Open Access in Media Studies

The field of media studies deals with the theory, history, and aesthetics of media and media systems. In Germany, media studies as a domain of cultural studies developed in the 1970s especially in the fertile soil of German literary studies, but it also borrowed concepts and methods from theatre studies, art history, and philosophy. While film studies is sometimes an integral part of stu­dy programmes in media studies, it is also offered as a degree programme in its own right. Media studies differs from the social-science and empirically oriented domains of journalism and communication studies, although overlaps may occur in some institutes and study programmes.

In media studies, as in most disciplines in the humanities and cultural sciences, it is only in recent years that the switch to open access has begun on a broad front. One reason for this lies in the publishing culture in media sciences, where monographs and edited collections still play an important role. The reputation of the publisher is an important criterion for publishing activities in media science. By contrast, bibliometric indicators, such as the Journal Impact Factor, play only a comparatively minor role. In recent years, publishers have signifi­cantly increased their commitment to open access, with the result that nume­rous gold and green open access options are available to authors.

The German Society for Media Studies’ (Gesellschaft für Medienwissenschaft, GfM) journal, Zeitschrift für Medienwissenschaft (ZfM), has been published open access with the publishing house transcript since 2017. By flipping its jour­nal to open access, the GfM sent an important signal. A further milestone was the es­tablishment in 2018 of the open access repository for media studies media/rep/, which is located at the University of Marburg. In the same year, the GfM established the scholarly interest group (SIG) Open Media Studies and a blog of the same name. 

Open Access Journals

As of December 2021, the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) listed 283 indexed journals under the subject Media.

Important open access journals in the field of media studies in the German-speaking and European areas include:

The film studies journal montage AV was one of the first journals to make its issues openly available online after an embargo period. Its extensive digital archive can be downloaded free of charge. After an embargo period of 12 months, the issues of the journal Digital Culture & Society are also freely available. 

An overview of international open access journals in the field of media studies can also be found on the website Open Access in Media Studies.

Video about the Funding of Open Access Articles

Open Access Books

As of December 2021, the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) listed 414 titles under Media studies; in the OAPEN Library, 451 titles were listed in this category. In addition, there are categories that are of relevance especially for film studies, such as Film theory & criticism, Film, TV & radio, and Films, cinema, in which a total of 289 titles were listed in DOAB and 310 titles in the OAPEN Library as of December 2021.

The most important German publishers that publish media studies titles in open access include De Gruyter, Springer, transcript and Schüren. The publisher meson press, which grew out of a project at the University of Lüneburg, publishes only open access books.

The following series make a number of their titles available in open access:

In 2021, within the framework of a project on the open access transition, which was funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the publishing house transcript established the Open Library Medienwissenschaft in collaboration with the specialised information service for media, film and communication studies

Disciplinary Repositories

The most important repository for German-language media studies is media/rep/, which was established in 2018. The repository collects media stu­dies publications and makes them available in open access. Its holdings include journal articles, contributions to edited collections, monographs, and series, as well as complete journal archives, for example montage AV, AugenBlick, Naviga­tionen, die Zeitschrift für Medienwissenschaft, Digital Culture & Society, VIEW, and NECSUS European Journal of Media Studies. Besides publications in text form, media/rep/ archives videos; from the end of 2021 on, it will also archive audio files.

Furthermore, many publications in the field of media studies are also self-archived in the Social Science Open Access Repository (SSOAR).

Video about Self-Archiving Rights

Practical Tip

Finding Open Access Literature (in German)

Other Offerings

Open Science in Media Studies

The German Society for Media Studies’ (GfM) scholarly interest group (SIG) Open Media Studies, which was established in 2018, aims to raise media studies scholars’ awareness of all aspects of open science and to make work processes more transparent. 

From 2022 onwards, the open access repository for media studies media/rep/, in collaboration with NFDI4Culture, will accept also media studies research data.


Further Reading

Content editors of this page: Dr Dietmar Kammerer (Philipps-Universität Marburg/NFDI4Culture) and Andreas Kirchner (University of Konstanz/ (Last updated: December 2021)


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