Mainz University Library significantly increases its fund for Open Access publications

German Research Foundation approved proposal by Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and its University Medical Center


Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and JGU's University Medical Center will soon be allocating more finances to the fund that they have set aside to promote Open Access publishing. Open Access is the practice of providing unrestricted access to academic texts on the Internet so that these can be read in full, downloaded, and replicated at no cost to users. Mainz University considers Open Access to be a forward-looking alternative to traditional forms of paper publication in scholarly journals. "We are very pleased that the German Research Foundation has approved our proposal for funding in its entirety. We are now in the position to make considerably more money available to university academics for Open Access publication in 2013," says Dr. Andreas Brandtner, Director of the Mainz University Library.

As Open Access publications are made freely available to everyone, this greatly facilitates the dissemination of research results among academics and other interested parties, whereas to date, the usual practice has been to publish in specialist journals only. Unfortunately, the subscription fees of such journals have increased disproportionately in recent years. This means that many libraries can no longer afford to purchase them and the result is that scholars and students then do not have the opportunity to borrow them from the library.

One of the purposes of Open Access is to ensure that the funding provided to acquire literature can be more effectively employed. There are, of course, expenses involved in producing Open Access publications as these also need to be peer-reviewed and edited. Many Open Access publishers thus charge the authors publication fees. To ensure that this does not become an obstacle to publication, the University Library and the University Medical Center at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz established a publication fund in 2012 that is used to reimburse authors.

The funding now provided by the German Research Foundation means that it will be possible to increase the fund to EUR 85,000 for 2013. The fund is already in operation this year and the procedure to claim for reimbursement from it is quite straightforward. The University Library hopes that it will benefit young researchers in particular.

The University Library has set up an Open Access website that provides information on current developments at JGU and showcases interesting articles on the topic, which is currently a subject of debate in Germany and across Europe. "By providing this information, we at the University Library are emphasizing how important we think Open Access is to the future of academic writing and to the dissemination of knowledge beyond a small specialist community, and also demonstrating the high status that we consider this form of communication of scholarship should be accorded," emphasizes the Director of the Mainz University Library.