The University of Konstanz is one of the pioneers in the field of Open Access – in which academic publications are made freely accessible. In accordance with its regulations for secondary publication rights "Satzung zur Ausübung des wissenschaftlichen Zweitveröffentlichungsrechts" as of 10 December 2015, the university's researchers are required to observe the secondary publication right: all academic texts published in journals and financed up to at least 50 percent with public funds will be made available through the Konstanz publication server KOPS to the public free of charge one year after they were first published. Now a norm violation suit has been filed against these University of Konstanz regulations with the court "Verwaltungsgerichtshof Mannheim". Seventeen University of Konstanz teachers have brought an action against these regulations. They consider the university's policy to require its researchers to follow the secondary publication right as a violation of their basic right to academic freedom (Art. 5 para. 3 German Basic Law). The University of Konstanz will provide its position in regard to the law suit by the given deadline.
"We very much appreciate that this matter will be clarified legally. The legal assessment will set the course for the field of Open Access in academia in general as well as for the Landeshochschulgesetz (LHG) Baden-Württemberg (state law on education)", says Professor Ulrich Rüdiger, rector of the University of Konstanz. The regulations for the secondary publication rights "Satzung zur Ausübung des wissenschaftlichen Zweitveröffentlichungsrechts" in Konstanz are based on the Landeshochschulgesetz Baden-Württemberg. In accordance with § 44 para. 6 LHG, the universities call on their researchers to observe the secondary publication right: "Universities shall have regulations committing their academic staff members to observe the non-profit secondary publication right one year after the first publication of the academic texts they have written in the context of their official tasks and that were included in a publication that appears at least twice per year" (§ 44 para. 6 LHG). With its regulations for secondary publication rights "Satzung zur Ausübung des wissenschaftlichen Zweitveröffentlichungsrechts", the University of Konstanz was the first university to implement the state law.
The law (§ 38 para. 4 Urheberrechtsgesetz (copyright law)) came into effect on 1 January 2014. It guarantees academic authors a secondary publication of their work published in collected anthologies and periodicals (e.g. scientific journals), even if publishers have been contractually granted exclusive copyrights. This applies only to academic publications that were financed up to at least 50 percent with public funds and were published in anthologies or periodicals. These regulations do not apply to monographs.