What is Open Access?

What is Open Access?

Open access (OA) refers to a publishing and distribution model for scholarly communication that makes research information available to readers online at no cost, rather than the traditional model of charging readers for access. 

A key motivation for the development of the OA concept was that scholarly literature should be publicly available on the Internet free of charge, so that anyone interested can read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, link to, and use full texts in any other conceivable legal way, without encountering financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those associated with Internet access itself.

The Max Planck Society is one of the founders of the international Open Access movement. The publication of the "Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities" on October 22, 2003 and the subsequent annual conferences initiated a process that has raised awareness of the issue of access to scientific information. 2023 thus marks the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Berlin Declaration.

DEAL contracts entered into force

DEAL contracts entered into force

Institutions that together are responsible for about 90% of the total number of publications from Germany in the journals of the publishers Elsevier, Springer Nature and Wiley based on the figures for 2022 are participating in the contracts.

Collectively, the DEAL agreements have the potential to shift around half of German research output in scientific journals to Open Access every year over the next five years. This will make research results from Germany immediately freely available, accessible free of charge worldwide and re-usable. It will also give hundreds of institutions in the country, and their researchers and students, maximum access to publishing platforms and content that is not yet openly accessible.

The DEAL agreement with Elsevier was subject to a 70% participation rate. The impressive participation rate of 90% means that a further contractual agreement will now come into effect: a 2% reduction in the agreed publish and read fee. This means that the fee for the first year of the contract will be €2,500 instead of €2,550.

Institutions that have not yet signed up can do so at any time during the five-year contract. 


Open Access 2020

The OA2020 Initiative was established at the 12th Berlin Open Access conference in 2015, where thought leaders in the global Open Access movement came together to deliberate on concrete actions that would finally offer an incisive, feasible and rapid path toward an open information environment.

The Berlin Declaration

20th anniversary of the Berlin Declaration
With the 16th Berlin Open Access Conference, organized by the OA2020 Initiative and hosted by the Max Planck Society, participants returned to the setting where the Berlin Declaration originated. There, they discussed how to refine and renew our approaches to achieving the vision for an open information environment in the service of science and society, with a particular focus on transformative agreements.

A representative selection of leaders in scholarly publishing were invited to summarise their perspectives on the current state of the Open Access transformation in scholarly publishing and, looking ahead to the medium term, their thoughts on the opportunities and challenges for providing the best possible scholarly publishing services to researchers, in support of an open, transparent, sustainable, inclusive and globally equitable scholarly communication paradigm.


The DEAL / Elsevier Agreement

The DEAL / Elsevier Agreement

September 06, 2023
The DEAL Consortium and Elsevier Signed Transformative Open Access Agreement
New Open Access agreement with IoP Publishing
The Max Planck Digital Library has established a new transformative open access agreement with Insitute of Physics Publishing
Transformative agreement with PNAS
The three-year pilot agreement, which runs from May 1, 2023 through April 30, 2026, enables corresponding authors affiliated with the Max Planck Society to publish their research articles open access in PNAS without paying individual article processing charges (APCs). The agreement also includes access to PNAS content for all Max Planck Society researchers.
Open Access Books: New contract with Springer Nature
Max Planck Digital Library Signs Open Access Book Contract with Springer Nature
The DEAL / Wiley Agreement

The DEAL / Wiley Agreement

October 28, 2021
Results of the publication year 2020
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