Here, you can find answers to the most frequent questions from editorial boards, editors and publishers about KOALA. If you have any further questions, please contact koalatibeu.
We ask journals and book series that are interested in participating in KOALA to fill in a questionnaire. You can download it here.
Traditionally, journals and book series are financed through subscriptions or the sale of single copies, which excludes less affluent readers. Some Open Access periodicals are financed through so-called article or book processing charges, which in turn causes difficulties for some authors. Both forms of financing have seen price increases in the past, presenting libraries with difficult choices in literature acquisition.
KOALA is committed to a different approach that gives free access to content to all interested parties ("Open Access") and does not exclude authors from participating in the scholarly debate for financial reasons.
Journals and book series can be included if they meet the requirements, have realistic funding goals and fit into a planned disciplinary bundle. These disciplinary bundles are then offered to interested institutions – especially academic libraries, but also private companies, individuals and other supporters – for joint funding.
During the pledging round, supporters can commit to contributing to the costs. If the specified number of supporters is reached and the pledging target is met, they contribute according to their size and the volume of the bundled periodicals. The editorial boards will then receive funding over three years. If there are not enough supporters, the KOALA funding will not come into effect.
KOALA collects funding pledges during the pledge year. The pledging round usually starts at the end of April/the beginning of May and lasts until September. During this period, KOALA provides comprehensive information about the bundles and funding model on several channels. Institutions can make funding pledges until the cut-off date (for 2022: September 30). After the cut-off date, it will be determined whether the pledging target has been reached.
If the pledging target is reached, binding contracts are formed with the supporting institutions. This provides legal certainty about the funding for the three years.
If the pledging target is not met, the consortional funding does not come into effect.
It is difficult to make any definitive forecast before the end of the pledging round. A bundle with content that is considered not attractive enough or is perceived as too expensive may win only a few supporters and miss the pledging target. On the other hand, a bundle that is perceived as high-quality and reasonably priced might fare better.
In each round, funding for a period of 3 years is organised through KOALA. The year before the funding starts is called the "pledging year", during which KOALA aims to secure supporters for the bundles. This typically happens during the period from the beginning of May to the end of September. Arrangements for the pledging year take place during the preceding year, the "planning year". During the planning year, applications from periodicals are screened and evaluated. This is the timeline at a glance:
- Planning year: Advice for periodicals on meeting the requirements, information on process, resolving contractual issues.
- Pledging year: Finalising the contracts between the editorial boards and KOALA, pledging round. If the pledging target is met, funding period starts in the following year.
- Funding year 1
- Funding year 2 (= planning year in case of follow-up funding)
- Funding year 3 (= pledging year for follow-up funding)
- Open Access for readers: no paywalls
- Attractive for authors: publish without author-facing costs and in compliance with DFG and EU funding requirements
- More time for editorial work: once the pledging target is met, funding is guaranteed for a period of three years, so that the editorial board can concentrate on editorial work. At the end of the funding period, supporters need to renew their funding commitments.
- Heightened visibility for periodicals in the library world
- Networking opportunities with other KOALA editorial boards
- Inclusion in KOALA bundles is a symbol of quality.
- Supporting the transition to Open Access: KOALA offers advice on the transformation to Open Access and implementing the requirements.
- Listening to scholars: there is a strong desire from the research community for consortial funding of Open Access publications. Both rising subscription fees and the high administrative costs of author fees are viewed more and more critically. Through consortial funding, a publishing house can show that it picks up on the scholarly community's needs.
- Compared to subscriptions and author-facing costs, the administration of collaborative financing is much simpler (1 invoice per year), the risk is lower and the projection of revenues is more reliable.
To be considered for participating in KOALA, periodicals need to meet the following criteria:
- Scholarly periodicals: except for law and medicine, all subjects taught at German universities are eligible. Popular science literature, bulletins of discipline-specific associations or non-academic journals are not eligible.
- The journal or book series needs to have strong ties to the research community.
- Periodically published journals or book series: KOALA does not currently offer funding for other publication formats such as blogs or monographs.
- Digital publication: KOALA-funded periodicals must be published digitally. It is possible to publish a print edition in addition. Costs for print editions are not covered by KOALA.
- Requirements: KOALA-funded periodicals must meet the requirements. KOALA advises and supports editors and publishers on implementing these requirements.
- No private individuals: KOALA-funded periodicals must be published by a corporate body (association, publishing house, foundation, Ltd, ...). Contracts with private individuals are not possible.
Both Journals or book series that are already published Open Access and those that are still behind a paywall are eligible. KOALA supports the transformation of Open Access journals with author-facing costs ("APC model") to Open Access that is free of charge for authors ("Diamond Open Access") as well as the continuation of Open Access periodicals that are already free of charge for readers and authors.
New journals or book series can either be sorted into an existing bundle during the next funding round (if a thematically suitable one exists), or grouped with other candidates into a new bundle during the planning phase.
Joining an existing bundle is not possible during the three-year funding period.
New bundles are compiled every year. The range is not limited thematically (only law and medicine are excluded, see Can my journal or book series participate in KOALA?). It is therefore possible to apply as a periodical from a discipline not represented in an existing bundle. If other related applications are received, a new bundle can be put together. A bundle must consist of at least two journals or book series.
If funded by KOALA, publishers and editorial boards commit themselves to comply with the requirements.
Furthermore, the publisher and editorial boards undertake to deliver the agreed output of publications per year. The publications should be similar in quantity, type and quality to the output of previous years. This is evaluated annually. In case of significant underperformance, funding may be reduced.
All publications issued during a funding period term must be digitally preserved and must be accessible free of charge and without technical barriers even after funding has ended.
The contract with the publisher or issuing body is signed in the spring of the pledging year. If the pledging target is reached, it ends at the end of December three years later. If the pledging target is not reached, the contract ends when it is determined that the pledging target has not been met.
During its project phase, KOALA was a cooperation between the TIB – Leibniz Information Centre for Science and Technology and the Communication, Information and Media Centre (KIM) at the University of Konstanz. KOALA received project funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research to set up the service. Both institutions have extensive and long-standing experience in the field of Open Access. After the project funding ended and upon successful evaluation, KOALA became a regular service at TIB as a part of their licensing and consortia business. KOALA operates on a not-for-profit basis and is not a service provided by a commercial business.