What is Open Access?

Open Access (OA) stands for the free access to scientific information. The data can be viewed without restrictions on the internet and can be downloaded, read, printed or distributed freely. All the rights of the author to his contribution for the scientific process are maintained.
Scientific publications in open-access journals are published very fast and can therefore be found, distributed and cited quickly. The quality control is mostly of the same manner as in traditionally published journals.

What is so new about publishing Open Access?

The enormous increase in subscription prices of the established publishers have forced libraries to cancel many subscriptions in the past years. Open access shows an alternative way for scientists to publish their articles, whereby new ways of financing the publication fees are found. Many research organisations support this new path of free access to publicly financed scientific results: Berlin declaration of open access to scientific knowledge.

Which possibilities of publishing Open Access are there?

In the "golden road" scientific work is directly published in an open-access journal or by an open-access publisher. The costs which occur by publishing open access journals are covered via different models.
In the author-financed model the author pays the publication fees or article-processing charges directly. Another possibility is financing the fees via institutional memberships in some publication plattforms (such as BioMedCentral). Some journals do not require any fee. The Journal for Music and Performance (Act - Zeitschrift für Musik und Performance ) for example is published at the University of Bayreuth. Funding from the DFG could successfully be raised for this journal.
In the "green road" scientific work is published via a document server or an institutional repository. In case the work has already been published it is a so called parallel publication. Specific scientific document servers exist for certain scientific disciplines (such as arXiv, SSOAR, etc.). The University of Bayreuth provides a publication and document server called EPub Bayreuth where members of the University of Bayreuth can publish their work. Via this service it is also possible to publish series as open access (for examples see the Open Access series in EPub Bayreuth).

Predatory Open Access

Predatory open access is the attempt to exploit the business model of open access. Some publishers try to use the "golden road" of open access in order to gain money from the publishing fees without providing the editorial and publishing services of regular open access publishers. In recent years the number of these suspicious publishers has dramatically increased.
JahrNumber of publishers
Scientists are lured into publishing in mostly relatively new journals without giving information about the publication fees. If an article is submitted to these journals a transfer of copyright has sometimes already taken place. The scientist then receives a notice of the publication fee and maybe even additional requests. He then no longer has the possibility to publish his article elsewhere if he decides not to publish in this journal anymore. Some of these publishers are letter-box companies where the adress of the editor is not in the same country as the bankaccount where the fee is to be transfered to.
Complaints associated with predatory open-access publishing:
  • articles (even nonsens- and joke-articles) are quickly published with little or without any quality control.
  • information about publication fees is given after the article has been submitted.
  • aggressive recruiting of scientists (even using spam), to publish in the journal or act as an editor.
  • listing of scientists as editors without their consent and not deleting the names upon being asked to.
  • listing of totally fabricated scientists as editors.
  • copying the style and the name of well established journals for tricking scientists.
A list of these suspicious journals and publishers was maintained by the librarian Jeffrey Beall from the University of Colorado Denver. Unfortunately the list was taken offline in January 2017 due to "threats & politics". The cached versions from internet-archiving services are still available. The list was published online together with a row of criteria (cache of the WayBackMashine) with which scientists can discover if a journal or publisher is to be trusted and with which he evaluates phoney publishers.

The list has become known as the Beall's List of Predatory Publishers (cache of the WayBackMashine).
In addition there is the Beall's List of Predatory standalone Journals (cache of the WayBackMashine).

For his work and clarification he receives applause from representatives of the open-access movement as well as critique and threats from the enlisted publishers.
DFG Logo

The Open-Access Publishing Fund of the University of Bayreuth

The University of Bayreuth also promotes the ideals of open access (Open-Access-Strategy of the University of Bayreuth). As a support an open-access publishing fund has been established to cover article processing charges in open-access journals.
With the help of the library of the University of Bayreuth support for the publishing fund has been provided via the programme "Open Access Publizieren" from the "German Research Foundation (DFG)" which is supplemented by a co-funding.
The funding follows a specific distribution key between the faculties, which is based on the numbers of articles supported in the preceding year. Within one faculty the date of application for the funding is used for further distribution.
Members of other faculties can also apply for resources from not used funding. The distribution key is adopted regularly to changes in the funding needed.

How can I apply for funding by the Open-Access Publishing Fund?

Your article should meet the following needs:
  • the article is published in a genuine open-access journal which uses an approved quality control. References can be found at the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).
  • as a member of the University of Bayreuth you are responsible for the payment of the publication fees as "submitting author" or "corresponding author".
  • the publication fees should not exceed a maximum of 2.000 Euro per article.
Application for funding is possible as soon as the article is submitted to the open-access journal. A notification to the open-access commissioner Clemens Engelhardt (University Library) is sufficient.
When applying for funding the following information is needed:
  • name and contact data
  • title of the article
  • title of the journal
  • expected date of publication
  • expected costs
After successful application the funding for the publication is reserved for you and will be assigned after the article has been accepted by the open-access journal. We need the original invoice. If the publisher is from abroad please let the invoice be given to you zero-rated for VAT (without value added tax) as the tax is being paid from us directly. It is necessary that the VAT-ID is mentioned to the publisher and that it is enlisted on the invoice.
The VAT-ID is: DE 811264317.
Each article should include a reference about the funding via the DFG-programme "Open-Access-Publizieren", e.g. "This publication was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the University of Bayreuth in the funding programme Open Access Publishing".
For application and further questions on Open Access please contact

Clemens Engelhardt Tel. 0921/55-3429 Clemens.Engelhardt@ub.uni-bayreuth.de

More information about the open-access movement can be found at the
informationplattform Open Access.net

A comic about "What is Open Access?" from phdcomics.com.