National license

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A national license is understood to mean the acquisition of access rights to a paid online offer ( databases , e-books , e-journals ) for the citizens or scientists of a state.

National licenses by country


In autumn 2004, the German Research Foundation (DFG) made available special funds of around 5.9 million euros for the first time for the acquisition of national licenses for large, preferably closed online databases in the humanities and cultural sciences. This first section comprised 18 databases and completed collections of texts, mainly from the humanities. Your purchase was organized by the following four research and university libraries:

These databases are available to all mainly publicly funded universities and research institutions in the Federal Republic of Germany. The activation takes place via an IP number range . Since May 2005, people residing in Germany who do not have access to the databases through a scientific library have been able to apply for individual access to the university libraries provided for this purpose, as long as the contracts with the database providers allow this. This access then takes place using a user name and password via a proxy server . The costs for individual offers are not known; only the issues per year are published.

The databases of the second round of negotiations have been available since June 2006. This time, many full-text offers such as e-books and the full-text version of the Periodical Contents Index (PAO) were added. In the second round, a total of 21.5 million euros were spent. In addition, the natural sciences were given greater consideration, for example journal archives from Springer-Verlag (1860–2000) and Elsevier (1934–1994) are available. For many, however, there is currently no access for private users.

A total of 134 databases are now available through the national licenses. Unlimited access was acquired. For long-term archiving , the data is made available by the providers on physical data carriers . However, access is initially via the technical infrastructure of the database provider. Also metadata provided via the included works and articles, so that they in the portals of the library networks such and on regional literature references. B. Virtual specialist libraries can be included.

On May 10, 2007, uniform access was activated for private users, who no longer need to register with the individual libraries.

The DFG program of national licenses "Classics" was continued until 2010. In total, over 140 national licenses were acquired in this funding program for more than 100 million euros and can now be used permanently. Since 2011, the “Classics” national licenses funding program has been replaced by that of Allianz licenses . However, new offers for individual users will continue to be made available.


Since 2012 there have been national licenses for citizens who have a permanent residence in Switzerland. The offering started with Cell magazine . The project was gradually expanded in the following years. In 2016, over 2 million scientific articles from all disciplines were licensed from Cambridge University Press , De Gruyter and Oxford University Press . Since then there has also been nationwide access to the Cochrane Library . In 2017, the range was expanded to over 6 million articles; The Springer Nature offers were added . There is a five year moving wall from publication. Access and registration take place via swissbib .


In November 2013, it became known that Springer-Verlag had signed a contract with the National Library of Qatar for the use of e-books and electronic journals . Thanks to this national license, the residents of Qatar can access the SpringerLink database.


In June 2019, a national license was concluded with the Elsevier publishing house , which regulates the access of Polish research institutions to the portals and databases ScienceDirect , SciVal and Scopus for three years.


Following the example of the previous agreement between Elsevier and Polish institutions in June 2019, a similar agreement was reached at the end of October 2019 by the EISZ consortium in Hungary on the access of research institutes to ScienceDirect , SciVal and Scopus for three years. The contract also includes a component for open access publications at no additional cost ( Article Processing Charges , APCs).


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. National licenses for databases. Press release No. 21 of the DFG from May 19, 2005.
  2. Barbara Kerneck: Licenses for specialist literature bought: Free use on your own PC . In: The daily newspaper: taz . June 19, 2009, ISSN  0931-9085 ( [accessed January 22, 2018]).
  3. Fundamental improvement of the information supply. National licenses for databases, e-books and magazine archives . (PDF) In: UB Forum. Magazine for users of the University Library Freiburg im Breisgau . No. 2 Focus on national licenses, 2006, pp. 3–8. Retrieved August 2, 2006.
  4. National Licenses - Offers. Retrieved on June 2, 2011 (
  5. ^ National Licenses - National Licenses "Classics". Retrieved on March 1, 2016 (
  6. Access to over two million scientific journal articles. In: swissbib-info. December 22, 2016, accessed January 22, 2018 .
  7. N. von Lutterotti: Free access to scientific literature . In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Research and Technology, June 3, 2016, page 58.
  8. What's new in swissbib? In: swissbib-info. December 7, 2017, accessed January 22, 2018 .
  9. Springer's e-media for Qatar . In: Börsenblatt. November 4, 2013. Retrieved November 4, 2013.
  10. a b Access to research literature: Elsevier agrees national license in Poland. In: Börsenblatt. June 3, 2019, accessed October 31, 2019 .
  11. Research and Open Access: Hungary and Elsevier agree on a pilot license. In: Börsenblatt. October 31, 2019, accessed October 31, 2019 .