Instruments of quality assurance in the publication process of the Documentation Centre

Since its foundation in 2020, the qualitative standards of the Austrian Fund for the documentation of religiously motivated political extremism (Documentation Centre Political Islam) are ensured by an internal quality assurance in the key  areas of research, documentation and information. In addition, the Scientific Advisory Board, as an advisory expert body, contributes to ensuring good scientific practice as well as scientific integrity and research ethics. 

In accordance with the mission and purpose of the Documentation Centre, the work processes focus on research, the subsequent analysis, and evaluation of data and materials, as well as the written elaboration of research results. Different formats are available for publishing the results, depending on the type of contribution, scope, and target audience.

At the interface of research and documentation, these are the formats "Report," and "Study Report." The shorter "DPI Focus" format, newly introduced in 2022, is dedicated to current topics and events and, like the "Annual Report," serves increasingly to provide information to a broader audience.

Regardless of the format, internal quality assurance in all four main phases accompanies the creation process of each text. Thus, in the concept and planning phase (1), the research design of a project is checked for, among other things, a clearly formulated research question, consideration of the current state of research, and the appropriateness of the selected method(s).*

The research and elaboration phase (2) involves collecting sources and data, analysing and interpreting them, and writing a rough draft. Researchers from the Documentation Centre subject this to an initial review. Guiding questions in this review are, amongst others, whether the subject matter is processed in accordance with the synopsis, and whether the explanations are objective and free of distortions. In this phase, the project is also thoroughly scrutinised in regards to the observance of research ethics principles and personal rights.

After the feedback and revision of the first draft, the texts are edited in the editing phase (3). In dialogue with the author, the structure and content are checked to ensure plausible argumentation, transparently supported by sources, and compliance with the guidelines of the planned publication format. In the course of several proofreading rounds, the texts are optimized stylistically and formally. At this stage, sources, references, and citations are checked, as well as transcriptions and translations, the uniformity of names and terms, and correct dates. 

In the publication phase (4), the manuscript is prepared for publication. The primary dissemination medium is the Documentation Centre’s website, where all publications are available for free download (open access). Most formats also appear in printed form. The publications are available in selected public libraries and can be requested from the fund free of charge.

The Documentation Centre continuously adapts the existing standards to current trends and developments in quality assurance in order to constantly improve the quality of internal procedures and processes as well as the publications it issues.

*All remarks on good scientific practice are based on the booklet published by the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research and written by members of the Higher Education Conference Working Group "Research Ethics/Research Integrity", „Praxisleitfaden für Integrität und Ethik in der Wissenschaft“, Österreichische Agentur für wissenschaftliche Integrität (oeawi), [17.01.2023].