Information for libraries and research institutions

Here, you can find answers to the most frequent questions from libraries and research institutions about KOALA. If you have any further questions, please contact koalatibeu.

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.

In recent years, there has been a sharp increase in the price of both subscription-based and publication-based costs ("APCs"). The problems of the APC business model are becoming increasingly apparent: strong research universities and institutions with a high publication output pay more than institutions that primarily use reading access. Moreover, the financing of APCs is often dependent on temporary third-party funding, the expenses incurred are not easy to plan, and the administrative burden for complex licensing models with Open Access components is often high.

KOALA finances APC-free Open Access journals and book series ("Diamond Open Access") by organising publication-based funding for the operating costs of the journal/book series through consortia. In addition to libraries, other stakeholders (private individuals, companies, museums, societies) can participate in the funding.

  • Planning reliability: No matter how many authors from an institution publish in the journals or book series of a bundle, and regardless of how often a publication is accessed: the price remains the same for three years. The costs are fixed on 30 September of the previous year for the next three years (i. e. if you participate in the pledging phase in 2023 and the consortium is established, the costs for 2024, 2025 and 2026 are fixed).
  • Scalability of the Open Access transformation: The simplified invoicing procedure promotes the scalalbility of the Open Access transformation, as invoicing is done per bundle rather than per article or chapter. This means fewer individual invoices and less administrative work. There is no need for validation in dashboards, no complex authentication process and no splitting of invoices when APC funding limits are exceeded.
  • Trusted, non-commercial players: The organisation and management of Open Access consortia is in the hands of library players with experience in managing consortia. KOALA is convinced that the transformation of acquisition budgets that is necessary for sustainable Open Access landscape should also involve consortial models. Thus, KOALA is part of the publication infrastructure in the hands of the scholarly community.

Details about the bundles for financing in 2024 to 2026 will be published soon.

A funding period for a bundle covers three years. If you participate in the upcoming pledging round (2023) and the pledging target is reached, your institution commits to payments in 2024, 2025 and 2026. At the end of three years, the contract expires and participation is not automatically renewed.

New supporters can join at the beginning of the year.

It is not possible to exit before the end of a funding period.

Invoices are issued by TIB at the beginning of each year (participating institutions will receive an invoice for their 2024 contribution at the beginning of 2024, an invoice for their 2025 contribution at the beginning of 2025, etc.). Processing via agencies, intermediaries, etc. is not possible.

The editorial boards of each participating journal or book series report their financial requirements in order to be able to publish sustainably and without author-facing costs. In addition, there are service costs for handling the consortional business. The financing requirements of all editorial boards in the bundle plus the service costs make up in the bundle's pledging target.

If the bundle's pledging target is not reached, the respective editorial offices will not receive any funding, not even partially. The entire bundle fails (and no contributions have to be paid, of course).

Details about the bundles for financing in 2024 to 2026 will be published soon.

No. The bundles can be supported individually.

No. It is not possible to split up the bundles or to recombine them individually. This would lead to significantly higher administrative effort and costs.

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.

KOALA does not have the scholarly expertise to assess the content quality of each individual publication. KOALA assesses the quality according to librarian and publisher standards relying on the KOALA requirements. They are based on the criteria formulated by the Plan S initiative. This ensures that KOALA-funded publications are compatible with all funding requirements. The KOALA requirements include technical specifications, metadata, copyright and licences, as well as transparency on editorial processes, quality assurance and funding.

Through the pledging process, institutions have the option to support only those bundles they deem relevant. A bundle's quality and relevance are thus judged by the supporters.

KOALA primarily recommends that participating editorial boards use the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence, but CC0 and CC BY-SA are also accepted. In justified cases, CC BY-ND may be used. The use of the CC BY-NC licence is excluded.

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