Open Access in 60 Seconds

Video about Open Access. (CC BY 3.0 DE)
Source: Brinken, H., Hauss, J. &  Rücknagel, J. (2021). Open Access in 60 seconds,

Financing of Open Access Articles. [german] (CC BY 3.0 DE)
Source: Brinken, H. (2020). Finanzierung von Open-Access-Artikeln,

Open Access in Gender Studies

Gender studies is a scientific field that is characterised by both disciplinarity and transdisciplinarity. Publishing practices and venues depend on the disciplines involved and are correspondingly heterogeneous. They are often shaped by the practices in the social sciences and humanities.

In gender studies, engagement with open access publishing models proceeded hesitantly at first. Today, however, the opportunities afforded by electronic publishing are being increasingly recognised. There are now a number of open access publications in German-language gender studies – especially among journals. There has also been a gradual increase in the number of open access publications in the area of books. Internationally, two developments can be distinguished. On the one hand, relevant, mainly English-language publications on gender studies are published with large commercial publishers that, to date, unfortunately offer only hybrid open access options against payment of article processing charges (APCs). On the other hand, there are a growing number of open access publications in the non-English-speaking world that use no-fee open access models, thereby making an important contribution to bibliodiversity.

Activities of the German Gender Studies Association

The German Gender Studies Association (Fachgesellschaft Geschlechterstudien) actively supports open access publishing. As one of the four editors of the Open Gender Journal, and as the provider of the Open Gender Platform, the association has anchored open access as an important field of activity in its task spectrum. In addition, within the association, the working group Open Digital Gender connects existing initiatives and engages with current developments in the areas of open access and open science.

Opportunities for Gender Studies

Open access publishing offers enormous opportunities, especially for gender studies. Because of political reservations with regard to gender studies, and the ambiguous location of the field between the disciplines, its results are subjected to reception barriers. The potentially greater visibility and the direct access to full texts enables open access publications to overcome these barriers and thus demonstrate their quality.

Open Access Journals

As of February 2021, the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) listed 116 entries under the keyword "Gender".

In Germany, the following open access journals are published in the area of gender studies:

These journals are not only available free of charge, they also fulfil the requirements for open access publications by using free licences. Only 15 of the journals listed in the DOAJ levy APCs.

Source: Brehm, E. (2021). Zweitveröffentlichungsrecht für Wissenschaftler*innen [german], Brinken, Helene. (CC BY 3.0 DE)

Disciplinary Repositories

With GenderOpen, which was established in 2018, gender studies has a disciplinary open access repository that ensures the long-term availability of publications under open access conditions. The repository informs authors about their self-archiving rights, thereby creating an awareness of the possibilities granted to them under German copyright law. Targeted collaborations with relevant specialist publishers enable in many cases the self-archiving of the original publisher’s version and the corresponding metadata after expiry of an embargo period.

The GenderOpen keyword index, Schlagwortindex GenderOpen, is a controlled vocabulary for the substantive description of gender studies publications. Developed within the framework of GenderOpen, it is also used by several journals, the Digital German Women’s Archive (Digitales Deutsches Frauenarchiv, DDF), and the reviewers database Gutachter*innen-Datenbank. In 2019, GenderOpen received the DINI Certificate for Open Access Publication Services. An overview of relevant repositories is also provided by the Open Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR).

Other Offerings

Open access in German-language gender studies has been decisively advanced by individual projects. A groundbreaking role in this regard was played by the project “Geschlechterforschung und Open Access. Ein Publikationsmodell für ein inter-/transdisziplinäres Forschungsfeld” (Gender Studies and Open Access. A Publication Model for an Inter-/Transdisciplinary Research Field), which was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and conducted at the Freie Universität Berlin (2011–2012). The project analysed the opportunities and challenges for open access publications in gender studies and showed that all the necessary technical and legal possibilities for implementing quality-assured open access publications exist. However, open access publications and electronic publication processes entail additional challenges, for example, clear divisions of roles, clarification of rights, and adaptation to transdisciplinary and cross-national standards.

Another open access offering is the Open Gender Platform, which was developed and built at the Freie Universität Berlin‘s Margherita von Brentano Center within the framework of a project (June 2018–September 2020) funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The project developed sustainable approaches for editorial workflows, business models, and quality assurance procedures and made them available to the entire field of gender studies for reuse. Deliverables included a reviewers database (Gutachter*innen-Datenbank) – that is, a directory of experts who have declared their willingness to act as reviewers for open access journals and books in Germany.

Furthermore, there are collaborations between the GenderOpen repository and the publishers Barbara Budrich and De Gruyter, on the basis of which the original publisher’s version of electronic full texts of articles from certain journals and the corresponding metadata may be made freely available after the expiry of an embargo period. Authors have the possibility of deciding at the time of publication that their contributions are to be made available under a Creative Commons (CC) licence after this embargo period. GenderOpen then releases the contributions automatically. This applies to the following journals:

The online archives JSTOR and Project MUSE now also provide open access content relevant to gender studies.

Open Science in Gender Studies

The topic of open research data is being taken up only hesitantly in gender studies. According to a needs analysis on research data infrastructure in gender studies, only a few researchers have experience of the reuse of research data. The difficulties in disciplinarily classifying gender studies repeat themselves also in relation to open research data. To date, there are no explicitly designated research repositories for gender studies. Even when metadata have been properly recorded, a search always requires the use of various search strategies with different storage locations, keywords, and disciplines. However, whether an independent storage location for open research data is called for in an inter- and transdisciplinary field such as gender studies, in which researchers work with diverse types of data, has not yet been conclusively settled.

Content editor of this page: Kathrin Ganz (Last updated: February 2021)