We develop Model Contracts and work for more Cooperation and Standardisation in Open Access Book Publishing

What is Project AuROA all about?

Open Access publications are easier to find, spread faster, and offer free access to knowledge. However, there often is a lack of standards. The joint research project „AuROA – Authors and Legal Certainty for Open Access“ aims to change this for literature in the German humanities and social sciences. Authors, publishers, book traders, libraries and other actors in publishing are being brought together. We collect the necessary and possible services in the publishing process in a catalog of services and discuss quality criteria of scientific publications. Out of this, modular model contracts for open access publications will be developed. These will be published and freely available on this website in summer/fall 2022.

As this project focuses mostly on publications in German(y), many of its publications will be in German. Please feel free to nevertheless contact us in English if you have any questions, would like to exchange knowledge or simply connect with us. Please use the „Kontakt“-form linked in the top right corner by filling in your name, e-mail-address and message („Nachricht“).

The project is led by the Duisburg-Essen University Library, working jointly with the Communication and Management department at the IST University of Applied Sciences (IST) in Düsseldorf as well as the the Book Studies department at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU).

Bringing actors togethers

Open Access is spreading in the so-called book subjects, but is still connected to numerous open questions and insecurities. Interests collide when it comes to free accessibility of scientific publications. Exchange and networking are therefore fundamental for the project – especially in the highly diverse publishing landscape of the humanities and social sciences. In workshops in May and July 2021 the interests, wishes and worries of book traders, publishers, libraries, researchers, lecturers, and authors were brought together. This ensures the model contracts will include the perspectives of all actors in the publishing process.

Developing a catalog of services

In the current publishing process the roles and tasks of publishers, (university) libraries, and authors often intertwine. In project AuROA a task-centered catalog of services will be developed about the needs and options of an Open Access publication. This compilation is aimed at turning publishing into a simpler and more transparent process. It also helps with clearly stating agreements and services in the modular model contracts.

Discussing quality standards

Ensuring maximum quality in all sectors is a pre-condition for a serious publication and integral part of the scientific publishing process. This encompasses not only technical standards, but especially scientific criteria. Organising a rigorous and transparent peer review based on expertise is a key service for high quality Open Access publications. In exchange with researchers in the humanities and social sciences as well as actors in the Open Access movement, quality standards will be discussed and operationalised. The results are incorporated into the model contracts.

Model Contracts for Open Access

The biggest goal of the joint research project AuROA is standardising Open Access book publishing by developing legally secure, versatile model contracts. These cover important subjects such as usage rights, agreed services as well as publishing licenses. The basis for developing the contracts are the individual steps in the project: the stakeholder process, the catalog of services, and the discussion of quality criteria. The contracts are intended to provide a legally secure framework for the high standards of scientific publications as well as to reduce uncertainties and reservations about Open Access among all parties involved.

The contracts are made permanently and freely available to authors, publishers and libraries as well as other interested parties.

About Us

AuROA is a joint research project of the Duisburg-Essen University Library, the Communication and Management department at the IST University of Applied Sciences in Düsseldorf and the Book Studies department of the Gutenberg Institute for World Literature and Script-Oriented Media at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. The research project is led by the Duisburg-Essen University Library. The project builds upon the work of the OGeSoMo project (external link; German), in which research was also carried out to promote open access publications in the humanities and social sciences with a focus on monographs.

The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research within the framework of the funding guidelines for the Open Access transformation (external Link; German).

Universität Duisburg-Essen
IST-Hochschule für Management
Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz