Open Access Policy at the Leibniz Institute for Contemporary History


The Leibniz Institute for Contemporary History is a 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 running of an archive and library 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 research and work by external researchers that has been favorably reviewed by the Institute.
Facilitating the visibility and usability of the research outputs is a priority. The Institute supports the idea of open access and, since 2003, has been taking major 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 2016-2020.”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 the history publishing market.3 In contrast with disciplines whose publications exclusively serve the internal discourse of the field, historical and, in particular, contemporary historical publications reach far beyond the academic community to the broader public and are part of the general market for books and journals. This situation requires a corresponding open access policy. In line with the position adopted b 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 disseminated as widely and as meaningfully as possible.


Recommendations and Obligations

The Leibniz Institute for Contemporary History pursues the goal of making as many publications as possible available in accordance with the principles of open access. This is generally achieved with “green open access” in terms of providing access to publications as soon as possible, as implemented via the open archives of Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte and, via the Institute’s own document server with metadata available on LeibnizOpen.
In the case of direct open access publications, the Institute recommends publication under a free user license 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 staff’s publications 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.



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;
  • with a document server for the monographs and edited volumes of its publication series;
  • by allowing researchers to freely offer their publications via the document server, whenever this is legally permissible;
  • by providing support in connection with options for the financing of possible publication fees for open access media;
  • 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 created a commission to regularly evaluate all aspects of the matter and to adapt them to changing framework conditions.
Contact person: Dr. Daniel Schlögl

Last updated: 02-05-2018



  1. Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities ( Retrieved on 2 May 2018).
  2. Open-Access-Policy der Leibniz-Gemeinschaft 2016-2020 ( Retrieved on 2 May 2018).
  3. See Wolfgang Schön, Die Transformation gestalten: Open Access zwischen Fachfunktion und Strukturdiskurs. Eröffnungs-Keynote zu den Open-Access-Tagen 2016, München 10.-11.10.2016, Video-Mitschnitt, Minute 7-8 ( Retrieved on 2 May 2018).
  4. See Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (ed.), Open Access in Deutschland. Die Strategie des Bundesministeriums für Bildung und Forschung, Berlin 2016. ( Retrieved on 2 May 2018), p. 5.

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