Peer-based research funding as a model for journalism funding

Authors : Maria Latos, Frank Lobigs, Holger Wormer

Financing high-quality journalistic reporting is becoming increasingly difficult worldwide and economic pressure has intensified in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. While numerous alternative funding possibilities are discussed, ranging from membership models to government funding, they should not compromise the highest possible independence of journalism – a premise that also applies to scientific research.

Here, the state is involved in funding, but peer review models reduce funding bias. However, systematic approaches as to how established funding models in research could be transferred to journalism are lacking. We attempt such a systematic transfer using the example of the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG).

The transfer, based on an analysis of the complex DFG funding structures, was validated in 10 interviews with experts from science, journalism and foundations. Building on this, we developed a concept for a German Journalism Foundation (Deutsche Journalismus-gemeinschaft, DJG), which awards funding to journalists and cooperative projects based on a peer review process.

The funding priorities of the proposed organization range from infrastructure support to grants for investigative skills. Thus, unlike other models, it does not focus on funding specific topics in media coverage, but on areas such as innovation support, technology implementation and training. Although the model was designed for Germany, such a systematic transfer could also be tested for other countries.

URL : Peer-based research funding as a model for journalism funding


Funding models for Open Access digital data repositories


The purpose of this paper is to examine funding models for Open Access (OA) digital data repositories whose costs are not wholly core funded. Whilst such repositories are free to access, they are not without significant cost to build and maintain and the lack of both full core costs and a direct funding stream through payment-for-use poses a considerable financial challenge, placing their future and the digital collections they hold at risk.


The authors document 14 different potential funding streams for OA digital data repositories, grouped into six classes (institutional, philanthropy, research, audience, service, volunteer), drawing on the ongoing experiences of seeking a sustainable funding for the Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI).


There is no straight forward solution to funding OA digital data repositories that are not wholly core funded, with a number of general and specific challenges facing each repository, and each funding model having strengths and weaknesses. The proposed DRI solution is the adoption of a blended approach that seeks to ameliorate cyclical effects across funding streams by generating income from a number of sources rather than overly relying on a single one, though it is still reliant on significant state core funding to be viable.

Practical implications

The detailing of potential funding streams offers practical financial solutions to other OA digital data repositories which are seeking a means to become financially sustainable in the absence of full core funding.


The review assesses and provides concrete advice with respect to potential funding streams in order to help repository owners address the financing conundrum they face.