Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Friday, September 19, 2008

An OA mandate from the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

Germany's Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft adopted an OA mandate in July 2008.  (Thanks to the Informationsplattform Open Access.) 

Unfortunately, both the German and English versions of the policy are locked PDFs which block cutting/pasting (why?) and I don't have time to rekey the important passages. 

But here are a few highlights:

  • The policy follows the Berlin Declaration definition of OA.
  • FG "makes every effort" to provide OA to the full-text articles by its employees.
  • When FG employees publish in TA journals, copies "shall" be deposited in the FG repository, Fraunhofer ePrints.  If the publisher insists, FG will respect an embargo of up to one year.
  • When FG employees publish articles, they are "expressly required to demand" the "right to further use of their own works."
  • FG "wholeheartedly supports" publishing in peer-reviewed OA journals.
  • FG managers are "urged to take a proactive stance" to help FG researchers make use of green and gold OA.
  • FG "is committed to providing the necessary financial, organization and non-material support" to implement its policy.
  • FG is "committed to lobbying for official recognition" of OA "on a national and European scale" and "for the drafting of appropriate legislation."


  • In its basics, the FG policy resembles the NIH policy:  researchers must reserve the right to authorize OA, deposit in the repository is required, and embargoes may be up to one year.  But the NIH policy requires deposit immediately upon acceptance and the FG policy is silent on the timing of deposits.  I hope FG will follow the growing practice of depositing immediately upon acceptance, switching access from closed to open when the embargo runs, and making metadata OA from the start.
  • I can't tell from FG's strong support for OA journals, and its commitment to provide the financial means to implement its policy, whether it will pay publication fees at fee-based OA journals.  If it can afford to so so, I hope it will. 
  • The month before FG adopted this policy, it joined the Allianz der deutschen Wissenschaftsorganisationen (June 11, 2008), a new alliance of German research organizations committed to OA.  See my blog post about it.  Does this mean that other alliance members without OA policies are now adopting them?
  • Kudos to all involved at FG.  But please unlock the PDF.  (What were you thinking?)