Open Access Policy at the Leibniz Institute for Contemporary History

Last updated: 20 October 2018


The Leibniz Institute for Contemporary History (IfZ) is a non-university research institution with an international scope and with an integrated supporting infrastructure. The Institute’s statutory objectives include the implementation of research projects in contemporary history and the hosting of archives and libraries as well as, in particular, the publication of research results as part of a broad transfer of knowledge to the public. This includes both the Institute’s own studies and work by external researchers that has been favorably reviewed by the Institute.

The Institute views research in contemporary history as central to democracy studies for the 21st century and therefore supports to paradigm of open science. In order to further the active and optimal transfer of academic knowledge to societal discourse and the sustainable usability of empirical research results, the IfZ supports the concept of open access. Since 2003 the Institute has been taking considerable steps towards putting this into practice in an increasingly sophisticated manner and in accordance with the “Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities”1 as well as the “Open Access Policy of the Leibniz Association”.2

This development towards open access must, for the sake of research, take into account the culture of reception of the particular academic field as well as the standards of its publication market. In contrast with disciplines whose publications circulate exclusively within the field itself, historical and, in particular, contemporary historical publications reach far beyond the boundaries of the discipline to the broader public and are part of the general market for books and journals. This specific communications approach requires a corresponding open access policy. In line with the position of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research,4  the publication strategy of the IfZ therefore involves using both the advantages of printed publications as well as those of open access in order to ensure that contemporary historical research can be received as widely and as in depth as possible.


Recommendations and Obligations

The Leibniz Institute for Contemporary History pursues the goal of making as many publications available as possible in accordance with the principles of open access. This is generally performed along the lines of “green open access” in terms of providing access to publications as soon as possible, on the basis of valid agreements, via the open archives of Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte as well as the institute’s “Zeitgeschichte Open” platform,5 with metadata available on LeibnizOpen.

In the case of direct open access publications, the IfZ recommends publication under the free user license “Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Germany” (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 DE)6 that complies with the open access principle while protecting authors’ rights as much as possible.

The Leibniz Institute for Contemporary History aims to make its publications and those of its staff available to open access via its document server. Interested authors are therefore asked to secure their own usage rights on a permanent basis so that they can transfer basic usage rights for this form of publication. The IfZ recommends that, when applying for projects, researchers should apply for third-party funding for open access, if the research results are to be published in line with direct “golden” open access, possibly as a supplementary publication in addition to a printed edition.



The Leibniz Institute for Contemporary History supports open access in the following ways:

  • by making Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte accessible with a “moving wall” in its public archive since 2007;

  • with publication contracts that permit open access publications;

  • by running the Zeitgeschichte Open document server for the monographs and edited volumes of its publication series in cooperation with the Bavarian State Library;

  • by allowing researchers to freely offer their publications via the document server, whenever this is legally permissible;

  • through its work on the conception and application of the open access fund for monographs established by the Leibniz Association as well as its efforts regarding the operations and further development of the fund;

  • by informing its research staff about open access and assisting them in the clarification of legal issues in connection with the publication of their research results;

  • by establishing the position of an open access manager at the library.

In order to further develop its open access strategy, the Institute has formed a commission to regularly evaluate all aspects of the matter and to adapt them to changing framework conditions.
Contact person: Dr. Daniel Schlögl


1. Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities (, last accessed on 20 October 2020.)
2. Open Access Policy of the Leibniz Association as of May 2020 (, last accessed on 20 October 2020.)
3. Cf. Wolfgang Schön, Die Transformation gestalten: Open Access zwischen Fachfunktion und Strukturdiskurs. Keynote address at the Open-Access-Tage 2016, Munich 10-11 October 2016, Video recording, minutes 7-8 (, last accessed on 20 October 2020.)
4. Cf. Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (ed.), Open Access in Deutschland. Die Strategie des Bundesministeriums für Bildung und Forschung, Berlin 2016 (, last accessed on 20 October 2020, p. 5.)
5. Zeitgeschichte Open. Die Open-Access-Plattform des Instituts für Zeitgeschichte (, last accessed on 20 October 2020.)
6. Cf., last accessed on 20 October 2020.

© Institut für Zeitgeschichte