Published June 15, 2020 | Version v1
Journal article Open

Open Access Uptake in Germany 2010-18: Adoption in a diverse research landscape

  • 1. Göttingen State and University Library, University of Göttingen
  • 2. GESIS - Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Cologne
  • 3. Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies of Science (I2SoS), Bielefeld University


This study investigates the development of open access (OA) to journal articles from authors affiliated with German universities and non-university research institutions in the period 2010-2018. Beyond determining the overall share of openly available articles, a systematic classification of distinct categories of OA publishing allows to identify different patterns of adoption to OA. Taking into account the particularities of the German research landscape, variations in terms of productivity, OA uptake and approaches to OA are examined at the meso-level and possible explanations are discussed.

The development of the OA uptake is analysed for the different research sectors in Germany (universities, non-university research institutes of the Helmholtz Association, Fraunhofer Society, Max Planck Society, Leibniz Association, and government research agencies). Combining several data sources (incl. Web of Science, Unpaywall, an authority file of standardised German affiliation information, the ISSN-Gold-OA 3.0 list, and OpenDOAR), the study confirms the growth of the OA share mirroring the international trend reported in related studies. We found that 45% of all considered articles in the observed period were openly available at the time of analysis. Our findings show that subject-specific repositories are the most prevalent OA type. However, the percentages for publication in fully OA journals and OA via institutional repositories show similarly steep increases.

Enabling data-driven decision-making regarding OA implementation in Germany at the institutional level, the results of this study furthermore can serve as a baseline to assess the impact recent transformative agreements with major publishers will likely have on scholarly communication.


All codes, scripts and database queries used for data gathering and analysis are openly available in a Github repository. Interactive supplementary material is available in form of a dashboard. The article has been published in Scientometrics.


OA uptake Germany - preprint.pdf

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Journal article: 10.1007/s11192-021-04002-0 (DOI)