Open Access at HZB

Here you find a summary of what you may want to know about Open Access to publications by HZB authors. More general information about Open Access can be found elsewhere

Are publications by HZB authors freely accessible?

They should be since about 2006 when it had been determined that all publications by HZB authors should be put on the institute's repository, licence regulations permitting. HZB has adopted here, like all institutes of the Helmholtz Association, the Green Way to Open Access, through secondary publications on the institute's server after publication in one of the customary journals.

Unfortunately, in the 1st year after adopting this Open Access policy only about 15% of publications could be made publicly accessible and the rate of openly accessible publications by HZB authors continues to be low.

Surely the commercial publishing houses play the role of the bad guy here?

No, not true. There is only a very small number of publishers whose licence conditions exclude any secondary publication on an publicly accessible server. Most publishers allow this if certain restrictions are adhered to.

Must authors become now experts in copyright law?

Not experts really but they should read and understand the yeast of what they do when they sign the copyright sheet. The library is the one which will check on the copyright situation. Isn't this nice? The authors have to do one thing though: keep a copy of the signed copyright sheet and let the library have it if the necessity should arise.

Why all that fussing about copyrights when archive server operate just like that?

Archive servers like the Los Alamos server have been innovative substitutes to the tedious anchient process of sending preprints around. Some communities use it, some less so. But once a paper has been accepted by a journal and the copyright sheet has been signed such copyright holds for all use of the paper.

Should not the copyright conditions of major publishers be known?

They sure change with time but for a given time they can be looked up. There is a problem rather for conference papers which are published not in a journal issue so that the copyright situation is all but clear. Here Open Access would be particularly desirable as conference proceedings are usually less easily found in your library - and they make up for about half of publications from HZB.

Why should I do more than just give copies of my paper to the library as I always do in the PASTA process?

The print copies of your paper which you let the library have are not really suited to be put on a server.

Ah, don't be funny. I can let the library have an electronic copy of my paper.

Nice try but usually not the solution. The copy that you let the library have is supposed to show the paper as it looks in the actual publication. But the version on the institute's repository often has to be put together by the authors, i.e. it must not be the publisher's version.

So the published paper and the Open Access paper are different papers?

They usually look different but the content is and needs to be identical.

Sometimes authors change something in the paper proofs. What then?

If you change something manually and hence do not have a final authors' copy in electronic form then we cannot have access to an authors' copy. It is as simple as that. This will happen not that often. If you still want to support Open Access you may consider changing your authors' copy according to your manual changes. It is up to you.

 This all sounds complicated, can't it be a lot easier?

Well, timewise there is little that we can improve on. Take 2 minutes for taking a copy of the copyright statement, add 5 minutes for sending it to the library, add another 5 minutes for sending the authors' pdf file to the library on the day of publication. The cost in time of Open Access is 12 minutes per article. How many minutes does it take you to write an article?

Will there be the Golden Way at HZB?

The Golden Way in Open Access means submission to Journals which are Open Access to start with. There exist such journals even as we speak, e.g. the New Journal of Physics, among which many are highly respected journals particularly in high-energy physics and the earth sciences. But most authors from other fields prefer to publish in traditional journals with their still high impact - as long as most authors prefer to publish there...

Will publishing in Open Access journals be really free?

 High quality publishing cannot be free. While access is free the journal must be supported in other ways, by page charges or be re-directing subscription money to direct support of the journal.

Some journals offer Open Access to articles at a high price. What about that?

The problem here is that you pay extra for the article to make it Open Access but you still pay for the subscription. In a way this is like double paying.

How much could a publication in an Open Access journal be?

At present estimates differ wildly, between 300 Euro and twice or three times this amount.

Would the change to Open Access journals be complete and would HZB put all its money which is now spent for subscriptions into page charges then a single publication could cost some 800 Euro, no money saved nor wasted.

Publications according to the Golden Way cannot be free. But access to publications should be less costly as the costs of marketing in the present system would be absent or minimal, not to speak of the gain of high-profit commercial companies.

So saving money is not the key in Open Access?

The key in Open Access is the free access to publications from publicly funded research and the furthering of the research process which is inherent in free access.

Money is always a factor in research particularly if you don't have any to buy your access to publications. Saving money for those who have it is not the central issue here but can be a pleasant by-product.