications automatically from, as of now, seven publishers. From the Helmholtz Association, the open access repositories of the Centers in Karlsruhe, Munich, and Potsdam have been connected. DeepGreen will transition to a pilot phase at the end of the project on February 28, 2021; the conditions of participation for the connected institutional repositories and subject repositories will remain unchanged.

In time for the upcoming transition, the DeepGreen team invites participants, interested parties, and people from the library management to a virtual kick-off event on March 2, 2021, to launch the future of DeepGreen. An extensive publication on licensing frameworks, requirements, and workflow recommendations, which was created in the DeepGreen project, can be found here.

RDA-DE 2021 Conference

The program and registration for this year's RDA Deutschland Tagung 2021 are open.

The RDA Deutschland Tagung 2021 is jointly organized by the Verein RDA DE and the Helmholtz Open Science Office. The conference will take place as an online event from February 22 to 26, 2021. Participation in the event is free of charge. The Research Data Alliance (RDA) aims to enable researchers and innovators to share data across technologies, disciplines, and regions in order to help tackle the great challenges faced by society. To this end, RDA is building the social and technical bridges that enable the open exchange and reuse of data.

FYI: The general meeting of RDA-Deutschland e.V. will take place February 24, 2021 at 5:00 p.m.; corresponding invitations to members of RDA DE will follow separately to members only. For two of the workshops an individual registration is required on top due to the limited number of participants; see program and registration.

Please note that most talks will be held in German.

Feel free to use the Twitter hashtag when discussing the conference: #RDAde2021

Review: PIDapalooza 2021

At the end of January 2021, the fifth (and first-time virtual) PIDapalooza took place, a festival for PID experts and enthusiasts (PID is short for persistent identifier). The Helmholtz Open Science Office was represented at the 24-hour event with its third-party funded projects ORCID DE and re3data COREF.

In the English-language session of re3data COREF "PIDs for research (data) repositories", the participants discussed how PIDs could be used to reference research (data) repositories while they enjoyed a delicious piece of cake and a nice cup of coffee or tea. Afterwards, the ORCID DE project invited all German-speaking participants to drink a smoothie together and take a look into the future of PID systems in Germany.

The slides have been published open access on Zenodo: PIDs for research (data) repositories and PIDs in Deutschland – Ein Future-Search-Ansatz. Recordings of the sessions can be found on YouTube: Session of re3data COREF and Session of ORCID DE.

Position Paper on Digital Services Now Available

In January 2021, the working group "Digital tools – software and services" of the priority initiative "Digital Information" of the Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany published the position paper „Digital services for science – where is the journey heading?“ (PDF).

The publication provides suggestions for the operation and use of digital services with which research data and research software can be organized. In a podcast by the Open Science Radio Uwe Konrad from the HZDR – Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf further explains the objective of the present paper.

Library Consortium and Thieme Sign Transformative Open Access Agreement

The Thieme Group has signed a new transformative agreement with an expandable library consortium that currently includes nine academic libraries. ZB MED – Information Centre for Life Sciences and the central library of Forschungszentrum Jülich negotiated on behalf of the consortium. The agreement is valid from January 1, 2021 and allows the nine participating institutions to publish open access in four international Thieme journals ("International Journal of Sports Medicine", "Pharmacopsychiatry", "Thrombosis and Haemostasis", and "Methods of Information in Medicine") at no additional cost for authors. A similar pilot project from 2019 had been limited to the journal "Hormone and Metabolic Research." This new contract is intended to foster the gradual transformation from the existing subscription model into open access.

First General Assembly of the EOSC Association: Including Three Helmholtz Centers and a German on the Board

On December 17, 2020, the first general assembly of the EOSC Association, founded in October 2020 by 4 organizations, took place. During the general assembly 183 new members were admitted. Only legal entities can join. Of the current 187 members, 14 have their headquarters in Germany. From the Helmholtz Association, the following three Centres have joined: DESY, Forschungszentrum Jülich and KIT. The statutes of the EOSC Association allow governments of countries in which at least one member of the EOSC Association has its headquarters to mandate this member. The mandated member thus has the role of serving as a mouthpiece for this government.

This provision has great significance because a double majority, that of the ordinary members and that of the mandated members, is required for important votes of the general assembly. The German Federal Government seeks to mandate the NFDI Association. Because the NFDI Association did not have legal capacity at the end of the application period for members to be admitted in December 2020, the DFG has been mandated for the time being. The general meeting has elected the president, Karel Luyben, and eight board members. One of these board members is Klaus Tochtermann, the head of the ZBW.

Wellcome Trust Implements Plan S

The Wellcome Trust, one of the largest private foundations funding medical research, has become a member of cOAlition S in 2018 (see Newsletter 71); cOAlition S brings together research funders with the goal of implementing open access to publications from funded research projects. The Wellcome Trust has changed its open access terms for funded projects under Plan S (see Newsletter 75). This blog post describes that, as of January 2021, journal articles on funded projects must be made open access immediately upon publication via the Europe PMC repository and must carry an open Creative Commons license (CC BY, or in exceptional cases CC BY-ND).

To meet this requirement, both the green and the golden path of open access are permitted. The Wellcome Trust recommends the use of the "Journal Checker Tool” (see Newsletter 83) to find out which options are available for publications in a particular journal.

OASPA journals: CC BY licenses as standard

The Creative Commons CC BY license is the standard for open access publications. The OASPA – Open Access Scholarly Publishing Association informs annually under which licenses its members publish freely accessible articles in their journals. The current statistic was published in December 2020; it clearly highlights the role of CC BY as a standard. Remarkably, this applies above all to journals that are entirely open access. In hybrid journals of OASPA members, the proportion of articles with a CC BY license is significantly lower than in their pure open access journals. Here, restrictive Creative Commons licenses limiting subsequent reuse are often employed which is to be evaluated as problematic (e.g. CC BY-NC). This practice deserves special attention, as hybrid journals are currently in particular focus due to publish-and-read contracts. When faced with the choice, researchers should always choose CC BY. Research funders should therefore consider tying the coverage of publication fees to the use of a CC BY license, should this practice not already have been implemented.

Journal “Science” Open for Green Open Access

The publisher AAAS of the renowned scientific journal "Science" has announced that from January 2021, quality-assured author manuscripts (postprints) for publications in "Science" and several of the publisher’s journals may be placed in a repository under an open licence (CC BY or CC BY-ND) in the green route of open access under certain conditions.

This change in the publisher's open access policy, initially during a one-year test phase, applies only to publications resulting from a research project funded under the terms of Plan S. "Science" thus fulfills a demand of the alliance of research funding organisations united in the cOAlition S for immediate open access to publications from funded projects. The cOAlition S welcomed the decision in a brief statement. By opening up to green open access in conjunction with an open licence, "Science" is thus taking a different path from the journal "Nature", which relies on gold open access – albeit at very high publication fees.

Further reading

Cohen, J., Katz, D. S., Barker, M., Hong, N. C., Haines, R., & Jay, C. (2021). The Four Pillars of Research Software Engineering. IEEE Software, 38(1), 97–105.

Implementing Effective Data Practices: Stakeholder Recommendations for Collaborative Research Support. (n.d.). Association of Research Libraries. Retrieved February 5, 2021, from

Katz, D. S., Chue Hong, N. P., Clark, T., Muench, A., Stall, S., Bouquin, D., Cannon, M., Edmunds, S., Faez, T., Feeney, P., Fenner, M., Friedman, M., Grenier, G., Harrison, M., Heber, J., Leary, A., MacCallum, C., Murray, H., Pastrana, E., … Yeston, J. (2021). Recognizing the value of software: a software citation guide. F1000Research, 9, 1257.

Open Science for the 21st Century. (n.d.). International Science Council. Retrieved February 5, 2021, from

Pampel, H., & Elger, K. (2021). 5.6 Publikation und Zitierung von digitalen Forschungsdaten. De Gruyter Saur.

Plomp, E. (2020). Going Digital: Persistent Identifiers for Research Samples, Resources and Instruments. Data Science Journal, 19(1), 46.

Taubert, N., Bruns, A., Lenke, C., & Stone, G. (2021). Waiving article processing charges for least developed countries: a keystone of a large-scale open access transformation. Insights, 34(1), 1.

Vohland, K., Land-Zandstra, A., Ceccaroni, L., Lemmens, R., Perelló, J., Ponti, M., Samson, R., & Wagenknecht, K. (2021). The Science of Citizen Science. Springer International Publishing.


The Helmholtz Open Science Newsletter is published by the Helmholtz Open Science Office.

Editorial staff: Dr. Christoph Bruch, Katja Faensen, Lea Maria Ferguson, Dr. Reinhard Messerschmidt, Heinz Pampel, Antonia C. Schrader, Dr. Paul Schultze-Motel, and Nina Weisweiler.


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