The global scientific communication system is currently undergoing fundamental changes. Due to the new possibilities that the internet and other information and communication technologies offer, and also to the scientists’ and scholars’ changing requirements, new distribution and dissemination channels appear in addition to the classical publishing houses. A leading development of the past years is the global Open Access movement that is committed to making scientific information, especially scientific and scholarly publications, available free of charge.
Most scientific and scholarly institutions have reacted to this and installed publication infrastructures in the form of so called document and publication servers, thus creating the possibility to make scientific and scholarly publications available online for a worldwide audience and to archive them. Not only the Wissenschaftsrat (German Science Council) and the Hochschulrektorenkonferenz (Conference of University Rectors in Germany) require this, but the funding organizations such as the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF; Federal Ministry of Education and Research) and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG; German Research Foundation) support this as a current task.
It is important that this development is in accordance with international standards and based on proven technologies. It is only in this manner that visibility and impact of the individual scientist’s/scholar’s work can be maximized and the research results of universities or other research institutions be globally and adequately recognized.
To accompany the numerous developments in Germany and to define general requirements for publication infrastructures DINI's working group for Electronic Publishing embraced this topic early on and in 2002 published its first recommendations for “Electronic Publishing in Higher Education” Based on these, the working group formulated criteria and formalized them in the “DINI Certificate for Document and Publishing Services”. Following the 2004 and 2007 editions, 2010 is the third edition. The certificate describes technical as well as organizational and legal aspects that should be considered when setting up and running a sustained Document and Publication Service.
While the 2004 edition's focus was on so called university document servers–meaning mostly university publishing platforms for theses and dissertations–the 2007 edition paid more regard to the global Open Access activities, especially the so-called “green road”. The “green road” describes making a publication available online by self archiving them on institutional or disciplinary repositories parallel to or after publishing the same work elsewhere. This concerns most of all preprints and postprints of academic articles, but also other publication types such as monographs, research reports and conference proceedings. Additionally, the DINI Certificate 2007 edition addressed scientific and scholarly institutions of all kinds and emphasized the service character that should drive a Document and Publication Service.
The DINI Certificate's catalog of criteria and the certification of a Document and Publication Service that is based on it has the following aims:
This third edition of the DINI Certificate is the consequent further development of the work done up to now with a clear description of criteria that ensure a service's adherence to national and international standards and developments. Services that meet the minimum requirements may receive the certificate and show their quality within their own institution or discipline and also worldwide. Certified services are links in a growing chain of non-commercial content providers.
Certification of services as a sign that guarantees their worldwide interoperability in the science's growing communication network for high-quality publications does not have to be limited to universities and research institutions. Open Access publishers, data aggregators and data centers are invited to participate in the science communication of the future and apply for the DINI Certificate.
With the awarding of the certificate DINI facilitates a transparent quality control for Document and Publication Services. To achieve certification minimum requirements of the service and the service provider are listed. Meeting these requirements is a prerequisite for modern scientific and scholarly communication. At the same time, the DINI Certificate formulates recommendations based on foreseeable developments that are already visible today and might become minimum requirements in the future.