Why Open Access?

The point of departure of the Open-Access-Movement is their criticism of the so-called “double-dipping” of academe through public authorities.

Scholarly authors primarily work at public universities and research institutes and are therefore funded by public authorities. Publishing the results of their research – usually supported by further public money- is an integral part of their activities; one might even state that the majority of scholarly publications have been funded by public resources.

These papers then form paid content for publishers, and university libraries and research institutes have to subscribe to the respective journals or buy those books in order to provide their researchers with the necessary information for their research.

In a nutshell, this means that public authorities have to rebuy publications they have initially funded.

The situation is aggravated by the fact that reviews within the peer-reviewing-process essential for the quality of scholarly publishing are written by scholars free of charge and that authors very often even have to do their own lay-outing. Printing cost subsidies have become normal even for digital publications in most disciplines, and each year, subscription prices for journals strongly increase.

Open Access strives for the reform of the traditional payment model of scholarly publications, most of them in subscription journals. Instead, the idea is that all publications should be made available to everyone, at any time and without restrictions, right from the beginning. This can be financed in different ways, the APC model being the most widely used. Here, the publication of an article is financed by so-called Article Processing Charges (APC) that enable publishers or repositories to cover their expenses.


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