New Studies on the Long-term Development of Open Access in Germany

The BMBF project "Synergies for Open Access" and the BMBF funding line "Quantitative Science Research"'s projects publish results

Two explorative studies examine the development of Open Access in Germany over a long period of time: In the study Open Access in Germany Development in the Years 2005 - 2019 (literal translation of the German title) focuses on the differentiation of publication data according to open access status, forms of publication, subject areas and information on research funders. The BMBF's Quantitative Science Research funding line's study Open access uptake in Germany 2010-2018: adoption in a diverse research landscape examines the development of OA availability of scientific journal articles in Germany that were published between 2010 and 2018 and indexed in the Web of Science. Both analyses demonstrate the continuous increase in OA publications.

Open Access in Germany - Development in the years 2005 - 2019

The Synergies for Open Access (SynOA) project records in its new study Open Access in Germany (original title in German) the publication output in Germany and its development in relation to OA in Germany and the individual German states over a period of 15 years since 2005.
The evalution's data source were data extracts from Unpaywall, a data service for finding OA versions of scientific and scholarly articles on the web, and Dimensions, a multidisciplinary publication and citation database.

Among the key findings were:

  • "Gold Open Access" publication output is increasingly gaining ground over Closed Access (growth rate at 5 per cent), with an annual growth rate of 25 per cent. Since the evalution period's beginning, the general German publication output has risen evenly by 177 percent from just over 100,000 publications to almost 300,000.
  • The OA share has increased by about 20 percent in all federal states, but the distribution and development has proceeded at different levels. The volume of publications in the individual federal states is shaped by the size of the state and the number of publishing institutions based in each. At the top: Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia, Berlin and Baden-Württemberg.
  • The three large publishers Springer Nature, Elsevier and Wiley dominate the publication volume with a combined share of 59 percent; pure OA publishers, on the other hand, only have a very small share of 3.6 percent.

The study can be viewed at

Open access uptake in Germany 2010-2018: adoption in a diverse research landscape

The BMBF-funded projects OAUNI and OASE, which were involved in the study, analysed the development of OA in the German research landscape between 2010 and 2018. The evaluations show a significant increase in the proportion of OA in publication output, although major country- and institution-specific differences in terms of productivity, OA acceptance and adoption strategies became apparent. The authors can attribute the results to the heterogeneous research landscape in Germany with analyses separated by sector. The individual sectors are:

An interactive data supplement, which can be used to compare the OA shares at the level of the different sectors, accompanies the analysis:

Please find the study here: