Comparative Literature

Video about the Funding of Open Access Articles

Open Access in Comparative Literature

Scholars in the field of comparative literature conduct research on literature from all language areas, epochs, and cultures in a transnational, intercultural and interdisciplinary way. They conduct basic research in the areas of literary theory, aesthetics and poetics, and literary semiotics. Besides comparing different literatures, they engage with the relationship between literature and other forms of media and knowledge.

The field of comparative literature is characterised by a strong fixation on print media, and open access publishing is not yet widespread. Although a few comparative literature scholars in other countries, for example Jean-Claude Guédon in Canada, actively support open access (see Eve, 2014, p. 24), there have been no official statements to date from representatives of this field in Germany. One reason for this may be the heterogeneous publication cultures in the humanities, with which comparative literature has traditional ties. Its main forms of publication are monographs and edited collections. Because the reputation of the publisher is an important criterion in the field of comparative literature, it has a direct influence on how much scholarly literature is published open access. By contrast, bibliometric indicators, such as the Journal Impact Factor, citation rates, etc., play hardly any role at all in this discipline.

However, open access has increased in importance in the field of comparative literature in recent years. Prestigious publishers now enable and promote gold open access, and are also (more) open towards green open access. At the same time, there are an increasing number of institutional offerings to promote open access monographs and collections (open access publication funds; payment of publication costs from third-party funds; the German Research Foundation’s (DFG) Publication Grants Programme). These developments have resulted in an increase in open access publications. In addition, more and more resear­chers are availing of the possibility of self-archiving their publications in institu­tional repositories such as CompaRe. A number of non-university research institutions, for example the Leibniz-Zentrum für Literatur und Kulturforschung (ZfL) or the ICI Berlin Institute for Cultural Inquiry, have taken active steps. The ZfL is a signatory of the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities; it makes numerous publications available in CompaRe; and it is pursuing further open access projects. The ICI Berlin not only archives publications of the ICI Berlin Press in CompaRe, but also operates an in-house archive, the ICI Berlin Repository. The German Comparative Literature Association (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft, DGAVL) has decided to make its yearbooks available in open access after an embargo period. This trend is expected to continue.

Open Access Journals 

As of November 2021, the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) listed 228 entries under the keyword Literature (General).  

Important open access journals in this field include:

International diamond open access literature journals can also be found in the Open Library of Humanities.

Open Access Books 

As of November 2021, the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) listed 511 titles under the keyword Literature & Literary Studies and 409 titles under Literature: History & Criticism. OAPEN listed 519 titles under the subject Literature & Literary Studies and 422 titles under Literature: History & Criticism (as of November 2021).

International literature-related books published under a diamond open access model – that is, published open access without charging book processing charges (BPCs) – can also be found on the Open Book Publishers website.

The publishing house transcript is of particular relevance for open access publishing in the field of comparative literature.

Disciplinary Repositories 

The central repository for comparative literature is the Comparative Literature Repository – CompaRe. It is the main open access service offering of, the online portal of the Specialised Information Service for Compa­rative Literature (FID AVL). In the disciplinary repository CompaRe, which can also be used to publish works for the first time, scholars of comparative literature, research institutions and projects in this field, as well as scholarly publishers can make new publications or publications already published elsewhere freely available online.

The following repositories of neighbouring philologies, disciplines, and institutions are also of importance for scholars of comparative literature:

An overview of relevant repositories is provided by the Open Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR).

Other Offerings

Besides the disciplinary repository CompaRe, the Specialised Information Service for Comparative Literature (FID AVL) also provides an e-journal hosting service for open access journals and other periodical digital publications, such as working papers or series. Calls for papers for open access collections and other types of publications related to comparative literature can be publicised via the communication platform Vernetzen, which can be found on the subject portal

The online archives JSTOR and Project MUSE now also provide open access content of relevance to comparative literature.


Further Reading

  • Graf, D., Fadeeva, Y., & Falkenstein-Feldhoff, K. (Eds.). (2020). Bücher im Open Access: Ein Zukunftsmodell für die Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaften? Verlag Barbara Budrich.
  • Messerschmidt, N. (2011). Open Access in den Literaturwissenschaften. Ergebnisse qualitativer Interviews mit Wissenschaftlern der Deutschen Literatur.
  • Projekt AuROA (2022). Publizieren und Open Access in den Geisteswissenschaften. Erkenntnisse aus dem Projekt AuROA zu den Stakeholdern im Publikationsprozess. Link:
  • Söllner, K. (2017). Geisteswissenschaften. In K. Söllner & B. Mittermaier (Eds.), Praxishandbuch Open Access (1st edition, pp. 247–253). De Gruyter.

Subject editor of this page: Arne Mrotzek, Specialised Information Service for Comparative Literature (FID AVL) (Last updated: November 2021)