Universität Bonn

Open Access Service Center

Publishing work for a second time

Already had your work published? Maybe your publication was even made open access as soon as it left the publisher? So far, so good. But why should you publish for a second time? We will show you here why it is worth it.

Why publish "again?"

Specifically, the term "Zweitveröffentlichung" or Self-Archiving means publishing a work that has already been published elsewhere once before (e.g. by a publisher). This brings several benefits:

  • You will be publishing on non-commercial infrastructure that is free for you to use.
  • You will be increasing the reach and thus the impact of your research
  • You will be making sure that your publications are archived in a digitally secure way, regardless of whether your publisher ever goes out of business.
  • You will be complying with the criteria set by research funders: open-access publication is increasingly a requirement when applying for third-party funding. Adopting the green model for publishing your work for a second time might be an option here.
Publishing in Repositories
© openaccess.network, Source: based on Koch, M. (2015). Publizieren über das Repositorium der Leibniz Universität Hannover. TIB Blog.

bonndoc: publications from Bonn

bonndoc is the University of Bonn's institutional repository, a document server on which authors from an institution can publish and archive their works for free (self-archiving). It also includes all the works supported by the University's publication funds, meaning that all the University's open-access publications are in the same place.

Logo bonndoc
© ULB Bonn / Universität Bonn

What exactly should I do?


Publish your work on non-commercial platforms.

You can submit your publication via bonndoc. You can log in using your Uni-ID. Contact us if you have any questions.


Make use of your right to publish work for a second time.

You can still do so even if you have signed a contract with a publisher (see below).


Check the legal situation.

Authors often do not know as much about their rights as they should. You can change that. Get an overview of the legal situation (see below).

Legal situation

Wondering whether you are safe, legally speaking? Do not worry! You do not need to be a law expert to be able to publish something on an open-access basis. You can find the most important rights and clauses here. We are also happy to give you advice and support. Although we cannot provide any legally binding information, we are able to share our experiences and assessments.

Rights, clauses and contracts

As an author, you are entitled publish your work for a second time regardless of any rights that you might have granted others (§38 of the Copyright Act (UrhG)).  However, the following criteria apply: Your publication…

  • Cannot be made accessible within 12 months of it first being published.
  • Must have been brought out as part of a collection that is published periodically at least twice a year.
  • Must have been produced as part of research activities that were at least 50 percent funded by public funds
  • Must not serve any commercial purposes.
  • Has to be published for the second time in the same version of the manuscript as was accepted by the publisher first time round.
  • Has to state the source of the initial publication.

Authors' contracts generally cover the transferral of exclusive usage rights (§31 of the Copyright Act (UrhG)) to their publication to their publisher. This is often problematic, as this example shows:

  • Dr. Yasemin Arslan grants her publisher an exclusive usage right to her publication ( = exklusives Nutzungsrecht). She is now no longer able to prohibit the publisher from distributing it. What she can do, however, is check her author's contract—ideally before she signs it. This will allow her to retain certain rights to a publication, e.g. the right to publish it for a second time in a repository.

Many publishers impose self-archiving policies in addition to their contracts. These stipulate which version of a publication is permitted to be published for a second time or what embargo period needs to be observed beforehand. You can find these policies on the publishers’ websites. Sherpa Romeo has an overview of them.

When applying for third-party funding, you will increasingly find yourself agreeing to your funding provider publishing your findings in an open-access format—often before you conclude a contract with a publisher. This is a contractual obligation(!) that takes priority and must be borne in mind when you go on to sign a contract with a publisher.

Large packages of licenses containing National and Alliance licenses sometimes also entitle the authors publishing in the relevant periodicals to publish their work for a second time even if this right is not granted in the authors’ contract or their publisher's self-archiving policy.

Wird geladen