Dr. Ralf Goebel

Research Support at the German Research Foundation (DFG) - Funding Initiative, Digitisation

The German Research Foundation (DFG) is the central funding agency for German research. Politically neutral, the German Research Foundation supports all areas of science and scholarship by funding specific research projects. In the Foundation's Position Paper, "Scientific Library Services and Information Systems, Funding Priorities Through 2015" (http://www.dfg.de/lis/en), the German Research Foundation has set the following objectives for information infrastructures:
Through the digitisation of moveable cultural heritage (especially books and other handwritten sources), the Foundation aims to ensure scholars are able to access libraries and other scholarly repositories primarily from their office computers. For this reason, in the coming years publications from the invention of printing to the end of the twentieth century will be retrodigitised.
In recent years the Foundation has - through licensing that students and scholars across Germany enjoy - provided access to publishers' digital offerings. This entails: co-ordination of negotiations with the publishing houses vis--vis digital collections and backfiles in the context of a national consortium (national licensing); continuation and expansion of national licensing via uninterrupted licensing of scientific journals and databases; expansion of the national licensing concept to encompass international consortia as well.
In the coming years the Foundation will encourage the growth of a national network of institutional and specialist document repositories. Publication servers in German universities will offer a good starting point for this effort. Issues relating to the long-term preservation of digital information will play a central role in the future. Beginning in 2008, to expand scholarly information infrastructures in Germany the German Research Foundation will allocate 50 million euros on an annual basis. By 2012, the Foundation will invest a total of 250 million euros in the improvement of information services.