Third-Party Funding

In certain cases, funding of open access publications is also available through the funding institutions of research projects, and thus from third-party funds. Such funding may come from publication or non-personnel resources that have already been applied for, or may be secured through supplementary applications. In the case of third-party funding, the applicable funding guidelines must always be observed.

German Research Foundation (DFG)

The German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG) explicitly encourages researchers and research projects it supports to publish their research results open access. The DFG has included its recommendation for open access publishing in its general guidelines for the use of funds. The DFG funds open access publications directly through the funds for publications and through publication grants, and indirectly through the support of publication funds at academic institutions, such as the publication fund for journal articles at Humboldt-Universität. Information can be found on the DFG's overview page on open access.

Funds for publications in research projects funded by DFG

In principle, fixed amount funds for publications can be obtained from the DFG with proposals for research projects, which can then be used to finance open access publications. If additional publication or material funds are applied for, they can also be used to finance open access publications.

Publication grants for book publications from research projects not funded by DFG

With the funding programme Publication Grants of the DFG, electronic book publications as well as open access books can be funded (since March 2021). Individual researchers whose book publications do not result from research funded by the DFG are eligible to apply.

Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is committed to improve the framework conditions for open access in Germany even further and has therefore presented an open access strategy in September 2016. A central aspect of the new strategy is the introduction of an open access clause for all projects funded by the BMBF. Scientific articles in journals that have been produced in connection with BMBF projects must be freely accessible on the internet either immediately upon publication or after an embargo period of a maximum of twelve months.

The BMBF's Post-Grant Fund supports publication fees for publications from concluded BMBF projects that were completed no more than three years ago. According to the funding terms, publication costs of up to € 2,000 (net) per publication can be funded in full. If the publication costs exceed € 2,000, an additional 20% of the additional amount is funded. The maximum funding amount per publication is € 2,400 (net).

Applications can be submitted at any time via a form. The legally binding signature required in the application form for applications from members of Humboldt-Universität is provided by the Service Research Centre (contact: Dr. Maria Abad Andrade or Dr. Carsten Gerrits).

European Union

The European Commission (EC) and the European Research Council (ERC) pursue the goal of ensuring the widest possible dissemination and worldwide access to the research results funded by the scientific research framework programmes of the European Union. Therefore, open access publishing of these research results is mandatory.

Horizon Europe

Scientific publications resulting from projects in the Horizon Europe research framework programme must be published open access according to the programme guidelines and the open science policy of the EU. Open access is mandatory here, as it was in the predecessor programme Horizon 2020 (see below). An important change is that licensing these publications under free licenses is mandatory. By default, the Creative Commons licence CC BY must be used. Exceptions exist for monographs and other long-text formats. Help and recommendations are available on our information page on licences.

Horizon 2020

Open access is mandatory for all scientific publications resulting from projects in Horizon 2020. For research data, there is a flexible pilot called "Open Research Data Pilot" (ORD Pilot). This is intended to improve access to and re-use of research data. Comprehensive information on this can be found on the European Commission's website.

FP7 Post-Grant Open Access Pilot

Funding by the EU was related to projects of the previous 7th EU Research Framework Programme and publications that were completed after the project period. The possibility of post-grant funding was extended until the end of February 2018 and has now expired.


Some foundations or foundation-like institutions that fund scientific research also award publication grants. Increasingly, these can also be used for open access publications.

Often, such publication grants are already part of a funded research project or can be applied for in addition to an existing research grant, as is the case, for example, at the political foundations as well as at the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the Volkswagen Foundation and the Fritz Thyssen Foundation. Sometimes, publication grants are also available as an independent funding program without the condition of prior research funding, for example at the Zeit-Stiftung (Publikationsprogramm Offene Wissenschaft).

You can search for suitable foundations by conducting a standard online search via search engines as well as in directories of foundations. When searching online, you should consider the various terms used; common terms include publication grant (Publikationszuschuss), publication subsidy (Publikationsbeihilfe), printing cost grant (Druckkostenzuschuss), printing cost subsidy (Druckkostenbeihilfe). Directories of foundations are maintained, for example, by the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft and the Bundesverband Deutscher Stiftungen.