ZBW MediaTalk

The green challenge

The green route (link in German) to open access describes the storage of quality-assured text publications (postprints) and other digital content in an institutional or disciplinary repository (freely accessible online database). One path on the green route is the alliance licences negotiated nationally between libraries and publishers. The open access components contained therein allow authors from academic institutions which hold the relevant rights to publish their publications immediately or following an embargo period in a repository of their choice, usually their own institution. However, implementing these open access components is a laborious process: it requires authors to upload their publication to the repository themselves at the appropriate point or the library as their institutional representative to find the article and upload it to the repository manually. Often, the relevant rights holders do not take action and the publications remain with the publisher.

Data hub

The aim of DeepGreen is to automatically transfer those academic publications which can be made freely available after set waiting periods according to licensing rights into open access. Automating the process should relieve the burden on academics and libraries and increase the number of open access publications available to the German academic community.

For the purposes of technical implementation, DeepGreen uses a platform as a data hub. Participating publishers upload their publications and metadata via defined interfaces. The data is processed in a data format based on NISO-JATS. The data is allocated to the relevant institutions based on affiliation information; the contractual terms are retrieved based on information from the Electronic Journals Library (EZB). Publications which meet the criteria regarding rights for the transfer to open access are included in packages with the relevant metadata and made available for repositories which hold the relevant rights to pick up.

The data hub uses software components from the publication router developed by Jisc as a basis and has developed an additional prototype responding to DeepGreen’s requirements.


Looking to the future, DeepGreen hopes to build a scalable infrastructure for the identification, collection and distribution of relevant publishing data to repositories belonging to institutions with the relevant rights. Using its unique approach, the project aims to demonstrably increase the number of open access contributions in repositories and to contribute sustainable support and promotion of open access transformation in academic institutions.

Project information

DeepGreen is being supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG) for the 2016-2017 period and has also been able to bring the publishers S. Karger AG and SAGE Publications Ltd on board as pilot partners for this funding phase.

The national project consortium is composed of the following institutions: The library associations Berlin-Brandenburg Cooperative Library Association (KOBV), (link in German) and the Bavarian Library Association (BVB), (link in German), the Bavarian State Library (BSB), the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) and Technische Universität Berlin (TU Berlin) university libraries and the Helmholtz Open Science Coordination Office at the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ).

Additional project information

Authors: Kaja Scheliga (Helmholtz Association, Helmholtz Open Science Coordination Office), Julia Alexandra Goltz (Berlin-Brandenburg Cooperative Library Association (KOBV)

This text is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

The ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics is the world’s largest research infrastructure for economic literature, online as well as offline.

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