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  • Open Access Publishing

    Generally speaking, scientific authors publish their work in an established journals or book series. Both articles and books can be published with a publisher and in a manner compatible with Open Access at the same time. If a work is to be published with the help of a publisher, you can choose to take either the green road or the gold road zur Auswahl.
    If you do not wish to publish your work through a publisher, you can make it directly accessible free of charge through a
    repository (e.g. presentation slides or scripts).


    Publication route

    Taking the Gold Road

    The “gold road” is the name given to making a publication accessible to the public free of charge in electronic form in line with Open Access requirements at the time of its initial publication. To take the gold road, you need to find a suitable publisher or journal.
    The Open Access Publishing in European Networks project provides basic information and a list of publishers specialising in Open Access publishing for books.
    You can search the Directory of Open Access Journals to find suitable genuine and hybrid Open Access journals.

    Open Access Journals

    Journals that make some or all of the articles they contain available to the public free of charge and in line with Open Access requirements at the time of their initial publication are called Open Access journals.

    Genuine Open Access Journals

    Genuine Open Access journals make all of the articles in the electronic issue freely accessible. Access to the journal is not restricted by any subscription charges.

    Hybrid Open Access Journals

    Hybrid Open Access journals make only some of the articles in the electronic issue accessible free of charge. Access to the other articles in the journal is essentially restricted by subscription charges.

    Open Access Publication Charges

    Some Open Access journals demand Open Access publication charges for making the articles they contain directly accessible. In the case of certain journals, these fees are paid for members of the Max Planck Society out of a central budget at the Max Planck Digital Library. Click here (in German only) for more information.

    Taking the Green Road

    The “green road” is the name given to the secondary electronic publishing of primary publications which are usually accessible only for a fee. Secondary Open Access publication takes place in parallel with or after the original publication.
    The term “self-archiving” is often used as a synonym for the “green road” in the Anglo-Saxon world in particular.
    Ideally, when taking the green road, a copy of the publisher version of the work is published in a repository as soon as it is released. This process guarantees that the work quickly gains visibility and remains permanently accessible. But it is important that authors try to avoid relinquishing all rights to secondary publication when concluding a contract. The Max Planck Society therefore advises its authors to use an author addendum recommended by the European Commission, which safeguards these rights.
    If no such agreement can be reached with the publisher, you will need to check individually whether or not it is possible to have the post-print manuscript or the pre-print manuscript published. The copyright transfer agreement may contain an embargo period for secondary publication, which will need to be observed.

    Archiving the Copyright Transfer Agreement

    It is definitely advisable to archive the copyright transfer agreement carefully so that you can check the terms of the agreement at any time. PubMan, one of the Max Planck Society’s two central repositories offers the possibility to file a copy of the agreement together with a publication.
    The Sherpa-Romeo database can be used to research information on publishers’ copyright policy in relation to Open Access. The information provided there is updated regularly. However, there is no guarantee that the details in the Sherpa-Romeo list will be exactly concurrent with the content of the specific copyright transfer agreement presented to an author to sign. Only the signed agreement itself is legally binding. The Sherpa-Romeo list can provide some direction but should not replace an individual review of the agreement.

    Transferring Exploitation Rights in the Course of Publishing Works

    In order to publish works, publishers require the authorisation of the authors concerned. In granting authorisation, authors transfer so-called exploitation rights to the publisher. This contract can be concluded verbally or in writing.
    Exploitation rights can be transferred exclusive or non-exclusive. Only rights transferred non-exclusively can be transferred to third parties an unlimited number of times. Authors relinquish their exploitation rights completely if they transfer them exclusively.
    If electronic publishing rights are exclusively transferred to a publisher, secondary publication in an Open Access repository is only possible with the publisher’s consent. Such consent can be granted in the form of a contract clause agreed at the time of contract conclusion.
    Publishers regularly give their authors contracts to sign that transfer all exploitation rights exclusively. However, these copyright transfer agreements are freely negotiable, meaning that authors can change or even delete any of the contract clauses before signing.
    An easy way of keeping your rights of use as described above, without being an expert in the law, is to add a special addendum to the contract.
    This is particularly in the interests of the authors of scientific publications if they want to keep their exploitation right their works in teaching, for scientific exchange or for Open Access-publication, for example.

    Repositories at the Max Planck Society

    Members of the Max Planck Society use eDoc and PubMan, the Society’s central repositories, to make a broad spectrum of scientific publications and other materials available to the public free of charge..
    Repositories deliver significant value added for authors and users alike.

    Only the newly developed PubMan repository will continue to be operated in the medium term. All content currently stored in eDoc will also be available there. Detailed information on the two repositories is provided on their websites.

    In addition, information on the research findings of scientists at all Max Planck institutes is published on the respective institute’s website. In most cases, the websites also make available parts of publications stemming from the institutes as well. This form of publication does not take advantage of the benefits associated with the use of repositories.