Project "Diamond Thinking" (BMBF project)
What is it about?
Funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) for the period between September 2023 and August 2025, the project is a step in the direction of making scientific publications easy to publish and access. This transformation aligns with the promotion and strengthening of scholar-led and university-supported practices of scientific publishing. The concrete aims of the project are to assist scientists at KIT (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology) with the foundation of high-quality scientific journals for various disciplines at KIT as well as to support the "flipping" of existing commercially published journals to scholar-led platforms.
Why this project?
The background to this project lies in the manipulative practices in the field of scientific publication, which are the results of the ever-growing oligopolistic tendencies of the commercial publishers. Profit-oriented publication practices are even more pronounced in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) disciplines to the extent that the rising costs threatens the tong-term sustainability of scientific publication. These challenges and detriments have recently been addressed by the Wissenschaftsrat and Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). In their published papers, the Wissenschaftsrat (2022) and DFG (2022) issued recommendations, urging research institutions and their partner stakeholders to actively participate in reshaping the system themselves. International scientific associations like cOAlition S (2023), an international association of research funders with prominent support from the EU, have also issued calls firmly in favour of transferring publication practices into the hands of researcher-friendly and scholar-led modes of scientific publications, such as the Diamond Open Access modelDiamond Open Access refers to a scholarly publication model in which journals and platforms do not charge fees to either authors or readers..
Preparatory work at KIT
At KIT, the KIT Library has been laying the foundation for its in-house open-access publication infrastructure for over 20 years. KIT already operates a renowned data repository, KITopen, and its own academic publication house, KIT Scientific Publishing. Building on these strong foundations of publication services, the previous project "Open Access Books at the TU9", expanded the publishing services offered by the KIT Library. Adding to the existing services, the new project, “Diamond Thinking” establishes a new pillar of publishing service by supporting the publication of open access journals. Under the direction and support of the KIT Library, scholars will have the flexibility and freedom to determine journal policies. Furthermore, the daily operations of the KIT Library will be enriched with new consulting services.
To realize our aims of the project "Diamond Thinking", we have developed a multi-layered service model called "DONAU4KIT- Diamond Open Access Journals at KIT".
You can find further information here.
Sustainable realization of Open Science
With the DONAU4KIT service model, we strive to turn the Open Science movement into a reality. The goal is to assist scholars in establishing Diamond Open Access Journals, where authors can publish their high-quality scientific work for free, and readers can access and reuse the content freely under Open Access principles.
To establish these high-quality journals for all major disciplines at KIT, we offer two support models to scholars:
a) starting a journal from the beginning,
b) transitioning their existing journals from commercial publishers to our scholar-friendly, institutionally supported publishing services ("flipping").
The reason for the transition may be many, including the dissatisfaction among editors and authors with the existing pricing and service models of commercial publishing houses, which prioritize profit maximization over effectively open sharing of research output. Often, scientists involved in publishing processes are motivated by the desire to regain control over the content and format of research publication in their disciplines. They aim to (re)claim their decision-making authority by transitioning to in-house infrastructures within their own institutions. In such cases, we are available to support and counsel them with the motto of "science in the hands of scientists".
- As our ultimate aim is to support the scientific communities in establishing financially sustainable Diamond Open Access Journals, we will provide consultation at KIT Library to choose the best financing models for the scientists by establishing partnership between scientific societies and publishers.
- We aim to optimize, accelerate, and streamline workflows for authors, reviewers, and editors. By alleviating various the stressful and time-consuming steps, we will help scientists save time and focus on what matters: scientific research, discussions, and the global availability of knowledge.
- We offer a high-quality open infrastructure through resources offered by our own in-house publication as well as our co-publishing partners. Our platforms are open, non-proprietary, and sustainable, preventing the emergence of lock-in effects.
- We aim provide multi-layered consulting services and guide our partners in science through all stages of establishing or flipping journals, both processual and procedural.
"Diamond Thinking as a laboratory at KIT Library: In addition to supporting scientists, our project "Diamond Thinking" will serve as a think tank for strategy development and the examination of publication trends at the KIT. Together with the new service DONAU4KIT and the project "ERRED", we plan comprehensive surveys on campus to engage in conversation with scientists. We aim to identify and evaluate the needs of scientific communities and offer customizable publication options.
We are planning a multi-stage and systematic approach to optimize the new publication pathways according to the specific needs and preferences of editors and authors. In addition, we will test different models of financing and evaluating scientific publications.
- Identification and testing of various financing models: Depending on the initial situation of different professional societies, we will discuss the financial practicality of the Diamond Open Access Publication approach. This includes options such as paid memberships in scientific societies or exploring alternative financing methods, such as advertising, sponsorship, and involvement of non-scientific actors.
- Testing evaluation criteria for research: With the support KITopen, we are working on finding new standards for good research and research practices through Diamond Open Access Journals. Following the calls of the DFG (2022) and the Wissenschaftsrat (2022), our aim is to assess scientific performance based on the content rather than publication venues.
We use DONAU4KIT as a laboratory to amplify the voices of scientific communities and understand what they consider as good research practices and results. Therefore, we closely intertwine our project with the "ERRED" project. Both projects will maintain constant contact with the scientific community at KIT, conducting a series of surveys and feedback sessions to directly and indirectly understand the needs and sentiments of researchers. The results will be closely linked with the leadership level of KIT and the flagship project Open Science 9.2.
cOAlition S. (2023), Towards responsible publishing: seeking input from the research community to a draft proposal from cOAlition S.
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft | AG Publikationswesen (2022), Wissenschaftliches Publizieren als Grundlage und Gestaltungsfeld der Wissenschaftsbewertung.
Wissenschaftsrat (2022), Empfehlungen zur Transformation des wissenschaftlichen Publizierens zu Open Access.