Open Access Repositories in Transition: Strategies for Professionalization

In 1995, one of the first institutional Open Access repositories in Germany, MONARCH, was launched at the Technical University of Chemnitz (Blumtritt, 2006). These early repositories, aimed to publish theses dissertations. During the conception of these repositories, various questions arose, such as „In which file format should an electronic document be stored to ensure high availability, good searchability, and long-term archiving?“ (own translation; Martin & Schirmbacher, 1997). The DINI certificate, initiated in 2003, aimed to develop a standard „to connect document and publication servers based on international standards and secure technologies“ (own translation; Scholze, 2005).

Twenty years after the first version of the DINI certificate was released, version 7.0 is now available. The change in title from ‚DINI Certificate for Document and Publication Repositories‘ to ‚DINI Certificate for Open Access Publication Services‘ indicates the expansion of the service spectrum of Open Access repositories. Today, the German Initiative for Networked Information (DINI) lists 540 publication services, of which 224 can be assigned to the type ‚University Publications‘ (as of 18.01.2024), essentially forming the group of institutional Open Access repositories.

In 2010, the Helmholtz Open Science Office collaborated with DINI to organize a workshop discussing the future of Open Access repositories. One of the theses stated: „Repositories as passive databases are unattractive for research and teaching. The degree of integration of a repository into the scientific workflow determines its success. Institutional repositories can serve as active services, for example, within the framework of publication management, forming the basis for various services such as bibliographies and personal websites of researchers.“ (own translation; Kindling, Müller, Pampel, 2010).

Reflecting on the role of repositories today, 13 years after the formulation of these theses, it becomes evident how varied the manifestation of these infrastructures is at scientific institutions. The Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR) has emphasized the need for repository development since 2017 in its „NextGeneration Repositories“ initiative. The recently published „Report on Repository Survey in Europe“ (Shearer et al., 2023; see also the discussion by Deppe, 2024) highlights the current challenges in repository operation and identifies three essential challenges for their further development: the need for contemporary and interoperable software solutions, consistent implementation of „good practice“ for metadata, long-term archiving, and usage statistics, as well as adequate visibility within the scientific community (Shearer et al. 2023, 3).

To promote the professionalization of repositories and support their development in the aforementioned sense, the project „Professionalization of the Open Access Repositories Infrastructure in Germany“ (Pro OAR DE) was launched in October 2023. Based at the Research Group of Information Management at the Berlin School of Library and Information Science of Humboldt Universität zu Berlin and funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the project examines Open Access Repositories (OAR) in Germany through an open and cooperative approach.

To achieve this, the project addresses urgent issues in OAR operation (e.g., dealing with preprints or ensuring compliance with Open Access funding conditions) through interviews and workshops. Based on the results, current challenges in OAR operation are discussed in networking forums with the community of Open Access professionals. The project collaborates with relevant projects and networks and incorporates international developments, thus promoting the development of best practices in the field of information infrastructures at the national level and improving the networking of Open Access professionals.

The central result of the project will be practical recommendations as a stimulus for the development of a community-driven Open Access culture. These practical recommendations will support scientific institutions in Germany in professionalizing their OAR. Additionally, strategic recommendations are provided for leadership levels at universities and non-university institutions, decision-makers in funding organizations, and stakeholders in science policy. These strategic recommendations, based on national and international developments, address the central role of OAR in promoting Open Access.

The grant proposal was recently published (Pampel & Rothfritz, 2023). The project looks forward to collaborating with stakeholders in the national and international repository landscape.

An overview of other projects in the BMBF funding line for Open Access can be found at

The project is excited about cooperation with the repository community and is already in close contact with the DINI Working Group Electronic Publishing. Updates on the project will be published on the project website and in this blog. For suggestions and questions, please contact Marcel Wrzesinski. More information is available at:

The present blog post is an English adaptation of a previously published blog post by the same authors (


Heinz Pampel is a Professor for Information Management at the Berlin School of Library and Information Science of Humboldt Universität zu Berlin and a scientific advisor for Open Science at the Helmholtz Open Science Office of the Helmholtz Association.

Marcel Wrzesinski is a research associate at the Berlin School of Library and Information Science of Humboldt Universität zu Berlin and at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society. His research focuses on the governance and infrastructures of scholarly communication and distribution, including questions about the future of scholarly journals, fair access to scholarly literature, and sustainable business models for Diamond Open Access.

Recommended citation

Pampel, Heinz & Wrzesinski, Marcel: „Open Access Repositories in Transition: Strategies for Professionalization“ Blog der DINI AGs FIS & EPUB, 2024.


Blumtritt, U. (2006). DINI Zertifikat für MONARCH-Dokumenten- und Publikationsservice der TU Chemnitz. Retrieved December 20, 2023, from

Deppe, A. (2024): Open Science braucht eine starke Repositorien-Landschaft – Neuer COAR Report zu Stand und Herausforderungen europäischer Repositorien. Blog der DINI AGs FIS & EPUB, 2024.

Kindling, M., Müller, U., & Pampel, H. (2010). Thesen zur Zukunft von Open-Access-Repositorien. Retrieved December 20, 2023, from

Martin, N. & Schirmbacher, P. (1997). Die elektronische Publikation von Dissertationen an der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. cms-journal14.

Pampel, H., & Rothfritz, L. (2023). Professionalisierung der Open-Access-Repositorien-Infrastruktur in Deutschland (Pro-OAR-DE)

Scholze, F. (2005). Technik. Ein Jahr DINI-Zertifikat für Dokumenten- und Publikationsserver. Bibliotheksdienst39(2).

Shearer, K., Nakano, K., Silvia, M., Rodrigues, E., Manola, N., Pronk, M. & Proudman, V. (2023). Current State and Future Directions for Open Repositories in Europe.

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