Professionally supporting publications and raising their visibility – the new University Publishing aims to provide Kiel's scientists with this service. But what does it take to set up something like this?
"Although the University Publishing service is still being established, it is already operable," said Dr Kai Lohsträter. Since 2019, he has been responsible for setting up the service, which is affiliated with Kiel University Library. "Before we presented the business model to the University Board last autumn, we spoke to the faculties, including the professors and the early career researchers, to get an impression of their requirements for a university publishing service and their ideas on how it should be designed," explained the historian. Since then, three pilot projects have already been launched. These include the first volume in the series Kieler Studien zur Universitäts- und Wissenschaftsgeschichte (Kiel Studies on University and Science History), published by Professor Oliver Auge and Karen Bruhn from the Regional History Department. The team has also doubled in size in the meantime: since February, Lohsträter has been driving the development of the University Publishing service together with Wiebke Buckow, a graphic designer with publishing experience. Around ten publications are currently being planned, including conference transcripts for physics, theology and history, the establishment of a literature journal, and the commemorative publication of the Faculty of Agricultural and Nutritional Sciences.
Kiel University Publishing should revolve entirely around modern publishing methods. The focus is on Open Access. This means that literature and materials should be freely accessible to all. An approach that can only be implemented using digital formats. Over the past decade, more and more universities, research institutions and research organisations have committed themselves to the open access concept, and traditional scientific publishers are also constantly expanding their range of offers. Behind all this lies the idea of making science as transparent and accessible as possible. Not least in order to make research results more visible and more accessible to society. Just recently, the coronavirus pandemic has shown how important it is to have access to reliable information.
But why is a publishing service even needed for open access publishing? For around 20 years, university members have been able to publish their research independently via the MACAU publication server. However, the University Publishing service's offer should go beyond this, ensuring adherence to formal and design standards, and taking on data management. In addition, it has recently become possible to offer a printed version in bookshops via service providers. Quality assurance is paramount. This includes plagiarism checks and peer reviews, in which the work is reviewed by independent researchers before publication. "In the preliminary talks, it became clear that this is a big issue, which we take very seriously," said Lohsträter. At the same time, it is one of the most complex requirements for scientific publishing. At Kiel University Publishing, an advisory board consisting of internal and external experts from various disciplines should ensure the quality of the content. "The quality assurance for the individual publications should not be the direct responsibility of the advisory board, but instead it should look at how the scientific quality and the review process are both adequately ensured. This should take place within the respective expert communities," said the project leader. "We aim to set up the advisory board this year."
The Kiel University Publishing project has a timeframe of seven years, and it is progressing in leaps and bounds. Lohsträter's wish is that the authors turn to the new service with confidence. "Our aim is to make the publication professional, but also to make it visible worldwide, through digital object identifiers (DOIs), ISBN numbers, free licenses or inclusion in databases like Google Scholar. We want to achieve the best possible results for the CAU scientists so that they can concentrate on their research and teaching."
Author: Anna-Kristina Pries
Who can publish via Kiel University Publishing?
The Kiel University Publishing services are available exclusively to members of Kiel University (CAU). At least one contact person for the research paper must be connected to one of the institutes. Thus, omnibus volumes, conference transcripts and reports with CAU participation can also be published. Service and advice are free of charge. For services requiring external providers, such as book printing or logistics, the costs incurred are passed on to the scientists without any surcharges. (apr)