Open4DE Spotlight on the Open Access Ecosystem in Switzerland

Authors: Malte Dreyer, Martina Benz, Maike Neufend and Theresa Bärwolff

Open Access is developing in an area of tension between institutional and funder policies, the economics of publishing and last but not least the communication practices of research disciplines. In a comparison across European countries, very dynamic and diverse approaches and developments can be observed. Furthermore, this international and comparative perspective helps us to assess the state of open access and open science in Germany. In this series of Open4DE project blog posts, we will summarize what we have learned in our in-depth conversations with experts on developing and implementing nationwide Open Access strategies.

After we focused on our neighboring country Austria in our last article, we now turn our attention to another DACH neighbor in the Alpine region: Switzerland. Open Access in Switzerland is a complex field. On the one hand, Switzerland impresses with measures, such as generously funding rates from monograph funds. There exist multiple exemplary pilot projects in the field of Open Access and Open Science, as several presentations by our Swiss colleagues at the recent Open Access Days in Bern showed. On the other hand, however, there are numerous unresolved topics, such as the missed revision of the copyright law or the failure to achieve the ambitious policy goal of 100% Open Access by 2024 for publicly funded research. However, Open Access in Switzerland comprises multiple facets, and a look at the historical development of Open Access in Switzerland makes it particularly clear how they belong together. That is why we have taken a closer look and, in addition to the current situation, also included its historical development more intensively in our investigation than we have done in other blog posts.

We were able to get Prof. Dr. Ingrid Kissling-Näf, who will contribute to the first part of this article, to answer our questions about the history of Open Access policy-making in Switzerland. André Hoffmann, who we will introduce in the second part of this article, was available to answer questions about current problems and challenges.

Our expert on Open Access policy-making in the 10s.

To learn more about the winding road to Swiss Open Access-policy, we meet Prof. Dr. Ingrid Kissling-Näf, political scientist and economist. After an assistant professorship at the ETH Zürich, she led the Humanities and Social Sciences Division at the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), probably the most important research funder in Switzerland, from 2013-2017. The Open Access-funding policy at the SNSF was completely transformed during this period, and Prof. Dr. Ingrid Kissling-Näf played a leading role in this policy process. For the last 5 years, she has led the Business School at the Bern University of Applied Sciences, where she continues to be engaged in Open Access, for example by motivating staff to publish Open Access and engage in Open Science research projects. Her involvement in shaping the Swiss Open Access ecosystem makes her an ideal contact for us, especially for questions related to the design of the publication system in the 10s.

The beginnings of nationwide Open Access in Switzerland

The development began at the latest in 2003, when numerous important scientific actors in Switzerland, including the SNSF, the Rectors‘ Conference of the Swiss Universities of Applied Sciences and Universities, and the Swiss Academy of Sciences, signed the Berlin Declaration. Five years later, in 2008, the SNSF committed funded scientists to self-archive their publications. „However, compliance with this commitment was insufficiently monitored“ admits Ingrid Kissling-Näf. Then, in 2013, the Open Access policy became more concrete: the SNSF adopted guidelines that required research results from funded projects to be published without embargo – a clear gold Open Access-policy. Ingrid Kissling-Näf remembers the shift of attention that occurred at that time:

The National Fund (NF) was still very traditional, the whole book promotion was classically oriented on the distribution of physical copies. But then it was realized that we had to move with the times. Personal factors were deciding: the president at the time pushed Open Access. Pioneers were also the natural sciences, which had already developed Open Access further and were more familiar with the idea of openness.

As in many other Open Access-ecosystems, for example in Sweden, it were individuals, Open Access enthusiasts, who played a significant role in starting the policy processes. And in Switzerland, too, these advocates of an open publication culture quickly reached their limits:

Barriers and resistance to policies for an open publication culture

In the following years, discussions were first held within the National Research Council (Humanities and Social Sciences), the governance body for application evaluations and funding decisions in humanities and social sciences of the SNSF, which only adopted the development of a digitization strategy after long discussions, Ingrid Kissling-Näf tells us. This practice illustrates in line with current developments in Germany that the policy cycle in reality begins with the distribution of responsibilities. The decision to place the policy process in the hands of an organizational unit closely linked to the scientific community (via the National Research Council) was extremely wise in this phase. After all, significant doubts about Open Access were expressed in the scientific community:

One frequently presented argument against Open Access was that it was not compatible with traditional career paths. In many scientific disciplines, career paths were still very traditional. The doctorate was followed by a few peer-reviewed articles in closed-access in high-ranked journals, and then the professorship followed. There was no room for Open Access.

So something had to be done. To cover APCs, the SNSF set up a fund that granted up to 3000 sfr per published article. The Open Access policy was to be extended to monographs in 2014. These were supposed to be freely accessible after 24 months, for example via an Open Access publication on a repository. In principle, funding was only to be available for monographs that were available in a digital version. This guideline in particular caused concern among publishers. They feared negative effects on their book sales and protested loudly.

The publishers said that the cultural good of the book was being attacked by our Open Access strategy, that a tradition was being threatened. We then had discussions with publishing houses in Switzerland and especially with the legal sciences, where lucrative commentaries on laws are written. Our argument for Open Access was that these commentaries are publicly funded, therefore they should be publicly visible.

Policy processes are only linear in theory: however, because of the headwinds from publishers, the policy measures mentioned above had to be discussed again. The benefit of this confrontation was the understanding of the necessity of a dialogue with the most important interest groups. Thus, regular talks with the publishers were now also scheduled.

Winning over doubters, distributing responsibilities: A policy process is forming

First of all, it was agreed to analyse the impact of Open Access on traditional publishing structures. To this end, the SNSF launched a pilot project in 2014 based on the Dutch and British model, in particular to satisfy the publishers: In the OAPEN-CH project, a research team with German and Swiss publishers in the humanities and social sciences investigated what effects the publication of books in Open Access would have. The results confirmed the findings from England and the Netherlands that an edition that is freely available digitally on the internet increases visibility, findability and usability. Open Access has no negative impact on the sale of the printed book. In addition, a financial flow analysis was to be done to find out what sums were flowing into the publication system in Switzerland at the time. Here, too, a particular challenge was to name responsible parties:

The National Science Foundation criticised that it should do the financial study because it did not see any responsibility in monitoring the development of Open Access and translating results into policy measures. Therefore, we then went to Swissuniversities [the rectorate conference of the Swiss universities] and won them for the project.

In addition, other actors were won over for the project of an overarching Open Access strategy. According to Ingrid Kissling-Näf, the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation was persuaded in numerous talks to commit to the project. A welcome side effect was that from then on it could count itself as one of the drivers of Open Access. In 2015, the State Secretariat finally mandated the development of a national Open Access strategy.

During this time, a working group of swissuniversites together with SNSF was in close contact with the State Secretariat. We had regular discussions about which priorities we wanted to set. Maybe that was a format with similarities to the Alliance Initiative in Germany.

The circle of participants had grown significantly as a result. In addition to political representation, the Rector’s Conference now also involved the academic and higher education policy levels. The parallel to the Alliance Initiative in Germany that Ingrid Kissling-Näf draws here is also exciting with regard to the search for actors who could lead a nationwide policy process in Germany. In Switzerland, the attempt to place the policy process in the hands of a group consisting of political actors, research funders and universities was successful. This was achieved mainly through numerous informal contact initiations.

Adoption and implementation of the nationwide policy

In 2017/18, after forceful engagement, a first nationwide binding paper was adopted in the plenary assembly of swissuniversities. The objective of this policy was, among other things, to achieve 100% Open Access for all publicly funded research by 2024, while maintaining the autonomy of the universities. Measures to change the publication landscape were concretised in an action plan, which included the pooling of resources, the support of alternative publication formats and a reform of research evaluation. The SNSF was to play a pioneering role in the implementation of Open Access-policies in association with the universities. As in Germany, research funding bodies in Switzerland had a key function: „The SNSF’s guidelines were still decisive, because every university wants to receive the SNSF’s money and therefore has to accept its conditions. The SNSF’s conditions carry science policy.”

The process that Ingrid Kissling-Näf describes to us here has similarities in many respects to the challenges that Open4DE identifies in Germany with regard to the possible paths to a nationwide Open Access-strategy. For example, the beginning was characterised by efforts to pick up doubters and motivate relevant actors to take responsibility: Activities that we have to address if we want to succeed with a nationwide strategy process in Germany as well. 

Critical perspectives on the Swiss Open Access Policy of 2017

Despite all the successes in formulating the policy, Ingrid Kissling-Näf also still sees a need for regulation. She too recognises the steadily increasing APCs as a crucial problem. The question of whether science-led publishing, for example through the publication of journals by universities, is a solution here, is hard to answer:

As yet, the National Fund does not or cannot finance this. That can be seen as a problem. And when universities act as publishers, quality assurance measures such as peer review must be guaranteed.

We would like to look more closely at the current challenges in Switzerland and ask André Hoffmann about this. André Hoffmann studied sociology and politics in Konstanz. Following his studies, he worked in the social science archive on the founding documents of the German Sociological Association. Already during this work, he noticed how beneficial Open Access to research data can be for producing results. After the opportunity to work in the field of Open Access, André Hoffmann arrived at the library of the University of Zurich after various stations and works there on the implementation of Open Access guidelines, is responsible for the Open Access Repository and informs students about the advantages of Open Access. André Hoffmann is also co-president of the AKOA (Arbeitskreis Open Access) – a committee of Swiss research libraries. His view on the Open Access landscape in Switzerland is very differentiated: In addition to the progress made in recent decades, he also sees the mistakes that have been made and names numerous challenges for the future. „The development of OA in Switzerland has not always been straightforward. Phases of progress alternated with phases in which developments stagnated“ André Hoffmann tells us right at the beginning of our conversation, confirming our impressions from the meeting with Ms. Kissling-Näf. Looking at the period up to 2016, he adds: „Especially the route on the green path generated strong binding forces“.

According to his observation, the publication of the strategy in 2017 was also in response to international developments. There, it became apparent that many funds flew into the Read and Publish Contracts that had been concluded between state institutions and large publishers. However, according to André Hoffmann, the strategy in Switzerland also focuses on these contracts. But the fact that many goals of this policy have not been achieved is, according to Hoffmann, because implementation is not centrally coordinated, but left to individual stakeholders.

Funding programs

Funding programs are also important. Swissuniversites has set up such a funding program, with which it was possible to launch an OJS at the University of Zurich, among others. Projects in this program must be 50% funded by the applying institution, usually a cantonal university, with the other half funded by the federal government.

But such a form of equal funding can lead to questions of responsibility: „On the one hand, Swissuniversities is pushing for implementation, on the other hand, the universities are doing their own thing,“ André Hoffmann describes the situation. Another consequence of involving individual institutions is that the services and products often only benefit the members of the funding institutions. According to André Hoffmann, it is also not possible to purchase project-products because of legal reasons. Finally, he has doubts on project-based financing because of the funding strategy of Swissuniversities: „The major funding lines dominate, but often smaller projects outside of these funding lines are not financed,“ he points out. In addition, there are often no financing concepts for the follow-up use of the project results after the end of the funding period: services and products that were once developed with commitment can’t be continued. This is a problem that we also know from Germany.

Particularism in strategy processes

“Single institutions such as ETH Zurich could be a driving force, but ETH is holding back, perhaps because of the many contracts with smaller publishers,” he suspects. In addition, the commitment of an institution always depends on the position of the management.

Particularism in strategy processes seems to be a widespread problem, according to Hoffmann. He mentions the different types of institutions as another example for this problem. “The universities of applied sciences, for example, have maintained repositories for years, but the small universities have not, which results in differences in publication monitoring.” Because of this and similar inconsistencies, consultations about strategies often end up in discussions about particular interests. According to Hoffmann, good moderation would be needed to mediate the different levels and interests. But various small discussions between libraries, researchers, divided into the numerous disciplines, and the universities, among others, affect everyday life: „communication across disciplinary and institutional boundaries often proved difficult,“ André Hoffmann summarises his impression. Moderation by a major player would help here.

Copyright law, publishers and book funding

Another obstacle is the lack of reform of the Act on Copyright and Related Rights (UHG). Its reform has already been discussed in the Swiss parliament, but no vote was taken.“This could have failed due to the lobby of the Swiss small publishers, who were not included in the Read and Publish agreements and ran parallel to the Open Access process for a long time, which then turned out to be a problem“ suspects André Hoffmann.  

The generous funding for book publications, which can be up to 35,000 Swiss francs, is only rarely taken up because the requirements associated with it are difficult to realise.


Alternatives to the traditional publishing landscape are offered by the growing Open Access publishing scene in Switzerland. In André Hoffmann’s opinion, however, the SNSF is very hesitant in funding this sector. Although the funding of alternative publication formats is mentioned in the national strategy, this funding activity has practically stagnated. However, this is also because the editors hesitate to accept this funding line. „Probably also because of a lack of sustainability. Even the hosting of independent journals is often connected to jobs that are time-limited.“ At this point, André Hoffmann sees potential for savings in the Read an Publish contracts: „Freed-up funds could then flow into funding programs that support such publication and infrastructure projects,“ he suggests.

Such cross-financing of science-driven publishing is being discussed in Germany. And approaches in this direction also exist in Switzerland. In the PLATO project, for example, members of the Diamond Scene are being asked about the conditions that must be met for long-term activities. The aim is to get an overview of the needs in order to support the scene.

Europe, a driving force

Impulses for the progress of the transformation also come from the European context. For example, the University of Zurich is a member of the League of European Research Universities (LERU), an association with strict admission criteria, as André Hoffmann reports. „In this association, there is a separate working group on Open Science and guidelines are discussed to achieve a cultural change at the universities. This association is putting pressure for Open Access to be realised.“

Another European driver is the cOAlition S, which is also in contact with LERU. „Impulses from the European side have also led to the nomination of Open Science officers at the institutions.“ Since then, Zurich has also had an Open Science office, a Centre for Reproducible Science and a Citizen Science project centre. „Wild ideas were sometimes discussed in this environment,“ André Hoffmann informs us. „For example, the idea of uploading a version of records or publisher-PDFs to the repos so that legal certainty can be brought about in court proceedings.“ Presumably we all, not only our colleagues in Switzerland, need the courage now to discuss such „wild ideas“ again.

On the situation:

André Hoffmann is convinced that some progress will be achieved by 2024, but is sceptical about the ambitious 100% target. As can be seen in Germany, even a consortial large-scale contract like DEAL is not sufficient to come close to this mark. Hoffmann sees an additional strategic weakness in Switzerland in the rather soft structure of the second publication right. Other measures are being taken to remedy this. The SNSF already requires all authors to negotiate with publishers on how a second publication can be made possible. 

Cooperative projects have a very difficult time due to the federal structure in Switzerland, André Hoffmann summarises his impressions. „Cantonal universities have to spend a long time agreeing on joint financing structures.“ He cites Switzerland’s failure to establish an ORCID consortium as an example (renewed negotiations in 2022 have meanwhile once again failed). In Switzerland, single universities would first have to finance the jobs on their own and then bill other participating institutions in a time-consuming procedure for compensation. This is probably the reason for the „tendency to isolate oneself and cultivate one’s own little garden“. In general, cooperation projects are difficult but necessary.

What can we learn from Switzerland?

In conclusion, if we take stock of the two conversations we had, we notice numerous parallels to the German situation:

Federalism: challenge for policy processes and central infrastructures: In terms of funding structure, German federalism creates similar problems to those in Switzerland. Here, too, major federal funding lines decide on the direction of the transformation, as for example in the 2021 BMBF’s funding program for the transformation to Open Access.

And here, too, the question arises how to sustainably finance infrastructures after the funding ends. Cross-state funding of central publication services is also difficult in Germany due to the federal structure. The example of Switzerland thus shows well that sufficient capitalisation of the publication sector does not solve the problems as long as the federal structure does not allow for the implementation of a nationwide and sustainable strategy towards Open Access. That federal structures can be complex in the design of policy processes through including numerous stakeholders ranging from politicians via funding representatives up to university rectors was made clear to us by Ms Kissling-Näf in her description of the creation of the 2017 policy. This period seemed to be particularly characterised by the distribution of responsibilities to the relevant actors. This is a problem that we are also currently facing in the Open4DE project.

Libraries stay among themselves: Other similarities are noticeable: in fact, libraries in Switzerland are also active in shaping the transformation. However, they not only set the conditions for funding programs, but are also the first to apply for their own programs. Thus, libraries as infrastructure providers mostly remain among themselves. More intensive involvement of researchers would be necessary here as well as there. „Discussion about Open Access and Open Science with researchers only takes place in the committees. But the researchers working there have often been more involved in administration for years,“ Hoffmann remarks on this. From the perspective of historical hindsight, too, much could have been done better here: Ms Kissling-Näf admits that there were consultations between 2014 and 2016, one „went around and presented everything. The research councils were also consulted and proposals were developed with them“. But „the people“ were not consulted.

There was no discourse across the board. There was no discussion with the research itself, only with the councils and the publishing houses. If you did that today, you would do it differently. But the disciplines are very different and that should be taken into account.

Ingrid Kissling-Näf’s comment shows once again that well-resourced universities and funding lines cannot replace efforts to get in touch with researchers and to find suitable forums and formats that bring about a change in the publication culture.

Future prospects: The function of libraries as research service providers is different today than it was then. At present, they offer a much greater number of services related to technical infrastructures. It would certainly be to the advantage of the transformation if libraries in both Germany and Switzerland were not only experts in technical publication infrastructures, but could also provide social and political transformation infrastructures. For example, by bringing together different stakeholders. This also includes planning for future change processes: In this regard, Ingrid Kissling-Näf points out that we should design policies in such a way that they can be easily expanded, supplemented or changed: change should already be taken into account as a constant factor in policy formulation.


Open4DE Spotlight on Austria: How European and National Levels Interact

Authors: Malte Dreyer, Martina Benz and Maike Neufend

Open Access is developing in an area of tension between institutional and funder policies, the economics of publishing and last but not least the communication practices of research disciplines. In a comparison across European countries, very dynamic and diverse approaches and developments can be observed. Furthermore, this international and comparative perspective helps us to assess the state of open access and open science in Germany. In this series of Open4DE project blog posts, we will summarize what we have learned in our in-depth conversations with experts on developing and implementing nationwide Open Access strategies.

From Open Access to Open Science: a European trend

Following the adoption of Open Access policies by numerous European countries in recent years, the trend is now towards the design of Open Science policies. Finland has already announced that it will publish an Open Science strategy in the near future, and France has already done so. Austria also attracted attention earlier this year, publishing a guiding paper that provides a roadmap for the implementation of Open Science in the coming years. Reason enough for us to take a closer look at how this paper came about and what the general state of Openness is in our neighboring country.

Our interview partner

We met Dr. Stefan Hanslik for a conversation about Open Science policy making in Austria. Stefan Hanslik is an expert on Open Access and Open Science at the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF) and acts as delegate in various scientific committees at European level. As Head of Unit for Technical Sciences, he is involved in the topics of data and research infrastructures. In addition, Stefan Hanslik has been active in the EOSC process since 2018: through this involvement he also came in touch with European initiatives on Open Science.

The European framework

The history of the development of Open Science and Open Access in Austria clearly demonstrates the importance of the European framework in which national research and publication infrastructures are situated. An example of this is the EOSC process, which initially started in Austria in 2016, among others in an informal group of representatives of universities and ministries. This group, the so-called EOSC-Café, that focused on coordination, information, reflection and consultation on European processes, allowed to find a common understanding of Open Science. The discussion of EOSC also led to the question of whether a national Open Science strategy was necessary and what it might look like. The Open Science topic finally received additional support during the Austrian EU Council Presidency in the second half of 2018, Stefan Hanslik informs us. „With the emerging discussions at EU level and the call for all member state countries to take Open Science-related measures, there was a willingness in Austria to become active. After all, no one wanted to risk infringement proceedings.” Finally, the commitment to the European Research Area was included in the principles of the current government, „a backbone for our Open Science activities, that was important tailwind.“ European measures have often a strong inward effect, one can sum up.

National factors

In addition to the activities of the EU, numerous national initiatives were also important for the development of Open Science in Austria: „The initiative originally came from institutions that had already called for more Open Science and Open Access activities in 2015 and 2016,“ Stefan Hanslik reveals. The Open Access Network Austria (OANA), consisting of representatives of Austrian universities, had already made a clear recommendation that Austria needed an Open Sccience strategy. In addition, in the process of European harmonisation in digitalisation, the Information Sharing Law was passed at government level. This initiative brought together several stakeholders, including the Wissenschaftsfond FWF. So why not continue working together right away? At this favorable moment, it seemed clear to all parties involved, that an initiative had to be taken in the field of Open Science. As is often the case, a policy process was also promoted by the favor of the hour.

Relevance of informal structures

The example of Austria illustrates very well what has already been made clear in the other contributions to this series: Policy processes are rarely driven by a single factor, but often by several stimuli. These can have a delayed effect and sometimes even partially contradict each other. The example of Austria shows that informal associations can play a key role in policy processes. For example, it was the EOSC Café, which was initially conceived as an informal grouping for the exchange of information on open science topics, in which ideas for the Austrian Open Access Policy were formulated. „Austria is not large and the university landscape is quite manageable“ states Stefan Hanslik. At the operational level, a particular challenge was to build consensus among the relevant ministries, the  Federal Ministry for Education, Research and Science (BMBWF), the Federal Ministry for Digitalisation and Economic Location (Bundesministerium für Digitalisierung und Wirtschaftsstandort BMDW, until 2020) and the Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technogy (BMK).

In this process, the EOSC Café, this informal group, attained the status of a very important working tool. Because there, we were able to elaborate ideas, involve all the important players little by little and prepare the adoption of the policy. That would have been very difficult without this group and would have taken much more time.

The launch of the EOSC in Vienna in 2018 marked a turning point for this group and finally led to its institutionalisation. Today there are more working tools than the EOSC Café: An EOSC wiki and a productive EOSC Support Office Austria as well as Open Science Austria. In the meantime, EOSC Café Austria invites guests, including from the European Commission or other European countries and sees itself as an open forum. „The EOSC Café has established itself and is used again and again to deal with questions around Open Science. It is an Austrian melting pot of Open Science-affine people and very dynamic as a group,“ Stefan Hanslik tells us.

As before, this group is open: anyone involved in Open Science can participate. Amongst others, the TU Vienna, the University of Vienna, the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, the Natural History Museum Vienna and other institutions are involved.

The Austrian Strategy: Designable Framework, Supporting Measures

It was also with the help of this group, the EOSC-Café, that the Austrian Open Science Policy was initially created. This Policy serves as a framework helping individual institutions to develop their own strategies.  „The policy may therefore seem a bit like a toothless tiger“, admits Stefan Hanslik, “but the intention was to first bring all stakeholders to the table under the umbrella of agreeable guidelines. At the same time, it was clear all along that we wanted to keep the policy open for more elaborate positions that individual institutions, such as universities, already have and can develop further.“

Additionally, this Open Science Strategy is flanked by numerous practical measures: Activities around Open Science are financed and supported, for example by a funding program to support the digital transformation, in which more than 50 million euros are spent on 5 large projects. Although this program expires in 2024, Stefan Hanslik said that follow-up programs are already being considered.

Researchers, libraries and research funders

However, even well-funded programs are of no help if researchers do not agree. As in other countries, many researchers in Austria are very committed by heart. But – from Stefan Hanslik’s point of view – even more interesting are those who are not yet sufficiently informed. „There is a strong need to catch up across all sectors in our country,“ he diagnoses the situation. „For example, I recently had a conversation with a quantum physicist who had more questions than answers and a large need for information. That’s when I’m glad that Open Science Austria (OSA) exists. They set themselves the goal of tackling this, and reaching out into the finest roots of the research world, across all disciplines.“

Equally important and differently developed are the libraries. „We involve them, but with varying degrees of success“ notes Stefan Hanslik. The situation is different when it comes to research funders. “Here, Austria’s benefit is that there are only two funding agencies: the Fond zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung (FWF) and the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG). Both are committed to research infrastructure programs.” Stefan Hanslik emphasizes that they have successfully put a lot of thought into PlanS and have thus helped to shape the Austrian policy process.


But policy processes are never over, as Stefan Hanslik remarks: „Our policy lacks examples and concrete measures for almost all topics.“ Another well-known challenge in the area of Open Science is monitoring. Here, too, helpful initiatives already exist at European level, such as the EOSC Observatory Monitoring System. „We will feed this monitoring system with our data and create a Country Profile. This will also influence budget decisions, because we want to know to what extent what needs to be funded. But there’s often a question about how to quantify certain Open Science activities.“

What can we learn from Austria?

Austria and Germany are similar in many respects. Both countries have well-developed and very active open access and open science networks, a level of knowledge on openness that varies from discipline to discipline, and a federal system that can help shape decisions and policy processes in a participatory way. In addition to these similarities, however, Stefan Hanslik points to some clear differences between Austria and Germany: „I feel envious when I look at the research infrastructure and the research data infrastructure in Germany“ he admits. But he also sees that Germany has other scale dimensions to deal with. This makes it more difficult, especially in a federal system, to get stakeholders, responsible parties at EU and at governance level at the same table and to coordinate different interests. For the development of a federal policy process in Germany, he advises to take a close look at actors who have been able to implement successful policy models in Europe. „That way, you can learn from each other.“ Indeed, it was precisely this intention that motivated us to conduct this and other interviews. However, a preliminary evaluation of our interviews and a discussion with representatives of the federal and state governments of Germany led to the conclusion that no policy model of another country is transferable to the complex German situation. On the other hand, the international comparison offers inspiration and points to aspects that would otherwise have been ignored. Austria’s early adaptation of the Open Science idea and its integration with the European Union’s science policy can provide helpful and interesting hints here.

Open4DE: Stand und Perspektiven von Open Access in Deutschland

Anmeldung zum Online Workshop

Wann: Donnerstag, 8. Dezember 2022, 9h30 – 12h30

Im Projekt Open4DE haben wir in Workshops, Interviews und Policy-Analysen den Stand von Open Access in Deutschland ermittelt und Vorschläge für den Weg zu einem bundesweiten Open-Access-Strategieprozess erarbeitet. Zum Projektabschluss möchten wir unsere Forschungsergebnisse zur Diskussion stellen:

  • Wie kann die weitere Open-Access-Transformation gestaltet werden?
  • Welche Maßnahmen könnten die Open-Access-Transformation beschleunigen?
  • Wie können zentrale Stakeholder in einem gemeinsamen Strategieprozess zusammenarbeiten?

Diese und weitere Fragen wollen wir in unserem abschließenden Workshop gemeinsam diskutieren. Unser Projekt wird mit einem Landscape-Report abschließen, der sowohl Lücken aufzeigen als auch Anreize und Potentiale darstellen soll. Darin enthalten ist ein Anforderungskatalog für einen nationalen Open-Access-Strategieprozess, in dem verschiedene Szenarien sowie Vorschläge für eine Roadmap berücksichtigt werden.

In diesem Strategieworkshop möchten wir eine übergreifende Vision sowie konkrete mittel- und langfristige Ziele, Prioritäten und Vorschläge für die nächsten Schritte entwickeln. Auf diesem Wege soll die Entwicklung und Implementierung einer Open-Access-Strategie vorangetrieben werden. Besondere Berücksichtigung findet dabei der breitere Kontextes der Transformation der Wissenschaftskommunikation und die Bedeutung von Open Science für die deutsche Wissenschaftslandschaft.

Weitere Infos und Berichte aus unserem Projekt finden Sie in der Kategorie Open4DE auf dem Open-Access-Blog Berlin.

Open4DE ist ein Verbundprojekt von

Der Stand von Open Access und Open Science Policies. Eine Diskussion am Beispiel Berliner Hochschulen

Von Maike Neufend

In Berlin haben aktuell 10 von 14 öffentlich-rechtlichen bzw. konfessionellen Hochschulen eine eigene Open Access Policy verabschiedet bzw. veröffentlicht. Die Freie Universität Berlin (FU, 5.5.2021) und die Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (HU, 26.10.2021) haben ihre Open-Access-Policies bereits einmal aktualisiert. Eine Übersicht aller Policies findet sich auf der Website des OABB.

Als erste Universität in Berlin hat die Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin am 9. Mai 2006 eine Open Access Policy verabschiedet. Rund zwei Jahre später veröffentlichte die Freie Universität Berlin ihre Open Access Policy, am 23. Juli 2008. Zuletzt haben auch die Katholische Hochschule für Sozialwesen Berlin (KHSB, 2021) und die Alice Salomon Hochschule Berlin (ASH, 6.1.2022) eine eigene Open Access Policy verabschiedet.

Aktuelle Open Access Policies – Beispiele

Obwohl Studien bspw. aus dem Projekt Open Access Policy Alignment Strategies for European Union Research belegen, dass verpflichtende Policies wirksamer als empfehlende sind (vgl. Swan et al. 2015, S. 20), werden Wissenschaftler*innen in Deutschland und Europa kaum ausdrücklich dazu verpflichtet, ihre Forschungsergebnisse Open Access zur Verfügung zu stellen (Gold oder Grün). Anstatt dessen wird eine Open-Access-Publikation gefordert oder empfohlen (vgl. Swan et al. 2015, 18). Die Uniersität Konstanz hatte erstmalig in ihrer Satzung zur Ausübung des wissenschaftlichen Zweitveröffentlichungsrechts vom 10. Dezember 2015 Wissenschaftler*innen dazu verpflichtet, ihr Recht auf Zweitveröffentlichung wahrzunehmen. Gegen diese Satzung klagen 17 Hochschullehrende der Universität Konstanz mit der Begründung, diese verstoße gegen das Grundrecht der Wissenschaftsfreiheit (Art. 5 Abs. 3 GG).

Ob es rechtlich bindende Veröffentlichungspflichten auch in Deutschland geben kann, hängt maßgeblich von den verfassungsrechtlichen Anforderungen ab. Dies erklärt auch die Zurückhaltung der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) und des Bundesministeriums für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF). Die zwei größten deutschen Förderinstitutionen für Wissenschaft fordern und fördern Open Access umfangreich, aber auch sie verpflichten nicht zur Open-Access-Veröffentlichung. In der Open Access Strategie des BMBF aus dem Jahr 2016 wird „Open Access als Standard in seiner Projektförderung auf[genommen]“, aber verpflichtet werden Wissenschaftler*innen beim Erhalt von Forschungsförderung dazu nicht (S. 8). Anders formulieren es europäische Forschungsförderprogramme wie Horizon2020, die ausdrücklich zur Open-Access-Publikation verpflichten.

Die Open Access Policies der Hochschulen sind wiederum nicht an Forschungsförderung gebunden und richten sich an alle Hochschulangehörigen. Allerdings verpflichten sich die Hochschulen selbst dazu, Eigenpublikationen, „sofern dem keine rechtlichen Rahmenbedingungen entgegenstehen, unter einer offenen Lizenz (vorzugsweise CC BY)“ zu veröffentlichen (HU Policy, 26.10.2021, Punkt 5). Ähnlich formulieren es auch die aktualisierte Policy der FU Berlin, und die Policies der KHSB und der ASH.

Im Vergleich zu den Policies der ersten Generation sind einige Inhalte hinzugekommen. In der Policy der HU von 2006 werden das Einreichen von Publikationen in OA-Journalen oder auf OA-Plattformen empfohlen und auf die Veröffentlichung von Pre- und Postprint-Versionen auf Publikationsservern verwiesen. Die aktuelle HU Policy „empfiehlt für Forschungsergebnisse die Erstveröffentlichung unter freier Lizenz (bevorzugt CC BY)“ und fordert „ihre Mitglieder auf, ihr Zweitveröffentlichungsrecht aktiv wahrzunehmen und alle Publikationen parallel oder nach jeweils geltenden Embargofristen ausschließlich über Repositorien zu veröffentlichen“ (Punkt 2). Des Weiteren wird den Mitgliedern der HU Berlin empfohlen, positiv auf das Reputationssystem von Open-Access-Publikationen einzuwirken, indem diese als Gutachter*innen oder Herausgeber*innen von OA-Publikationen tätig sind bzw. werden sollen (Punkt 4). Für die eigene Forschungstätigkeit sollen Hochschulangehörige den offenen persistenten Identifikator ORCID iD verwenden (Punkt 8). Darüber hinaus werden Hochschulangehörige in Form von Verlagsverträgen ermutigt, ihre Urheberrechte auch wahrzunehmen, indem sie nur einfache Nutzungsrechte an die Verlage übertragen (Punkt 3).

Die erste Open Access Policy der FU Berlin aus dem Jahr 2008 ist recht kurz gehalten, weist aber doch einige Besonderheiten auf. Auffällig ist, dass den Hochschulangehörigen für die Herausgabe von Open-Access-Zeitschriften eine eigene Publikationsplattform durch das Center für Digitale Systeme (CeDiS) zur Verfügung gestellt wurde. Heute betreut CeDiS über 30 Zeitschriften über das Open Journal System (OJS). Auch für Verlagsverträge empfiehlt die Policy den Autor*innen sich „möglichst ein nicht ausschließliches Verwertungsrecht zur elektronischen Publikation bzw. Archivierung ihrer Forschungsergebnisse zwecks entgeltfreier Nutzung fest und dauerhaft vorzubehalten“. Diese Klausel wird in der aktualisierten Policy (10.6.2021) noch deutlicher formuliert, indem bei Verlagsverträgen empfohlen wird, „lediglich das einfache Nutzungsrecht einzuräumen. Sollte das nicht möglich sein, wird empfohlen, sich das Recht auf parallele Online-Veröffentlichung im Refubium ausdrücklich vorzubehalten“. Neben dem Open Journal System (OJS), stellt die FU jetzt auch das Open Monograph Press (OMP) für Universitätsangehörige zur Verfügung. Wie die Open Access Policy der HU spricht diejenige der FU eine Empfehlung für Nutzung der ORCID iD aus und ermutigt ihre Mitglieder, „sich bei anerkannten Open-Access-Publikationsorganen in Herausgabe-, Redaktions- und Begutachtungsfunktionen zu engagieren“. In der Open Access Policy der FU wird zudem darauf hingewiesen, dass die Universitätsbibliothek „Hochschulangehörige bei allen Fragen des wissenschaftlichen Publizierens“ durch Beratung und Finanzierung unterstützt (Punkt 7).

Es sind mittlerweile Infrastrukturen wie Repositorien und Finanzierungs- sowie Beratungsangebote an vielen Hochschulen etabliert, so dass sich die Inhalte und der Tenor der aktuellen Open Access Policies, im Vergleich zur ersten Generation, verändert haben. Sie geben häufig eine Richtung vor, die auch den Diskussionsstand in der Open Access Community widerspiegelt. Dies zeigt sich beispielsweise in dem Zusatz, den die ASH in ihrer Policy anführt: „Das Engagement für nicht-kommerzielle Angebote wird besonders befürwortet.“ Im Allgemeinen ist die Aufforderung an Wissenschaftler*innen, das Ökosystem Open Access selbst durch ein gezieltes Engagement in Begutachtungs- und Herausgebertätigkeit zu unterstützen, begrüßenswert. Es zeigt jedoch auch, dass der Kulturwandel weniger durch verpflichtende Leitlinien seitens der Hochschulleitungen ausgebaut wird. Der Erfolg der Open-Access-Transformation baut weiterhin auf das Handeln einzelner Wissenschaftler*innen auf. Eine Möglichkeit für Hochschulleitungen das Open-Access-Publizieren der Hochschulangehörigen verantwortungsvoller zu unterstützen, ist die Anerkennung von Open-Access-Publikationen bei der Beurteilung wissenschaftlicher Leistungen. Obwohl dieser Aspekt bereits 2018 in 6 Open Access Policies deutscher Hochschulen benannt wurde (vgl. Riesenweber und Hübner, 2018), nimmt keine der hier besprochenen aktuellen Open Access Policies dazu Stellung.

Von Open Access zu Open Science

Im vergangenen Jahr wurden deutschlandweit die ersten Open Science Policies auf Einrichtungsebene veröffentlicht. Dazu gehören die Open Science Policy der Ernst-Abbe-Hochschule Jena (16.2.2021), die Open-Science-Richtlinie der Hochschule Anhalt (17.3.2021), die Open Science Policies der Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (13.10.2021) und der Universität Konstanz (24.11.2021). In den Policies wird mitunter gefordert, „alle Bestandteile des wissenschaftlichen Prozesses offen zugänglich und nachnutzbar zu machen“ und dies „in allen Phasen des Forschungsprozesses“ (vgl. Präambel, Universität Konstanz). Hier wird deutlicher, wie nicht nur das Engagement einzelner Wissenschaftler*innen die Transformation vorantreibt, sondern dieses Engagement als wissenschaftliches Leistungsmerkmal anerkannt wird bzw. werden soll. Die Universität Konstanz markiert diese Leistungsanerkennung in ihrer Open Science Policy als bestehenden Sachverhalt (Präambel). Die Friedrich-Alexander-Universität formuliert etwas detaillierter, dass die Einrichtung selbst für „[d]ie Einbettung von Open-Science-Praktiken in Rekrutierungs-, Forschungs- und Evaluierungskriterien“ verantwortlich ist (Seite 3, Punkt 3).

In Berlin wird dieser Blickwechsel ebenso gefordert: Das Berliner Hochschulgesetz, gültig ab dem 25. September 2021, legt unter § 41 Abschnitt 5 fest: „Die Hochschulen fördern die Anerkennung von Praktiken offener Wissenschaft (Open Science) bei der Bewertung von Forschungsleistungen im Rahmen ihrer internen Forschungsevaluation und bei Einstellungsverfahren“. Wie diese Forderung zukünftig in die Praktiken, Policies und Strategien von Berliner Einrichtungen Einzug hält, ist Gegenstand des weiteren Aushandlungsprozess, unter anderem im Rahmen der Hochschulverträge. Das Open-Access-Büro Berin hat im Auftrag von und in Abstimmung mit der AG Open-Access-Strategie für Berlin unter Leitung des ehemaligen Staatssekretärs für Wissenschaft und Forschung Steffen Krach und des Direktors der Universitätsbibliothek der Freien Universität Berlin Andreas Brandtner eine Empfehlung für eine Landesinitiative für mehr offene Wissenschaft in Berlin vorgelegt, die in diesem Blog in einer kurzen Fassung veröffentlicht wurde. In der Empfehlung für eine Landesinitiative Open Research Berlin streben die Berliner wissenschaftlichen und kulturellen Landeseinrichtungen gemeinsam an, die Förderung von Offenheit und Transparenz in Bezug auf den gesamten Forschungsprozesses im Sinne einer offenen Wissenschaft (Open Science bzw. Open Research) umzusetzen.

Die Universität Konstanz und die Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg haben mit ihren Open Science Policies primär den Bezug auf Handlungsfelder im Bereich der Hochschulen erweitert: Neben dem offenen Zugang zu Bildungsinhalten und Lehrmaterialien (Open Educational Ressources), der nachvollziehbaren Dokumentation von Methoden (Open Methodology), der Publikation von Forschungsdaten (Open Data) und Software (Open Source), der Publikation von Verwaltungsdaten sowie der offenen Wissenschaftskommunikation in und mit der Gesellschaft, wird Open Access als die uneingeschränkt zugängliche Publikation von Forschungsergebnissens zu einem Handlungsfeld von Vielen.

Ein Blick auf das Handlungsfeld Open Access innerhalb der Open Science Policy der Universität Konstanz zeigt, dass zwar wichtige Impulse aufgenommen werden, wie bspw. die Unterstützung offener Begutachtungsverfahren, doch werden diese Aussagen seitens der Einrichtung nicht mit verbindlichen Verantwortungsbereichen oder konkreten Unterstützungsangeboten untermauert. Die Friedrich-Alexander-Universität zählt hingegen das „Experimentieren mit Open-Peer-Review“ zu einer möglichen Open-Science-Praktik, die auch in Rekrutierungs-, Forschungs- und Evaluierungskriterien eingebettet wird (S. 3, Punkt 3). Ähnlich wie in den aktualisierten Open Access Policies der HU und FU wird auch dort die Verwendung von Identifikatoren wie ORCID iD empfohlen (S. 4).
Insgesamt bleibt der Verpflichtungsgrad zu Open Access in der Open Science Policy der Universität Konstanz hinter aktuellen Open Access Policies zurück. So wird die Erst- und Zweitveröffentlichung von Forschungsergebnissen (Goldener und Grüner Weg zu Open Access) nicht direkt adressiert, die Universität selbst verpflichtet sich nicht ausdrücklich zu Open Access in ihren Eigenpublikationen und ORCID iD findet keine Erwähnung. Auch die Open Science Policy der Hochschule Anhalt führt diese Open-Access-Praktiken nicht auf. Positiv hervozuheben ist jedoch, dass – ähnlich wie es die Alice Salomon Hochschule formuliert – auch dort Angehörige der Hochschule darin unterstützt werden, „verlagsunabhängige[r] Publikationsstrukturen“ zu nutzen (Abs. 4). Auffällig ist zudem, dass nur die Open Science Policy der FAU und die Open Access Policies der FU und der ASH selbst unter einer offenen Lizenz (Creative Commons) und mit einer doi (digital object identifier) veröffentlicht sind.

Den Erfolg von Policies bemessen?

Auch wenn Policies gemeinhin keine eigenen Quoten zur Bemessung von Open Access festlegen, formuliert die Open Science Policy der Friedrich-Alexander-Universität, dass die Einrichtung verantwortlich dafür ist, den Fortschritt von Open Science zu messen. Die Erhebung von Kennzahlen und die damit einhergehende institutseigene Dokumentation oder ein kooperierendes Monitoring müssen implementiert werden. In diesem Falle werden Hochschulangehörige darin unterstützt, ihre Forschungsergebnisse über das Forschungsinformationssystem FAU CRIS zu importieren, „mit einem entsprechenden Kennzeichen, ob es sich um eine Open-Access-Publikation handelt“ (FAU Policy).
Auch in Berlin werden Zahlen zum Bemessen des Fortschritts im Bereich Open Access erhoben. Die Open-Access-Strategie des Berliner Senats von 2015 formuliert unter anderem das Ziel, dass bis 2020 60% aller Zeitschriftenartikel aus wissenschaftlichen Einrichtungen in der Zuständigkeit des Landes Berlin im Sinne von Open Access zugänglich sein sollen. Die Zahlen des aktuellen Monitoring Berichts 2019 suggerieren, dass dieses Ziel höchstwahrscheinlich erreicht wird.

Doch wie kann die Quantifizierbarkeit von Fortschritt im Bereich Open Science über die reine Erhebung von Veröffentlichungen hinaus gehend bemessen werden? Diese Frage muss Bestandteil weiterer strategischer Überlegungen und einer offenen Diskussion, auch auf Länderebene sein. Das Open-Access-Büro beteiligt sich an dem Projekt „BUA Open Science Dashboards – Entwicklung von Indikatoren und Screening Tools für prototypische Umsetzung“ zusammen mit dem QUEST Center an der Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, um gemeinsam mit den Communities disziplinspezifische Indikatoren zu entwickeln, die neben Kriterien einen offenen Wissenschaftsparaxis auch die FAIR-Kriterien berücksichtigt.

Der Policy-Prozess als aktiver Kulturwandel

Häufig werden Aktualisierungen von Open Access und Open Science Policies sinnvoll durch Programme von Forschungsförderern wie der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) angestoßen (Putnings und Söllner 2022). Um die Möglichkeit eines dynamischen Policy-Prozesses zu etablieren, sollten diese einer Form der Aktualisierungspflicht unterliegen. Mit der Anpassung an gegenwärtige Herausforderungen und der Ausweitung der Handlungsfelder von Open Access zu Open Science können Policies als Prozess verstanden werden, in dem die Einrichtung einen gemeinsamen Standpunkt erarbeitet. Um einen Kulturwandel voranzutreiben, können Policies als verantwortungsvolle Positionierung der Einrichtung im Diskurs und als Motivation für die Forschenden dienen. Ob eine Policy auch Wirksamkeit zeigt, lässt sich jedoch nur durch den Erfolg von Open-Access- und Open-Science-Praktiken an den jeweiligen Einrichtungen bemessen.