Latest news from project KOALA: Search for supporters for collaborative Open Access funding begins

Institutions can now participate in collaborative OA funding in media studies and social sciences

Project KOALA (“Konsortiale Open-Access-Lösungen aufbauen”, Building consortial solutions for Open Access) has launched its first pledging phase for publications in the fields of media studies and social sciences. The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), and the aim of the two project partners, the TIB – Leibniz Information Centre for Science and Technology and the Communication, Information and Media Centre (KIM) of the University of Konstanz, is to jointly establish sustainable, collaborative financing of open access journals and book series, which will enable them to operate without costs for authors.

In the so-called pledging phase, supporters – libraries, research institutions, foundations, museums, associations, companies and even individuals – commit to contributing to the costs of financing OA publications. If the targeted number of supporters is reached, they contribute according to their size and the volume of the bundled publications. If not enough supporters are found, the KOALA funding will not come into effect.

How does the KOALA model work?

Traditionally, scientific and scholarly journals and book series are financed through (mostly institutional) subscriptions or the sale of single copies, which excludes a large number of potential readers from access. On the other hand, some open access journals let authors pay for publishing open access, charging so-called article processing charges (APCs).

“We think that access to scientific and scholarly knowledge should be free and without financial barriers. This is why we strive to establish sustainable and fair open access models,” says Marco Tullney, overall project lead for KOALA at the TIB.

Professor Dr Sören Auer, director of TIB, adds: “Collaborative open access funding by diverse consortia taps into the long and comprehensive experience libraries have had with consortia. We are now adapting this well-established model for open access publications.”

“We see a great need for open access funding beyond APCs, but so far there are not enough solutions. I firmly believe that with KOALA we can establish funding models that can contribute to publication diversity and cost reduction,” explains Dr Anja Oberländer, sub-project leader and deputy director of the Communication, Information and Media Centre (KIM) at the University of Konstanz.

The KOALA pilot portfolio includes the following two bundles:

KOALA Media Studies 2023

KOALA Sozialwissenschaften 2023

What are suitable journals and book series for KOALA?

Potential candidates for funding by KOALA consortia are journals or publication series that are planning to provide direct access to full texts without charging publication fees, or already do so. This includes journals that are already open access as well as journals that are currently only accessible to subscribers and want to change their model. Journals or series that currently charge APCs but are willing to stop doing so can also participate.

Besides publishing open access, KOALA requires journals and book series to adhere to a set of standards: These are based on Plan S, a strategy to promote open access to publicly funded scientific knowledge, and other relevant initiatives. The publishers and editors participating in KOALA receive extensive support in implementing these standards.

How are the prices determined?

The prices for the individual bundles are determined on the basis of the financial requirements the journals and book series specify to KOALA in order to sustainably operate their publication. For each bundle, there is a pricing scale with several tiers to which participating supporters can assign themselves according to their size. The journals and book series will then receive funding from the KOALA consortium for a period of three years.

How can I or my institution participate in the funding?

The majority of the acquisitions departments of academic libraries in Germany will receive information about participation in the KOALA consortium by email within the next few days. Other interested parties are welcome to contact the project team by email at koala@tib.eu or attend one of the information events.

Can other journals be included?

The bundles for the current pledging phase have been finalised. However, preparations for the next funding round starting in 2024 are already underway; interested journals or book series are welcome to contact us.

Project KOALA is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) for a period of two years.

Further information on the KOALA project

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