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Helmholtz Association adopts open access policy

(PresseBox) (Berlin, ) Scientific publications involving scientists from the Helmholtz Association should be freely available to the public. This is the intention of a new open access policy recently adopted by the Assembly of Members of Germany’s largest research organisation. According to this policy, publications in the natural sciences should be made available free of charge within six months at the latest; in the humanities and social sciences the deadline is twelve months.

“By adopting these new guidelines, the Helmholtz Association is promoting sustainable open access to scientific knowledge,” said Otmar D. Wiestler, the Association’s President. “It is a way to enhance the comprehensive transfer of our findings to society, science and the economy.” In addition, he noted that with this policy the Helmholtz Association is making a concrete contribution to implementing the “open science" strategy proposed by the G7 Science and Technology Ministers’ Meeting, and that it is actively rooting open science in the European Research Area.

For many years now, the Helmholtz Association has advocated open access to scientific publications, research data and software. It was one of the first signatories to the 2003 Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities. Since 2005, its very own Helmholtz Open Science Coordination Office has been helping the Association’s scientists put open science into practice. For example, they make their publications accessible free of charge on open access document servers, known as repositories, and they publish increasingly in open access journals.

In the words of Helmholtz President Wiestler, “the comprehensive open access policy now adopted provides all 18 Helmholtz Centres with a clear and reliable operational framework for transforming scientific findings to open access”. For example, the policy could be implemented by publishing in open access journals or via secondary publication in repositories. The freedom remains to opt for a quality-assured publication outlet for the initial publication, and thus to garner the highest possible degree of attention.

Ever since 2013, recipients of support from the Helmholtz Association’s Initiative and Networking Fund must adhere to a rule that is similar to the newly adopted policy and that takes its bearings from the open access rules of Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. “Our new open access policy seizes on the growing importance of open science,” said Wiestler. “In this way we are systematically and substantially expanding open access to scientific information.”

Further information

Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft Deutscher Forschungszentren e.V.

The Helmholtz Association contributes to solving major challenges facing society, science and the economy with top scientific achievements in six research fields: Energy, Earth and Environment, Health, Key Technologies, Matter, Aeronautics, Space and Transport. With approximately 38.000 employees in 18 research centres and an annual budget of four billion euros, the Helmholtz Association is Germany's largest scientific organisation. Its work follows in the tradition of the great natural scientist Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894).