DFG formulates recommendations for German politics: Further expand Open Access

DFG paper "Strengthening Knowledge-Driven Research, Profiting from Knowledge Repositories" identifies key fields of action for the coming legislative period

With its 16-page impulse paper for the 20th legislative period of the German Bundestag, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has formulated what it considers to be the most important fields of action and recommendations to ensure that science can continue to play a key role in tackling central challenges in the future. Strengthening Knowledge-Driven Research, Profiting from Knowledge Repositories (literal translation) is the title of the paper (German version only), which addresses political actors at the beginning of the Bundestag election campaign and is now available on the DFG website.

Among other things, the paper mentions the further expansion of Open Access and the adaptation of funding structures as important fields of action to shape the digital transformation of publishing in a science-friendly way. Open Access provides unhindered access to scientific knowledge for all actors in science and society and offers a counterbalance to the corporate-dominated scientific publishing system. In addition to that, according to the DFG's impulse paper, the coronavirus pandemic shows "that rapid access to scientific information is of great importance."

The DFG calls for the establishment of transparency in publication costs, the organisation of adequate funding for OA publications and the safeguarding of basic infrastructures for scientific publishing in order to avoid possible cost increases. The implementation of Open Access as unhindered access to scientific publications goes hand in hand with a new remuneration model in which payment is made for publishing and not for access via licences. Specifically, the DFG calls for structural adjustments in science funding at both the federal and the state levels: "In the future, funding must be reallocated to institutions that produce OA publications in relation to the costs that incur there."

From the DFG's point of view, it is also increasingly important in this context to secure the basic infrastructures for scientific publications at the national level: These are institutional and subject repositories as well as publication infrastructures operated by scientific institutions. "However, the sustainable archiving of scientific content acquired with taxpayers' money by commercial actors (hosting and long-term archiving) is often only made possible through project funding," the impulse paper states. The same also applies to basic infrastructures that aim at supporting Open Access (including proof and safeguarding of publications as well as monitoring of publications and Open Access costs). In the sense of national sovereignty of and long-term investment in digital infrastructures, such publication-based services, which are relevant for the entire scientific landscape, should be safeguarded and long-term supported in a central manner.

Please find the official DFG report on the impulse paper here: https://www.dfg.de/service/presse/pressemitteilungen/2021/pressemitteilung_nr_13/index.html
Please find the impulse paper here: https://www.dfg.de/download/pdf/presse/20210505_pm_impulspapier_legislaturperiode.pdf