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German German          

Open Access and the Max Planck Society

As laid down in the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities the Max Planck Society:

  • advocates the publication of scientific and scholarly works in journals which are dedicated to open access.
  • promotes the recognition of open access contributions in promotion and tenure evaluation.
  • encourages the self-archiving of research results of the MPS in institutional or disciplinary open archives.
  • aims at copyright agreements of authors with publishers on the basis of open access and will further pay attention on the clarification of the legal framework for open access.

The MPS will provide the necessary funds and investment in the realms of possibility for open access in its own organization. It will encourage the development of an action plan/roadmap for the realization of the principles of the Berlin Declaration also on a national and European level.

To realize open access to scientific results the MPS will pursue two roads:

Road 1 - Publication in Open Access Journals
Road 2 - Institutional Self-Archiving on the eDoc Server

Road 1: Open Access Journals

The MPS will encourage its scientists to publish in open access journals and is supporting the idea of rather paying a processing charge at the beginning of the publication process if then the research is freely accessible worldwide. This way, instead of paying for high-priced subscription based journals which only offer limited access because of a restricted number of subscribers, visibility and impact will be maximized.
For more on open access and impact see: Open Access and research impact

A rising number of journals is following the open access principles, most notably the Public Library of Science and BioMedCentral; Scholars who wish to publish their research following the open access principles should check whether there is a journal available for their subject (see Directory of Open Access Journals)
As a first major commitment the MPS has signed an institutional membership at BioMedCentral which levies the individual processing charge and allows the Max Planck researchers to publish an unlimited number of articles in one of the 80+ online journals. All MPS researchers working in the life sciences and medical field are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity. More information on the institutional membership [PDF].

Road 2: Institutional self-archiving of research output on the eDoc server

The MPS strongly encourages institutional or discipline-specific self-archiving of research publications - meaning uploading (desirably) the peer-reviewed version of the manuscript on a publicly accessible server, such as eDoc (institutional) or arXiv.org (specific for physics and partly computer science and mathematics). Currently, about half of the journal publishers are allowing to self-archive either a preprint (article or version of a document before it is refereed and published in a renowned journal) or postprint version (article or version of a document after review and publication in a renowned journal) of an article or both. (This number is based on the RoMEO Study). Up to date information on publishers' policies is available via the website of SHERPA Publisher copyright policies & self-archiving. MPS institutes and researchers are encouraged to disseminate their pre- or postprint papers via eDoc and are asked to indicate the external publication status (submitted, in press / accepted, published, unpublished) of the document.

Self-Archiving of research papers is probably the faster of the two roads towards open access, but has to be complemented by a quality control system which is currently undertaken by journals which guarantee peer-review and editorial quality control. Self-Archiving makes research publicly available allowing other people to read it without access barriers and so maximizing the impact of the work. Although, the eDoc-Server also provides a quality control mechanism on the institute level, self-archiving should not misconceived as self-publishing, as self-archiving is merely about making research output online available, which has undergone (or will undergo) a quality control process elsewhere. Nevertheless, all the research output disseminated on eDoc has undergone a quality review process in the Institutes of the Max Planck Society as defined in the collection policy.

Further information about Open Access and the MPS can be found in the talk of G. Botz "The Open Access Agenda of the Max Planck Society" given at the "International Conference on Strategies and Policies on Open Access to Scientific Information" in Beijing, 22-24 June 2005 ( http://libraries.csdl.ac.cn/Meeting/MeetingID.asp?MeetingID=7&MeetingMenuID=51).

Whether self-archiving of any version of a document is allowed is subject to the contract of the individual author with the publisher. Please check the Copyright Issues for further details.

If you are worrying about certain aspects of self-archiving you might want to check the Self-Archiving FAQ for the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI).

Read more about Open Access
Read more about Open Access and research impact

Last changed: 13 December 2005