Introduction Meier zu Verl, C.& Horstmann, W. (2011) In: C. Meier zu Verl & W. Horstmann (Eds.), Studies on Subject-Specific Requirements for Open Access Infrastructure pp. 5-18. Bielefeld: Universitätsbibliothek.
As the internet continuously catalyses the development of novel methods to perform research, elementary questions about future forms of research communication are being posed. One of these questions is how openness of research can be optimally exploited through the internet, in order to tackle research problems previously impossible to analyse and also in order to increase time effectiveness and cost efficiency. Hence, research is transforming constantly by capabilities of new technologies: "Collaboration is growing for a variety of reasons. Developments in communication technologies and cheaper travel make it easier than ever before for researchers to work together, the scale of research questions, and the equipment required to study demands that researcher are mobile and responsive" (Royal Society, 2011). Openness in the internet shall ease the collaboration of researchers around the globe and the sharing of resources. This is often referred to as Open Access (OA). Originally, OA activities were referring predominantly to text-based publications. More recently, topics such as Open Data or Open Science were entering the discussion. In order to adopt a neutral stance in this study, it should be noted that OA is not presupposed as an imperative requirement for research. Specific aspects of research may require access restrictions, among them quality considerations, competition, privacy and security. The question posed in this study is rather, in which parts of research is OA beneficial for research itself and in which parts could OA even being regarded as a restriction for the function of research? What makes this study unique? While other studies point out issues like communication, archival publication or data sharing, curation and re-use, our study addresses the interplay between subject specificity, OA and infrastructure. The combination of case studies provided by highly specific and renowned institutes and authored by subject experts shall shed light on the diversity of research cultures. Five different research disciplines will be thoroughly described in order to show principles of existing research infrastructures and draw conclusions for a roadmap.