Open Access

Open Access publications are available online free of charge. They make use of a licence which safeguards the author's rights without hindering the use of the text for academic and teaching purposes.

Further information

Open Access offers numerous advantages:

  • OA publications are available to everyone immediately, free of charge
  • OA publications are easier to find via search engines and reference services
  • OA publications achieve a high level of visibility and are read and cited more often
  • The distribution rights remain with the authors
  • OA promotes the dissemination and re-use of research findings
  • Open Access fosters collaboration and speeds up research

There are a number of ways to provide Open Access.

Green OA

Green Open Access refers to self-archiving or republishing previously published articles on a publicly accessible document server (institutional or subject-specific repository). In contrast to storing articles on websites, repositories are easier to search, they collate the research outputs of a particular institution in one place, and assure long-term archiving. In many cases, the accepted manuscript (post-print, author’s manuscript after peer review) or the pre-print version (author’s manuscript before peer review) must be used when making an article or book available in Open Access Green. Depending on the publisher, some post-prints cannot be made available until after a certain embargo period. Please note that these embargo periods may differ from those accepted by research funders (see also "Research Funding and Open Access")
An overview of the Open Access Green policies of various publishers and journals can be found at Sherpa/Romeo.

Gold OA

The Gold route is a way of publishing research immediately in Open Access. The publication is freely accessible immediately, ideally with a Creative Commons licence, which allows it to be re-used and disseminated. In some cases, publication fees, known as APCs (Author Processing Charges) are payable.
A list of Open Access journals can be found in the Directory of Open Access Journals.

A list of Open Access books can be found in the Directory od Open Access Books.

Diamond OA

The Diamond route is a sub-category of Gold Open Access. Diamond Open Access refers to Open Access publications for which no publication fees are charged. 

Hybrid OA

The Hybrid route refers to initial publication with Open Access in subscription-based journals. Publication of the article is often “paid for” by means of author processing charges (APCs) that are often very high. The University of Bern is wary of this model because it leads to fees being paid twice – once through a subscription to the journal, and once through the APCs. This procedure is known as “double dipping”. Please note that the Swiss National Science Foundation no longer pays Hybrid Open Access fees.

More and more funding agencies and institutions require free access to publications and research data.


The SNSF supports the principle of Open Access and expects its grant recipients to make their research results publicly available for re-use, promptly and in electronic form.

Since 1 April 2018, published books have to be freely accessible after 12 months. 

You can find detailed information about the SNSF regulations here.


All Horizon2020 beneficiaries are obliged to make their peer-reviewed scientific publications available in Open Access. They are free to choose either the Green or the Gold route.

Publications in the STEM subjects must become available in Open Access no later than six months after publication; the deadline for the social sciences and humanities is 12 months. The EU offers an addendum to publishing contracts (see below), which enables authors to make their peer-reviewed articles available in Open Access green (as a post-print) within the maximum embargo.

Additionally, all funded projects are by default enrolled in the H2020 Open Data pilot project. In cases where data cannot be made openly available, it is possible to opt out partially or completely. Researchers will have to provide reasons for their decision.

Background information and a detailed explanation of the options and workflows can be found below in the PDF"H2020 ERC Open Access Compliance". There is also a PDF with a short summary. A decision tree on Open Access & Open Data rules and compliance is also available below.

The official EU rules and guidelines on "Open Access & Data Management" can be found here.

Further information

Concerning solutions:

Concerning the SNSF:

At the end of 2015, the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) commissioned swissuniversities and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) to devise a national strategy for Open Access publications. The Open Access Strategy envisions that all publicly funded publications will be freely accessible by 2024. 

Further information may be found here.

The University of Bern supports Open Access as described in the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities which it signed in 2007, and declares that Open Access is a strategic objective. The Open Access Policy is in line with the Open Access Guidelines of the Rectors' Conference of the Swiss Universities (CRUS), the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and the Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences (SAGW); it does not interfere with the free choice of publication media or with academic freedom. The University has approved the following guidelines:

  1. The University of Bern requires its researchers to deposit a full version of all peer-reviewed and published academic work and the corresponding bibliographical information in the institutional repository of the University of Bern. This makes the academic work publicly available through Open Access, provided that there are no legal obstacles.
  2. The University of Bern encourages its researchers to publish their research results in Open Access journals, where appropriate journals exist.
  3. As of the 2014 reporting year, research evaluation and academic reports at the University of Bern are supported by the institutional repository of the University of Bern.

The University of Bern supports the implementation of these guidelines by operating an institutional repository which allows the University’s researchers to deposit their publications and the corresponding metadata.

Clarifications on practical implementation:

  • In relation to publishers, researchers retain the right to make their publications publicly accessible via the University of Bern repository – after the expiry of any applicable embargo period.
  • If this option is not available, the bibliographical information of the publications is deposited together with a full version of the text, which is protected from public access in the repository.