Subscribe to Open

In close cooperation with the editors of the journal Bibliothek Forschung und Praxis and the German National Open Access Contact Point OA 2020-DE, we are transforming one of Germany's leading library journals to Open Access through the Subscribe to Open model. We are pleased to announce that we have successfully introduced Subscribe to Open as a new, alternative trasformation model in the German publishing landscape, and that the 2021 volume of Bibliothek Forschung und Praxis will thus be freely accessible under the Creative Commons 4.0 license.

Pilot project for Bibliothek Forschung und Praxis

Since its founding in 1977, the journal Bibliothek Forschung und Praxis (BFP) has focused on questions of accessibility to information and knowledge. As one of the leading library journals in Germany, the editors have always been keen to explore the techniques and practices of making information accessible, both nationally and internationally - from open-shelf libraries and the digitization of cultural assets, to electronic publishing, open access and open data.

Given this background, the idea to make the BFP freely available online, via gold open access without any author fees, seems the logical next step.


Subscribe to Open (S20) was developed by the US publisher Annual Reviews to enable the open access transformation of established journals by using their existing subscriptions to convert to OA. The subscribing institutions that know and value a journal continue to subscribe as usual (either in print or electronically), and the publisher enables unlimited access to all readers and free OA publishing for all authors. As long as subscribers continue to subscribe to the journal, the current volume is published open access under a Creative Commons license. If the number of subscribers falls below a set value for two years in a row, the paywall is reactivated, which means only existing subscribers have access. This mechanism ensures the long-term financing and economic viability of the journal in open access. De Gruyter guarantees no price increases for the subscription prices for the next two years, i.e. 2021 and 2022.

Subscribe to Open offers advantages for all parties in scholarly publishing:

  • Authors publish their article in an established – now open access – journal without having to pay for it themselves.
  • As paying subscribers, libraries retain guaranteed access to the journal through their subscription and support its open access transformation without any additional administrative effort or cost.
  • The book trade continues to organize journal subscriptions for its customers in the usual way and therefore, unlike in the APC-funded open access transformation models like Publish & Read, remains an important player in the academic publishing system

Subscribe to Open enables a complete open access transformation of academic journals with full transparency, little disruption and no additional costs. The model represents a fair and equal approach to transformation since all authors can publish in the journal of their choice, irrespective of whether their affiliated institution has funding for OA publishing.


In 2022, we will look to transform other journals in our humanities and social sciences publishing program. For this reason, De Gruyter is also involved in the S2O Community of Practice.


In the following you can find the most frequently asked questions.

What is Subscribe to Open?
Why did you chose Subscribe to Open to transform the journal Bibliothek Forschung und Praxis (BFP) to open access?
How does Subscribe to Open work for the BFP?
How can I support the pilot project and the transformation of the BFP?
Why should I continue my BFP subscription?
Why should I as a bookseller and library supplier support Subscribe to Open?
Do the subscription prices change in the Subscribe to Open model?
What happens if not enough subscribers participate in the Subscribe to Open pilot?
Why is the minimum number of subscribers required not officially communicated?
Do I also support Subscribe to Open if I subscribe to the BFP as part of a larger journal package or collection?
Under which Creative Commons license will the articles be published?
What will happen to the BFP journal archive?
What plans does the De Gruyter have for Subscribe to Open?


Do you have any further questions about our Subscribe to Open pilot project?
We look forward to hearing from you!

For questions about the pilot project and the transformation model, please contact Dr. Christina Lembrecht.

If you would like to support the project by subscribing to the journal Bibliothek Forschung und Praxis or if have questions about your existing subscription, please contact Betty-Maria Dafis or your regional Sales Manager.