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Open access: Comprehensive occupational health and safety resource now available online

This press release is available in German.

The DFG's Senate Commission for the Investigation of Health Hazards of Chemical Compounds in the Work Area has evaluated the state of research and provided scientific advice in the field of occupational health and safety since 1955. The publication of the MAK Collection under open access marks an important step in providing free access to electronic information resources. The database, which contains detailed data and scientific documentation on over one thousand chemical compounds, can now be accessed online free of charge.

The data, including information on potential hazards relating to chemical compounds along with their maximal permissible concentrations and tolerance values, is used to compile the Commission's List of MAK and BAT Values. Published annually, the list is presented to the German Federal Ministry of Labour for review and inclusion in occupational safety legislation. The Commission's work thus serves the DFG's mission of supplying scientific advice to the German parliament and public authorities.

The MAK Collection brings together all of the documentation relating to maximum workplace concentrations (MAK) and biological tolerance values (BAT) published in both German and English since 1972 with information on the methodologies applied in bio-monitoring and the analysis of airborne chemicals. All further publications by the Senate Commission will also be released under open access. The data will be published online through the website of the DFG's partner, Wiley VCH. The Collection has been published through the WileyOnlineLibrary website, and a feature-rich search function allows users to look up chemical compounds under their German and English names, synonyms and CAS numbers. Data can be browsed online or downloaded in printable PDF documents.

The publication of the MAK Collection marks an important milestone in research publishing under open access. As Germany's largest research funding organisation, the DFG is a long-time supporter of open access, and became a signatory to the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities in 2003. The DFG's Joint Committee subsequently published its open access guidelines for DFG-funded projects in 2006. The DFG will continue to promote open access through its funding and research policies.

Contact: Cornelia Pretzer
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

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