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DINI Certificate for Open Access Repositories and Publication Services 2019


Publishing is an important pillar of the advancement of scientific knowledge and of science as a whole. Among its characteristics are
(a) the organization of an effective communication between scientists/scholars (between authors and all potential recipients, i.e. securing an adequate dissemination),
(b) a high degree of trustworthiness (e.g. with regard to priority, copyrights, authenticity, and quality of content) that is communicated to the users of publications (i.e. the scientists/scholars), and
(c) sustainability and verifiability (persistent citations, long-term availability, traceability of the steps on the way to publication).

The present catalog of criteria translates these general expectations of scientific publishing into concrete minimum requirements of Open Access Repositories and Publication Services. As platforms for the publication and presentation of scientific and scholarly works these represent important hubs in the scientific communication process. As Open Access services they facilitate the dissemination and democratization of knowledge.

The term Open Access Repositories and Publication Services comprises the following services:

  • Institutional Open Access repositories
  • Disciplinary Open Access repositories
  • Open Access journals

Aims and Objectives of the DINI Certificate

The DINI Certificate essentially serves two superior goals:

  1. Improving the publication infrastructure for electronic publishing;
  2. Strengthen Open Access based forms of publishing.

The DINI Certificate with its underlying catalog of criteria facilitates reaching these goals in the following manner:

  1. The DINI Certificate communicates benchmarks, guidelines, and best practices; it contributes to a general understanding of the principles of electronic scientific publishing. Its requirements support the realization of this form of publishing. Through its detailed catalog of requirements and the permanent practical evaluation the DINI Certificate offers orientation for further discussions and the regular adaptation and editing of requirements.
  2. The DINI Certificate yields effects for operators. Minimum requirements and recommendations form a catalog of aspects (and consequently a series of steps) that must be considered when creating a service for electronic publishing. As such, it servers to qualify personnel that is responsible for the implementation and operation of a publication service.
  3. The DINI Certificate yields effects for funding bodies (supporters of information infrastructure, operating institutions). It shows what effort it takes and what measure of professionalism it requires to operate an Open Access repository and publication service, and what it costs; but it also shows what additional benefits a solid, standardized and sustainable service generates. On the other hand funding bodies can use the DINI Certificate as benchmark for the definition of organizational and technical bases for the (Open Access) publication of works.
  4. The DINI Certificate yields effects for scientists/scholars who use Open Access repositories and publication services as authors and/or publishers. In this sense, the DINI Certificate is an easy to recognize quality seal for customers. It designates publication services as trustworthy partners within their institution or discipline.
  5. Naturally, the DINI Certificate causes an actual improvement of a publication service’s quality, regarding – among others – organizational and technical sustainability, interoperability and transparency. This effect is best seen in services that are already certified. But it can also be observed in the use of the certificate as guideline for the creation of new services, even if no official certification process follows
  6. The DINI Certificate’s seal works as a mark of quality and encourages use of the services.

Content of the Certificate

The DINI Certificate’s catalog of criteria and the certification process based on it aim at Open Access Repositories and Publishing Services and their inherent core components and processes. Operators and providers of the Open Access repositories and publication services looked at in this document are primarily scientific institutions (universities, universities of applied sciences, research institutions etc.) and organizations (professional associations), but also non-commercial and commercial publishing entities that publish Open Access. Open Access repositories and publication services in this sense must be addressed and described with the kinds of publications they are intended for in mind (institutional, disciplinary, and formal aspects). They are characterized by the following core processes:

  • Services for authors and publishers/editors;
  • Intake, treatment and long-term storage of the documents and metadata of a publication;
  • Public availability of the publications, ensuring findability for human and machine-based access (necessary for comprehensive add-on services) as well as the transfer of metadata and where applicable the publication.

The following core components realize or support the abovementioned core processes.

  • An underlying organizational structure (not element of the certificate)
  • The technical basic system;
  • User interfaces (esp. web frontend, deposit license);
  • Technical interfaces (esp. OAI interface).

Technical and organizational implementations of Open Access repositories and publication services can vary greatly with regard to the allocation of responsibilities and equally with regard to the integration in a larger, comprehensive infrastructure (stand-alone services with an individual installation of a repository or journal-processing software; use of hosting services of an internal or external service provider; integration into other elements of an institutional information infrastructure, e.g. research information systems, campus management, institutional bibliographies). However, basis for a service’s evaluation and certification are the relevant processes and components to provide the service. Even if a repository or publication service is technically and organizationally integrated into a comprehensive infrastructure, the certificate can “disassociate” itself from the actual implementation and rely on its catalog of criteria.