German National Library of Economics

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German National Library of Economics
Deutsche Zentralbibliothek für Wirtschaftswissenschaften (ZBW)
Deutsche Zentralbibliothek fur Wirtschaftswissenschaften Logo.svg
ZBW aussen.jpg
ZBW main building in Kiel
Country Germany
Type National library, Research library
Scope Economics, Finance, Business
LocationDüsternbrooker Weg 120, 24105 Kiel
Neuer Jungfernstieg 21, 20354 Hamburg
Items collected books, journals, electronic media
Size4.43 million items [1]
27,119 journal titles
Access and use
Population servedresearchers, business clients, students, public
Other information
Budget€ 22.56 million [2]
Director Klaus Tochtermann
Staff280 [1]
ZBW building, Hamburg Hamburg Deutsche Zentralbibliothek fur Wirtschaftswissenschaften 01.jpg
ZBW building, Hamburg
ZBW building interior, Kiel ZBW Innenraum.jpg
ZBW building interior, Kiel

The German National Library of Economics (ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics) is the world’s largest research infrastructure for economic literature, online as well as offline. The ZBW is a member of the Leibniz Association and has been a foundation under public law since 2007. Several times the ZBW received the international LIBER award for its innovative work in librarianship. [3] The ZBW allows for access of millions of documents and research on economics, partnering with over 40 research institutions to create a connective Open Access portal and social web of research. [4] Through its EconStor and EconBiz, researchers and students have accessed millions of datasets and thousands of articles. The ZBW also edits two journals: Wirtschaftsdienst and Intereconomics. [4]

Research systematic study undertaken to increase knowledge

Research is "creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of humans, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications." It is used to establish or confirm facts, reaffirm the results of previous work, solve new or existing problems, support theorems, or develop new theories. A research project may also be an expansion on past work in the field. Research projects can be used to develop further knowledge on a topic, or in the example of a school research project, they can be used to further a student's research prowess to prepare them for future jobs or reports. To test the validity of instruments, procedures, or experiments, research may replicate elements of prior projects or the project as a whole. The primary purposes of basic research are documentation, discovery, interpretation, or the research and development (R&D) of methods and systems for the advancement of human knowledge. Approaches to research depend on epistemologies, which vary considerably both within and between humanities and sciences. There are several forms of research: scientific, humanities, artistic, economic, social, business, marketing, practitioner research, life, technological, etc. The scientific study of research practices is known as meta-research.

Leibniz Association union of German non-university research institutes

The Leibniz Association is a union of German non-university research institutes from various disciplines.

Open access Research publications that are distributed online, free of cost or other barriers

Open access (OA) is a mechanism by which research outputs are distributed online, free of cost or other access barriers. With open access strictly defined, or libre open access, barriers to copying or reuse are also reduced or removed by applying an open license for copyright.


Collection mandate

The ZBW is Germany’s central subject library and research infrastructure for economics in Germany. Its mandate is to acquire, to index, and to archive theoretical and empirical literature and subject-specific information from economics and business studies, and to provide access to these materials to the general public on a national basis. The ZBW also acquires all publications from closely related and auxiliary disciplines focussing on economics, in order to accommodate the increasing tendency towards interdisciplinary work in economic research.

The ZBW is part of the system of national literature provision within the German Research Foundation (DFG). [5] [6] [7]

Library holdings

The ZBW holds almost 4.4 million items. The ZBW subscribes to more than 27,100 journals and enables access to 2.3 million electronic documents. The search portal EconBiz gives free access to 10 million datasets. More than 134,000 full-texts (working papers, articles from journals, conference proceedings) from German research institutes and universities are available online and free of charge on the repository EconStor. [8] [6]

The ZBW creates content-descriptive metadata not only for books, but also for articles in journals and working papers, i.e. they are indexed with keywords (descriptors) from the Standard Thesaurus for Economics.


The ZBW maintains the search portal EconBiz containing more than 10 million datasets of bibliographic references for economics and business studies. The ZBW also offers an online reference service, Research Guide EconDesk, [9] which provides guidance for literature and data searches in economics and business studies. [10]

The ZBW is an active player in the Open Access movement which aims for free access to scholarly research output. It is the chief negotiator for national licences in economics in Germany. [11]

The repository EconStor serves as a platform for the free publication of research output in economics. Authors and publishing institutions can publish without charges on EconStor.

More than 400 institutions use EconStor for the digital dissemination of their publications in Open Access. It is an input service for RePEc and one of its most frequently used archives. All titles in EconStor are indexed by search engines such as Google, Google Scholar and BASE, and distributed to databases such as WoldCat, OpenAire and EconBiz. [12]

The ZBW Journal Data Archive [13] is a service for the editors of scholarly journals in economics. Editors can deposit datasets and other material relating to empirical articles and provide access to them in order to enable reproducibility of published research findings. [14]

The ZBW publishes two journals of economic policy, Wirtschaftsdienst and Intereconomics. [15]

The ZBW also provides support for researchers dealing with the different aspects of the digitisation of the science system, such as publishing in Open Access or research data management. [11]

Wirtschaftsdienst, edited by the ZBW Wirtschaftsdienst logo.gif
Wirtschaftsdienst , edited by the ZBW


The ZBW participates in national and international projects to develop new services for its users.

Networks and cooperations

In order to meet the challenges resulting from the technological changes in information provision, the ZBW relies on a global network. It has signed cooperation agreements with national and international research institutions, for instance in the context of the Leibniz Research Alliance Science 2.0, [30] the EU project MOVING, [22] and in numerous DFG-funded projects.

The ZBW is also actively engaged in the community of information infrastructure providers, for instance in the working groups of the Leibniz Association, the Common Library Network, LIBER, nestor and the Priority Initiative “Digital Information”. [31]

Research at the ZBW

The ZBW carries out application-oriented research in computer and information science. Three professors work with an international and interdisciplinary team of researchers on the subject of Open Science / Science 2.0.

Open Science / Science 2.0 describes the changes that the World Wide Web and its numerous Web 2.0 applications engender in the research and publication processes of the science system, which are the subject of research at the ZBW. In 2013, the ZBW initiated the Leibniz Research Alliance Science 2.0. [30] This Europe-wide cooperation of infrastructure providers and research institutes wants to establish the topic of Open Science in the scholarly community.

The goal is to provide open access to, and use of, scientific findings and processes. An annual international conference (Open Science Conference) [32] offers opportunities for researchers, librarians, and experts in science policy to share applications, experiences and strategies around the complex of Open Science. [33]

Activities in science policy

The ZBW not only researches the digital shift, it also actively shapes it through its national and international activities in science policy. The director of the ZBW is an active proponent of Open Science as a member of the High Level Expert Group [34] promoting the European Open Science Cloud. He is a member of the G7 Open Science Working Group and the German Council for Scientific Information Infrastructures, which is part of the Digital Agenda of the Federal Government. All these bodies prioritise the development of an integrated research data infrastructure across disciplines and countries. [35] The latest project in this context is German Research Data Infrastructure GeRDI, [16] which has been initiated in 2016 and is coordinated by the ZBW. It creates cross-disciplinary links between infrastructures for research data and thus new opportunities for multidisciplinary research. [36]


The German National Library of Economics – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics (ZBW) was founded on 1 February 1919 as a department of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy. As a research library it has been able to keep its holdings entirely intact. In 1966, the ZBW received the status of a central subject library for economics in Germany, and was admitted to the joint funding system of the Federal and Länder Governments. The ZBW has been a member of the Leibniz Association since 1990. In 2007, the ZBW was separated from the Kiel Institute and established as an independent foundation under public law. At the same time it integrated the library of the Hamburg Institute of International Economics and became the publisher of the journals Wirtschaftsdienst and Intereconomics. Since 2007, the ZBW has two branches in Kiel and Hamburg. Since 2012, it maintains off-site stacks in Flintbek. Application-oriented research in computer and information science was established in 2010. In 2014, the German Library Association (DBV) honoured the ZBW as Library of the Year because “The ZBW is a radically modern library whose customer and innovation orientation can serve as a model for other libraries.” [37] [38]

See also

Related Research Articles

CiteSeerx is a public search engine and digital library for scientific and academic papers, primarily in the fields of computer and information science. CiteSeer is considered as a predecessor of academic search tools such as Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic Search. CiteSeer-like engines and archives usually only harvest documents from publicly available websites and do not crawl publisher websites. For this reason, authors whose documents are freely available are more likely to be represented in the index.

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft German research foundation

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft is a German research funding organization. In 2018, the DFG had a funding budget of almost 3.3 billion euros.

Open science scientific research performed in public

Open science is the movement to make scientific research and its dissemination accessible to all levels of an inquiring society, amateur or professional. Open science is transparent and accessible knowledge that is shared and developed through collaborative networks. It encompasses practices such as publishing open research, campaigning for open access, encouraging scientists to practice open notebook science, and generally making it easier to publish and communicate scientific knowledge.

Kiel Institute for the World Economy

The Kiel Institute for the World Economy is an independent, non-profit economic research institute and think tank based in Kiel, Germany. In 2017, it was ranked as one of the top 50 most influential think tanks in the world and was also ranked in the top 15 in the world for economic policy specifically. German business newspaper, Handelsblatt, referred to the Institute as "Germany's most influential economic think tank", while Die Welt, stated that "The best economists in the world are in Kiel".

The Leibniz Institute of European History (IEG) in Mainz, Germany, is an independent, public research institute that carries out and promotes historical research on the foundations of Europe in the early and late Modern period. Though autonomous in nature, the IEG has close connections to the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. In 2012, it joined the Leibniz Association.

The online portal Greenpilot is a service provided by the German National Library of Medicine, ZB MED.

DataCite international not-for-profit organization which aims to improve data citation

DataCite is an international not-for-profit organization which aims to improve data citation in order to:

Intereconomics – Review of European Economic Policy is a bimonthly journal covering economic and social policy issues in Europe or affecting Europe. The editor-in-chief is Jun.-Prof. Dr. Christian Breuer and it is published by Springer Science+Business Media. It is an official publication of the German National Library of Economics (ZBW) and the Centre for European Policy Studies.


EconBiz is an academic search portal for journals, working papers, and conferences in business studies and economics. It is provided by the ZBW - German National Library of Economics, Leibniz Information Centre for Economics. The portal was started in 2002 as the Virtual Library for Economics and Business Studies.

German National Library of Medicine national library

The German National Library of Medicine, abbreviated ZB MED, is the national library of the Federal Republic of Germany for medicine, health sciences, nutrition, agriculture and the environment. It has two locations: Cologne and Bonn. The library is jointly financed by the Federal Ministry of Health and the 16 States of Germany. It is operated under the auspices of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

German National Library of Science and Technology The TIB took on responsibility for operating the German national library of science and technology, as well as architecture, chemistry, computer science, mathematics and physics

The German National Library of Science and Technology, abbreviated TIB, is the national library of the Federal Republic of Germany for all fields of engineering, technology, and the natural sciences. It is jointly funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the 16 German states. Founded in 1959, the library operates in conjunction with the Leibniz Universität Hannover. In addition to acquiring scientific literature, it also conducts applied research in such areas as the archiving of non-textual materials, data visualization and the future Internet. The library is also involved in a number of open access initiatives. With a collection of over 9 million items in 2017, the TIB is the largest science and technology library in the world.

Wirtschaftsdienst – Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftspolitik is a peer-reviewed academic journal covering economic and social policy issues in Germany or affecting Germany. It also publishes topics of the European Union in the fields of trade, econometrics, environment, and monetary policy. The editor-in-chief is Jun.-Prof. Dr. Christian Breuer and it is published by Springer Science+Business Media. The journal is an official publication of the German National Library of Economics (ZBW). It was established in 1916 and is one of the oldest academic economics journals.

The GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences headquartered in Mannheim with a location in Cologne is the largest German infrastructure institute for the social sciences. With basic research-based services and consulting covering all levels of the scientific process, GESIS supports researchers in the social sciences. As of 2017, the president of GESIS is Christof Wolf.

Klaus Tochtermann is a professor in the Institute for Computer Science at Kiel University and also the director of the ZBW – German National Library of Economics – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.

EconStor is a disciplinary repository for Economics and Business Studies which offers research literature in Open Access and makes it findable in various portals and search engines. The service is operated by the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.

20th Century Press Archives

The 20th Century Press Archives comprises about 19 million of newspaper clippings, organized in folders about persons, companies, wares, events and topics.

Open access in Germany research in and of Germany that is online and free to read and reuse

Open access to scholarly communication in Germany has evolved rapidly since the early 2000s. Publishers Beilstein-Institut, Copernicus Publications, De Gruyter, Knowledge Unlatched, Leibniz Institute for Psychology Information, ScienceOpen, Springer Nature, and Universitätsverlag Göttingen belong to the international Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association.

Open access in Austria research in and of Austria that is online and free to read and reuse

Open access to scholarly communication in Austria has developed in the 2010s largely through government initiatives. The Austrian Science Fund and Universities Austria launched the "Open Access Netzwerk Austria" in 2012 to coordinate country-wide efforts. The "E-Infrastructures Austria" project began in 2014 to develop repositories. The international advocacy effort "OpenscienceASAP – Open Science as a Practice" is based in Austria.

The 'German Network for Bioinformatics Infrastructure – de.NBI' is a national, academic and non-profit infrastructure supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research providing bioinformatics services to users in life sciences research and biomedicine in Germany and Europe. The partners organize training events, courses and summer schools on tools, standards and compute services provided by de.NBI to assist researchers to more effectively exploit their data.


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Coordinates: 54°20′18″N10°09′22″E / 54.3383°N 10.1561°E / 54.3383; 10.1561