Woman reading in MDC library

Open Science

From Open Access to Open Science

Open Science includes not only open access to scientific publications but also to research data, scientific software and other research products. Open Access means to get access to scientific results with a minimum of financial, technical and legal barriers.

The understanding of the term openness is based on the definition of the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities - which the Helmholtz Association supported since 2003 as one of the initial signatories - and, in terms of an intelligent openness, takes into account the legitimate reasons to limit publicity.

The Helmholtz Association Working Group on open science represents by its members the fields of science, information technology, library and management of research data. Central tasks are to connect and to advise the actors of the Helmholtz-Association as well as to advance the further development of an open science strategy.

Open Science in the Helmholtz Association


The position of the MDC representative in this working group is currently open. On a commissarial basis, the MDC is represented by Wolf-Schröder Barkhausen (scientific documentalist in the library). He is the contact person for Open Access at the MDC.


Open Access

Open Access (OA) is the free online availability of digital content. It is best-known and most feasible for peer-reviewed scientific journal articles, which scholars publish without expectation of payment.

There are two roads to Open Access, with many variations. In Open Access Publishing, also known as the "golden" road to OA, journals make their articles openly accessible immediately on publication. One example of an Open Access publisher is the Public Library of Science (PLoS). Ways to find another OA journals is to check the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) or Open J-Gate. In Open Access Self-archiving, also called the "green" road to OA, authors make copies of their own published articles openly accessible, generally in an institutional repository. Most publishers has already given its green light to author self-archiving and the author can check the list "Publisher Copyright Policies and Self-Archiving" on the SHERPA web site.

For publishers that do not offer copyright regulations for author self-archiving, the Legal Department and the Library of the Max Delbrueck Center recommends to include the following clause into the contract:

»Max Delbrueck Center for Molecular Medicine shall be entitled to make the article freely accessible to the general public on the Internet or in some other form at the time of publication (alternatively 3 or 6 months after publication of the article).«

Green road at the MDC

The MDC Library has implemented a document server for depositing and accessing publications by scientists from the Max Delbrueck Center free of charge. It thus complies with the "HGF Assembly of Members" demand for free access to scientific results. The implementation of Open Access at the MDC follows primarily the green road. This means that these fulltexts that are collected in the MDC publication database will be deposited additionally in the MDC institutional repository by the library staff (back to 2004).

In terms of quality assurance it will be used and archived only peer-reviewed postprints and no preprints.

Implementing Open Access bears a lot of advantages:

  • worldwide better perception of the MDC through retrieval of citations and fulltexts via Google and another search engines
  • broader distribution of research results of the MDC
  • increasing citation rate, because it is easier to get the fulltext (PLoS Biology 4(5):e176)
  • increasing name recognition of scientists as well as the MDC itself
  • scientists will have the continuing ability to publish their results in high-ranking journals

This PDF-file (445 K) separates the most preferred publishers by MDC authors.

In case of questions

To clarify legal obscurities in terms of author contracts and copyright regulations please refer to Kirstin Bodensiek.


Other aspects of Open Access like technical and practical issues will be answered by Wolf Schröder-Barkhausen. 


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