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OLH-DE Project Promotes Open Library of Humanities (OLH) in Germany

OLH-DE Project Promotes Open Library of Humanities (OLH) in Germany
A new open access project called OLH-DE has launched at the University of Konstanz. Started March 2018 and funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the project seeks to further promote the Open Library of Humanities (OLH) in Germany.

The OLH is an England-based scholarly-led non-profit organisation for publishing open access journals from all over the humanities. It is funded by an international library consortium of about 250 members paying a small fee each to finance the more than 20 journals hosted by the OLH platform. Thus, the OLH does not charge any APCs from authors and offers modern-day publication of highest standard tailored to the needs of the humanities.

The project goal is to strengthen the OLH’s footing in Germany. On the one hand, German-language journals will be won over to the consortially funded open access model; on the other hand, the project will attempt to raise the number of German institutions among the OLH members.

Facing a challenge
‘The promotion of OLH in Germany faces one major problem.’, says Dr. Anja Oberländer, head of open access and electronic publication at the University of Konstanz, ‘There are almost no German-language journals supported by the OLH at the moment. Only one German-language journal, Le foucaldien, is currently supported by the Open Library of Humanities and a second German title is forthcoming. So, German institutions are reluctant to become a member, partly because they fear low relevance of the available journals to their academic staff relying heavily on German-language publications.’

The problem, obviously, is circular, since there is little chance of German-language journals applying at the OLH when the voting consortium consist mostly of Anglo-American institutions with low interest in German-language journals.

A three-stage project
Therefore, the OLH-DE project attacks both issues at the same time in a three-stage process:
Firstly, an elaborate analysis with interviews and extensive surveys will provide insights into the German journal publication system in general and especially against the background of open access transformations. A second analysis will research the kind of environment the OLH has to offer in order to win further German institutions as members.

In a second stage, eligible journals for a transition to the OLH’s open access model will be identified and editors contacted, with multipliers spreading the word in the scientific communities. A German board which will vote on the German journals that will be supported by the OLH is going to be established. Similarly, the project team will approach representatives of German institutions to advertise OLH membership.

To avoid the problem of a high number of journals raising the membership fees significantly, the third stage of the project offers a bridge fund that will finance the newly flipped German-language journals for a transition period until enough additional members have been included.

The results of the various analyses will be published open access during the course of the project.

If you would like to support OLH-DE by being a multiplier in your field, or if you would like to get further information on how to transform your peer-reviewed German-language journal, please contact Dr Anja Oberländer at the University of Konstanz (anja.oberlaender [at] uni-konstanz.de).

Blog post written by Lena Dreher, Universität Konstanz.

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24 Oct 2020

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