Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Here you will find answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ) about open access. We also welcome suggestions and ideas for new questions:

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With the exception of the part "Legal questions", all content of "Frequently asked questions (FAQ)" is licenced under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence.

The basic idea of open access is to make scientific literature freely accessible on the internet, free of charge and for everyone, i.e. without financial, legal or technical barriers, so that it can be used by all interested parties and in particular by the academic community without restrictions. The definition of open access was established by the  Budapest Open Access Initiative from 2002 and the Berlin Declaration from 2003.In March 2017, the University of Innsbruck also expressly committed to open access publications with the adoption of its open access policy.

The most important advantages of open access - in addition to free access - are accelerated dissemination of scientific information and the fact that it can be found worldwide via search engines. This leads to higher visibility and consequently to greater citation frequency of open access publications. By granting free licences (see Legal aspects: "What is meant by creative commons"), as recommended in the open access declarations, open access enables better reuse of scientific research results.

Gold open access refers to the primary publication of scientific works in open access journals, in open access anthologies or as open access monographs.

Hybrid open access refers to articles that appear in closed access journals, i.e. journals that require a subscription, and offer a open access only as an option and for a fee. Therefore, the university library negotiates agreements with publishers that enable members of the University of Innsbruck to publish open access free of charge or at a reduced cost.

Green open access means the secondary publication (self-archiving) of works already published by publishing houses, which are made available in institutional or disciplinary repositories after an appropriate waiting period has expired.

The article processing charge (APC) is the publication fee for the funding of open access journal articles. These are paid by the authors, e.g. from research or project funds, and can be (partially) covered by the publishing fund of the University of Innsbruck if certain criteria are met. For many subscription-based and open access journals, there are also special conditions for members of the University of Innsbruck that allow for publishing open access free of charge or at a reduced cost.

Institutional repositories are non-commercial publication servers that are hosted by institutions such as universities or university libraries and make publications available without access restrictions. There are also disciplinary repositories in which subject-specific content is made available across institutions (e.g. arXiv for scientific publications in fields such as physics, mathematics and computer science). A directory of open access repositories can be found at OpenDOAR (Directory of Open Access Repositories).

On the other hand, there are commercial platforms, such as academic networks like ResearchGate or, which do not meet the standards of open access platforms and repositories. For more information, see "Am I allowed to publish my publications on platforms such as ResearchGate or" in "Questions for researchers".

The institutional Repository for publications of the University of Innsbruck serves as a central platform for the secondary publication of scientific publications by its researchers. Publications in the repository are accessible to all interested parties, receive a permanent and citable internet address and can be found via international search systems (e.g. Base or OpenAIRE). The repository also guarantees secure archiving of publications at a central location. In addition to secondary publications, the repository serves as a central publication server for all theses that are written as part of a master's, diploma or doctoral programme. In addition, the University of Innsbruck encourages researchers in its Open Access Policy to make their publications available in the institutional repository .

Unfortunately, not all OA journals meet the high standards of scientific quality assurance, which can range from inadequate quality control to so-called predatory publishers (also known as "fake journals" or "predatory journals"). The following points should therefore be considered when selecting a suitable open access journal:

Services such as think.check.submit can also help you choose a suitable medium.

Further information on Predatory Journals:

The publishing fund of the University of Innsbruck only supports articles in gold open access journals that do not result from FWF or EU projects with dedicated open access funding. To the criteria for funding.

Open access articles in subscription-based journals are funded via contracts with publishers negotiated by the University and State Library of Tyrol (ULBT) in collaboration with the Austrian E-Media Co-operation (KemÖ) and in order to avoid so-called "double dipping", i.e. the double payment of the subscription and the APC of individual articles using public funds.

From 1 January 2024, open access publications resulting from FWF projects will be funded directly by the University of Innsbruck and can no longer be applied for from the FWF. Funding is available for publications in pure open access journals as well as the open access option in subscription journals, provided there is a publishing agreement with the University and State Library of Tyrol. Read more on the website of the vice rectorate for research

The FWF also offers funding for open access book publications, such as monographs, edited volumes, proceedings and entire special issues. Further information can be found at on the website of the FWF.

The current list of publishers with whom the University and State Library of Tyrol (ULBT) has negotiated agreements in cooperation with the Austrian E-media Co-operation can be found here.

By simply uploading the PDF directly in the VIS web portal (under the "Personal data" and "My research" tab), the full texts are transferred to the repository via the FLD. The prerequisite is that there is already an existing FLD entry for the publication in question (see Manual for "My research" and instructions for uploading scientific publications from p. 13). However, PDFs can still be uploaded via the FLD representatives. See also OA publishing in the repository for publications.

Articles in journals, essays in collective works and monographs can be uploaded to the repository via the FLD. In principle, it is also possible to publish other types of text, e.g. grey literature in the form of research reports etc., in the repository. If there is no FLD entry for this, please contact us at or DW 25401.

A preprint (submitted version) corresponds to the manuscript version that has been submitted to a journal for publication but has not yet been evaluated by peers and recommended for publication.
A postprint or the Author Accepted Manuscript has already been peer-reviewed and accepted for publication, i.e. the postprint contains the content but not the typesetting of the publisher's version.

The Published Version (often also called Version of Record ) corresponds to the final version that is finally published.

In addition, so-called embargo deadlines often have to be adhered to. This means that some publishers only allow the publication of articles via repositories after a certain waiting period (usually between 12 and 24 months).

The consent of all co-authors, regardless of whether they are members of the University of Innsbruck or external persons, is a prerequisite for uploading to the repository. By giving your consent when uploading, you confirm that you do not infringe any third-party rights.

For specialist journals, Sherpa Romeo provides a comprehensive overview of the publishers' guidelines with regard to secondary publication, including links to the individual publisher policies. As the Sherpa/Romeo database has no legal authority, we recommend that you check the information directly with the relevant publisher's policies or with the publisher's contract.

In the case of monographs or contributions to collective works, this information can often be found on the publisher's website or in the author's contract. Information on secondary publication can usually be found under the headings "Open Access Policy", "Repository Policy", "Self-archiving", "Authors' Rights", "Copyright Transfer Statement", "Copyright Transfer Agreement", "Consent to Publish", "Copyright - Permissions", "Manuscript Guidelines", "Ethics", "Guidelines", etc. If you are unsure, we recommend that you contact the publisher directly. The Open Access Coordination Centre will be happy to assist you with rights clearance.

The database Sherpa Romeo provides information on the publishing guidelines of journals with regard to secondary publication as well as details on embargo periods and/or links to the relevant publisher's website. In the case of monographs or contributions to collective works, this information can usually be found in the author contract or on the publisher's website under the headings "Open Access Policy", "Repository Policy", "Self-archiving", "Authors' Rights", "Copyright Transfer Statement", "Copyright Transfer Agreement", "Consent to Publish", "Copyright - Permissions", "Manuscript Guidelines", "Ethics", "Guidelines", etc.

As academic networks, such as ResearchGate and, are operated commercially, publishers often do not allow publications to be uploaded to these platforms at all or only to a very limited extent. In many cases, the upload of publications with licences that exclude commercial use (e.g. CC BY-NC or CC BY-NC-ND) is also not accepted.

It is therefore essential to clarify whether the publication on ResearchGate or is compliant with the publisher's licence. We recommend using such platforms for academic networking and depositing your publications in non-commercial, open platforms such as the institutional repository of the University of Innsbruck.

Platforms such as ResearchGate or are academic networks and are also used by many researchers to upload PDFs of previously published (closed access) articles. It should be noted that these platforms are operated commercially and do not meet the standards of open access repositories, as they do not allow open access, do not take any measures for security or long-term archiving and cannot be indexed and harvested by open access search engines (e.g. BASE) due to a lack of standardised metadata. You should therefore use non-commercial and open subject-specific or institutional repositories such as that of the University of Innsbruck for open access publishing.

The Open Access Coordination Office is the first point of contact for questions relating to open access. If necessary, your enquiry will be forwarded to the appropriate person.

Open Access Coordination Centre
University and State Library Tyrol
Digital Services Department
Barbara Laner (on leave)
Tel: +43 (0) 512 507 - 25401

If you have any questions about agreements with publishers, please contact us directly:

University and State Library Tyrol
E-media department
Lisa Hofer, Tel: +43 (0) 512 507 - 25073
Erika Pörnbacher, Tel: +43 (0) 512-507 - 25070

The data for your thesis can be entered via the web form to enter the data. You can then submit the confirmation of entry and the PDF of your thesis to the relevant examination office. Detailed information on uploading and the information sheet on recording academic theses can be found at website of the library.

Once you have completed the upload process, you will be prompted to print the entry confirmation. The "Save entry confirmation" button opens the print menu, where you can print the data overview directly or save it as a PDF. If the print menu does not open, you have the option of printing the page via the browser or taking a screenshot of the page. Please note that the confirmation of registration is not included in the confirmation email. The confirmation must be handed in with the submission of your scientific work.

In accordance with "Study law provisions" § 27 (1), since 1 November 2023 all students of a diploma, master's or doctoral programme at the University of Innsbruck are obliged to publish their academic work electronically in the repository of the University and State Library of Tyrol.

Further details and exceptions can be found on the information page of Examination Unit and in the "Guideline for the partial publication in electronic form of academic papers in accordance with § 27 para. 2 of the University of Innsbruck Statutes "Study Law Provisions"".

Dissertations at the Medical University of Innsbruck are still submitted in printed and electronic form. Please enter the data for your dissertation at web form and submit the PDF together with the confirmation of entry to the office responsible for you. Please indicate there whether you wish to make your dissertation available online or not.

On the contrary, the CC licences (obligatory attribution) and copyright law protect your work. Especially if you make your work freely available online, possible plagiarism could be detected more easily by search engines and plagiarism software. Since plagiarism occurs against the will of the author, it can also be legally penalised.

If your scientific work contains parts (e.g. articles) that you have already published or submitted for publication, you must observe the requirements of the relevant journal or publisher and, if necessary, obtain the consent of your co-authors.

In the case of secondary publication as part of a scientific paper via a repository, authors must pay attention to which version (publishers differentiate between preprints, accepted manuscript version and the publisher's PDF) is permitted by the publisher and whether there is an embargo period. In any case, the first publication must be correctly cited (with DOI where available).

We therefore recommend that you check the publisher's guidelines before submitting your thesis or have the right to a second publication granted so that the thesis (including the already published articles) can be published in the repository of the University of Innsbruck without restriction.

If you have published your article Open Access with a free CC licence, you retain the exploitation rights and, as the rights holder, can also publish your article in other repositories.

If the electronic publication of previously published articles in the scientific work is not possible for legal reasons, even after an embargo period, these can be removed and linked to the articles in the journals instead. Partial publication also applies to content that is protected by copyright or otherwise, but is absolutely necessary for the academic thesis. For detailed information, see Guideline for the partial publication of academic papers in accordance with § 27 para. 2 of the University of Innsbruck's statutes "Study Law Provisions".

The legal framework can be found in the publishing contracts on the one hand, and the publishers' guidelines with regard to self-archiving can be found at Sherpa Romeo database on the other. For dissertations in particular, many publishers allow the use of the published version in contrast to the usual secondary publication.

The Page of the TU Berlin collects information on the use of articles in dissertations, including information on whether the dissertation may be published before the article is published in a journal.

You can also subsequently obtain the publisher's consent for secondary utilisation for the publication of the dissertation. Here is an example of the enquiry:

"I am contacting you regarding my publication xx at the University of Innsbruck.
I would like to publish the article as part of my thesis on the institutional repository of the University of Innsbruck ( The repository, as a non-commercial service for all researchers and students at the University of Innsbruck, is aiming at offering scientific publications open access.
The article would only be published within the thesis to illustrate my work effort and not outside of it.
For this purpose, I would like to use xxx (the final published pdf version) to ensure the connection to the original publication. Can I get your permission for this?
Additionally, I would like to ask if there is an embargo period that I have to comply with."

If you are planning to publish your thesis or parts of it at a later date, it is advisable to clarify before publication in the repository of the University of Innsbruck how this will affect a possible later publication, for example in a journal or as a monograph with a publisher. If you are already in contact with a publisher, ask them to grant you the right to a secondary utilisation or grant the publisher "simple exploitation rights" for the electronic publication so that you can also make your work available on the repository of the University of Innsbruck in parallel.

If publication in the repository could have a detrimental effect on a planned publication in a publisher or journal, check whether a blocking request is possible. The blocking notice must be available at the latest at the time of submission. Further details can be found on the information page of the Examination Unit.

Please note the following information:

Publishers such as AV-Akademikerverlag, SVH-Verlag, GRIN or Shaker Verlag etc. systematically contact graduates of master's, diploma and doctoral programmes and offer to publish their theses free of charge. These requests should be treated with caution, as the theses are printed unchecked and without peer review and sold at high prices via print-on-demand.

If you intend to pursue an academic career, you should avoid publishing with the aforementioned publishers if possible, as the lack of quality features (e.g. peer review) means that no academic reputation can be achieved. In addition, such works are rarely purchased by university libraries.

A subsequent change to the access restriction is only possible for theses submitted before 1 November 2023. Withdrawing the online publication of your thesis is permitted, but not recommended, as your thesis has already been assigned a persistent identifier that could theoretically have been used by others to cite your work. However, making your thesis freely available at a later date is unproblematic and possible at any time. All you need to do is send an e-mail to stating the full title of the work and/or the link to your work in the Primo library catalogue.

Subsequent changes to the metadata are only possible in justified cases. The PDF submitted to the Examination Office and reviewed may no longer be changed.

Please note that if the form remains open for too long, the session will expire and your data cannot be saved. The error message "Stopped an illegal attempt to resend formdata that was already submitted previously!" means that you can no longer send your data because the session has expired. This can happen if:
a) the session expires after approx. 60 minutes,
b) the form is resubmitted from the browser cache when the browser back button is used.

Please fill out the upload form again by reloading or reopening the page with the form.

If you have any questions about uploading university theses, please contact:

University and State Library Tyrol
Digital Services Department
Manuela Lerch
Tel.: +43 (0)512 507 - 25404

These FAQs cannot replace professional legal advice, nor can they provide answers to specific individual cases. The information is intended to provide assistance on various legal issues under Austrian law.

The secondary exploitation right serves to facilitate access to scientific literature in the sense of open access. The institutional repositories that have been set up for the secondary utilisation of scientific publications also follow this idea.

The secondary exploitation right exempts scientific contributions from contractually granted exclusive rights of use in publishing contracts. Authors are permitted to make secondary use of their scientific contributions on the internet or in repositories if they fulfil the legal requirements.

Authors who are members of the scientific staff of a research institution that is at least half publicly funded and who have made a scientific contribution as part of this activity.

The scientific contribution must have appeared in a collection that is published periodically at least twice a year and may only be made publicly accessible in the accepted manuscript version after 12 months have elapsed since the first publication. The source of the first publication must be stated. The contribution must not serve any commercial purpose and the publishing contract must be governed by Austrian law.

No, students are not members of the academic staff of a research institution that is at least half publicly funded, as required by law.

No, there is no internationally applicable secondary exploitation right. The author who wishes to make a secondary exploitation must firstly take into account the specific terms of the publishing contract and secondly refer to the copyright law of the country in which the secondary exploitation is to take place and be available.

Yes, contract autonomy applies in Austria, i.e. the conclusion of a contract does not require a specific form, there is freedom of content, form and design and a publishing contract concluded verbally would also be valid. NOTE: For reasons of legal certainty, it is advisable to always conclude publishing contracts in writing.

In order to secure work utilisation rights, there is the possibility of contract addenda, examples of which can be found at Legal aspects. NOTE: Subsequent amendments to the publishing contract must always be signed by all contracting parties (publisher, authors) in order to be legally valid.

The ROMEO database is constantly updated, but is not official. However, it serves as a good source of information. Ultimately, however, the agreements in the publishing contract apply.

The authors (rights holders) to whom a copyright infringement has been committed are entitled to removal, injunctive relief, publication of a judgement and compensation. Primarily, a warning is issued to remove the copyright infringement and to undertake in writing to refrain from infringing the copyright in future. In the event of refusal, the claim can be enforced in court. The unsuccessful party must pay all legal fees/court costs and, if applicable, damages.

No, copyright is a territorially limited right, i.e. copyright is only effective in the territory of the country under whose legal system it was created. There are therefore numerous national copyright laws. In terms of conflict of laws, the country of protection principle applies. According to this principle, the creation, content and expiry of intellectual property rights must be assessed in accordance with the law of the country in which the disputed act of use or infringement takes place.

There are 6 standard licence agreements with which authors can grant the public different types of use of their works (see

Authors must be the rights holders of their authored works. This is generally the case if you have created the scientific work and have not transferred any rights to third parties (e.g. publishers).

Based on the "Berlin Declaration", only the CC BY and CC BY-SA licences fulfil the Open Access concept of enabling open access to scientific knowledge.

The CC BY version 4.0 now stipulates that the changes made to the original work must be indicated (see

If changes relevant to personality rights are made, so-called copyright protection against distortion can be utilised.

No, with CC licensing you do not lose any copyrights, but you grant individual rights of use to anyone, which you continue to retain yourself. You do not lose authorship of your own work.

No, the exploitation rights continue to exist. With a CC licence, rights of use are granted to users (licensees), which means that the licensor and licensee are on an equal footing with regard to the licensed rights.

It is possible to change from a more restrictive licence to a more liberal licence at a later date. It is not possible to change from a more liberal licence to a more restrictive licence retrospectively. Before granting a licence, you should therefore carefully consider which rights of use you wish to release.

This is possible if the publisher has not been granted an exclusive right to use the work, or if the authors have reserved the right to make their works available online under a free licence in addition to the publisher's publication by means of an addendum to the contract.

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