The Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW), Mannheim, has taken a clear stance for greater transparency and openness with its new Open Access strategy. Open Access involves making research publications freely available online. With its new strategy, ZEW joins the national and international efforts, specifically the Leibniz Association’s Open Access Guidelines, aimed at making scientific knowledge available to all without any technical, legal or financial barriers.

Open Access involves making research publications freely available online.
Open Access involves making research publications freely available online.

To mark International Open Access Week, numerous institutions have been providing their research staff with information on issues surrounding Open Access, including the legal implications, current national strategies and EU targets.

The move towards greater Open Access in Germany is currently being driven by Project DEAL. The goal of Project DEAL is for research institutions, represented by the German Rectors’ Conference, to negotiate nationwide licensing agreements for the entire electronic journal portfolios from major academic publishers. “One of the principal goals of these negotiations is to have all publications by German authors available via Open Access soon after publication,” explains Elena Di Rosa, information and knowledge manager at ZEW.

In support of these negotiations, ZEW cancelled its subscription to the publisher Elsevier back in July of this year. “Project DEAL promotes the idea of the ‘golden road’ of Open Access publishing, which envisions articles being made openly accessible immediately on publication,” says Di Rosa.

More options for future use, wider circulation

As well as promoting this “golden road”, ZEW’s new Open Access strategy also advocates the “green road” of Open Access publishing. As of 2014, scientific authors in Germany have the right to publish a citable post-print version of their works online a year after initial publication. ZEW’s new Open Access strategy therefore also largely serves to allow researchers at the institute to take advantage of this new right. Researchers will receive practical support in this endeavour from ZEW’s own Information and Knowledge Management area. As well as the Discussion Papers, which have been made freely available since the institute’s founding, a simple workflow for the publishing of post-print versions will be established. ZEW’s own publications will, as far as is legally possible, be published under a Creative Commons Licence to widen the possibilities of future use and increase circulation.

Dr. Holger Stichnoth, acting head of the ZEW Research Group “International Distribution and Redistribution”, has been appointed as ZEW’s Open Access Representative. “In the field of economics, pre-print versions of papers are made freely available as Discussion Papers, but beyond that Open Access is largely unheard of. There needs to be a discussion on this issue in order to remove existing fears and doubts, and to present the arguments in favour of Open Access.”

For further information please contact:

Elena Di Rosa, Phone +49 (0)621/1235-137, E-mail

Dr Holger Stichnoth, Phone +49 (0)621/1235-362, E-mail


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