TU Berlin's Open Access Policy

Passed unanimously by the Academic Senate on December 6, 2017

In its Mission Statement, the Technische Universität Berlin commits to research and teaching that is based on social, ethical and humanist grounds. It is against this background that research and teaching in the natural, planning and engineering sciences are inextricably linked with the humanities and social sciences. It is particularly important to TU Berlin that research findings are sustainably disseminated, accessible and visible.

In order to achieve this, TU Berlin supports the research political request for Open Access to scholarly knowledge as laid out in the “Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities”.

TU Berlin's Executive Board and Academic Senate strongly recommend that the university's members publish their research results Open Access. In keeping with the Berlin Declaration, the following guidelines have been adopted:

  1. TU Berlin recommends that members of the university publish their work Open Access and under a free license (preferably a Creative Commons license CC BY). It is supporting Open Access in a number of ways, including setting up a publication fund to cover Open Access fees.
  2. TU Berlin is calling on members of the university to exercise their secondary exploitation right and to self-archive all publications in repositories, either at the same time as the publication or after a set period of time. The TU Berlin repository can be used for this.
  3. TU Berlin encourages all university members to transfer non-exclusive rights of use when signing a copyright transfer agreement. If this is not possible, it is recommended to reserve the right to self-archive the publication in the TU Berlin repository.

  4. TU Berlin asks all university members to reevaluate their role as reviewers, editors and in other publishing processes with regard to the respective Open Access policy, to use their position to influence publishers and learned societies and to preferentially favour Open Access publications with their voluntary work where possible. Non-commercial publishing options are particularly encouraged.
  5. TU Berlin supports Open Access to research data.The management of research data is governed by the “Guidelines on Research Data Management at TU Berlin”.
  6. Members of TU Berlin can publish their work Open Access in the TU Berlin University Press. This applies to monographs, anthologies and Open Access journals.
  7. TU Berlin's own publications should appear under the terms of free licenses (preferably the Creative Commons license CC BY).
  8. The university has appointed an Open Access Representative to implement the Open Access Policy. The University Library is responsible for coordinating Open Access activities and developing Services.

Glossary accompanying TU Berlin's Open Access Policy

Berlin Declaration

The 2003 Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities is one of the foundation stones of the international Open Access movement. It calls for Open Access to scholarly information. This includes written publications as well as research data, images and multimedia objects. TU Berlin signed the declaration in August 2016.


CC BY is an open license distributed by the non-profit organization Creative Commons. The license permits every person to copy, distribute and adapt a work, provided that the creator is appropriately credited and that modifications are indicated. With this license, works can be published Open Access in line with the principles of the Berlin Declaration.

Closed Access

Closed Access means that a work can only be accessed on payment of a fee. In academia these fees have traditionally been paid by libraries, for example by signing license agreements. Closed Access means that all rights of use are transferred to the publisher. Not even authors can re-use their works without obtaining the publisher’s permission. Self-archiving options are thus limited.

Creative Commons Licenses

Creative Commons licenses (CC licenses) are open licenses developed by the non-profit organization Creative Commons. There are six CC licenses available, providing authors with various options depending on the extent to which they want to give the general public the right to make use of their work. All CC licenses require attribution, meaning that for each use authors must be credited appropriately.

First Publication

A work is usually published by a publishing house (first publication), e.g in the form of a monograph, an article in an anthology or in a journal. If works are published closed access, they may under certain conditions be self-archived to ensure Open Access.

Open License

A open license is a standardized license agreement. With an open license creators can grant the public certain rights of use that go beyond those provided by copyright law. For software open licenses such as the BSD license, the GNU General Public License (GPL) and the Apache license are well established. For texts, images, music and videos Creative Commons licenses are the most common.

Rights of Use

Rights of use determine how copyrighted works can be used by authors, publishers and third parties. Authors transfer either non-exclusive or exclusive rights of use. A non-exclusive right of use entitles you to use the work in accordance with the license agreement. An exclusive right of use, on the other hand, entitles only the rightsholder(s) to use the work. No other parties are permitted to use the work. For example, for authors who have granted others exclusive rights of use in a Copyright Transfer Agreement self-archiving options are limited.

Open Access

Open Access means that works can be archived reliably, accessed freely and used legally. Examples of re-use include storage, digital teaching, publication on social media platforms and text and data mining. The term applies to publicly funded scholarly publications, research data and digital cultural heritage.

Open Access Representative

The Open Access Representative advises the TU Executive Board on strategic decisions related to Open Access. She works closely with the University Library’s Open Access team, which is responsible for implementation.

Article Processing Charges

Article Processing Charges (APCs, also known as publication fees) are charges made by publishers before publishing an author’s article. They are usually paid by the institution on behalf of the author. TU Berlin has set up an Open Access Publication Fund, which covers APCs under certain conditions.

Open Access Policy

The TU Berlin Open Access Policy includes recommendations for TU members to publish Open Access and commitments by the university to provide corresponding services in terms of advice, financing and infrastructure.

Open Access Publication Fund

An Open Access Publication Fund is an entity set up by an scholarly institution to cover article processing charges. Members of the institution are entitled to apply for funds. TU Berlin has established a publication fund which is managed by the University Library.


A repository is a platform for publishing and archiving scholarly publications, research data and cultural heritage data. DepositOnce is TU Berlin’s repository for publications and research data. Other well-known repositories include arXiv and EconStore.

TU Berlin University Press

The TU Berlin University Press is the university’s own publishing entity and is run by the University Library. As an Open Access publisher, it supports and promotes unrestricted access to scholarly works. The University Press publishes monographs and anthologies online and, if required, in print.

Copyright Transfer Agreement

A Copyright Transfer Agreement (CTA) determines the rights and obligations of authors and publishers. Agreements on the transfer of rights of use are a key component. In a CTA with closed access conditions, authors grant the publisher exclusive rights of use. After signing such a CTA they can no longer make use of their work without obtaining the publisher's permission. Under Open Access conditions, however, authors transfer non-exclusive rights of use to the publisher. Authors thus retain the right to self-archive.


Through self-archiving works that were published under closed access conditions can be made Open Access. Works are self-archived in a repository, either on the same day as the publication or after a set period of time (embargo). Uploading work on personal websites or similar does not count as self-archiving, as it does not guarantee important features such as long-term accessibility and citability.

Secondary Exploitation Right

The Secondary Exploitation Right outlined in section 38, paragraph 4 of the German Copyright Law governs self-archiving. Under certain conditions authors may make their works publicly available and thus ensure Open Access. This right applies even if self-archiving is not permitted in the copyright transfer agreement.