Publications Router – new publishers join, and next steps

Two major new publishers are enabling Jisc Publications Router to supply their content to institutional repositories. This helps institutions ensure they are compliant with funders’ open access (OA) policies and alerts them to the existence of their researchers’ articles.

Regular daily feeds of new articles from Public Library of Science (PLOS) have been live since February 2016.

Springer Nature will soon begin live feeds across its extensive portfolio of journals, providing articles that have been made OA as a result of the Springer Compact agreement, as well as other gold OA content.

We’re also optimising the way Router provides feeds to institutional systems, to make it as easy as possible for them to ingest.

This follows the recent announcement that Publications Router will become a full Jisc service from August 2016.

Live feeds from PLOS

PLOS is supplying daily feeds to the Router, immediately upon publication, of full-text articles in the version of record with no embargo period.

PLOS publishes articles within an average 16 days of acceptance (median 13 days), so its feeds to the Router enable participating institutions to add the articles to their repositories within the REF policy’s three-month deadline.

PLOS publishes some 1500 articles per year from UK authors.

About PLOS

PLOS is a leading not-for-profit OA publisher, innovator and advocacy organisation dedicated to accelerating progress in science and medicine by leading a transformation in research communication. It publishes a suite of peer-reviewed OA journals, including the largest journal in the world, PLOS ONE. These feature quality research, expert commentary and critical analysis across all areas of science and medicine – all freely available for the public to distribute, reuse and remix. In addition, PLOS advances innovations in scientific publishing through collections, collaborations, communities and an extensive blog network. Founded to catalyse a revolution in scientific publishing by demonstrating the value and feasibility of OA publication, PLOS is committed, and uniquely positioned, to innovative and forward-looking solutions to scientific communication.

New feeds coming soon from Springer Nature

Springer Nature, one of the world’s largest publishers of scholarly journals, was formed in 2015 from the merger of Springer and Nature Publishing Group. Its feeds to Publications Router will include articles from its Springer imprint, and also from its OA imprints SpringerOpen and BioMed Central.

Springer’s feeds will include articles from its open access journal programme that have been made gold OA as a result of the Springer Compact agreement negotiated for UK institutions by Jisc Collections, as well as from the fully OA imprints mentioned above. Springer Compact is a “flipped” arrangement under which articles from authors at these institutions switch to gold OA within a single annual fee that also covers access to subscription-based content, thereby containing the costs to institutions.

The feeds to institutions will include the version of record of the full-text articles, making use of immediate “Online First” publication following acceptance for publication by the peer review process. The vast majority articles are usually published within 17 days of acceptance, so they will reach institutions in good time for them to deposit within the REF deadline.

These feeds should contribute some 10 000 articles per year to the Router, ready to be matched to authors’ institutions.

Juliane Ritt (EVP Hybrid OA Initiatives, Springer Nature) said “Jisc Publication Router is an efficient service facilitating the wider distribution of open access articles worldwide. Moreover, the UK institutions benefit from the automated service which minimises their administrative efforts and expands the impact of their authors’ research. In particular it enables our Springer Compact partner institutions to easily comply with OA policies.”

Adding more publishers

Our conversations with further publishers continue. There are two in particular that seem close to joining. These are likely also to supply full-text content upon publication, again with fast turn-around times that would fall well within the deposit deadline and maximum embargo periods of the REF policy.

We have also been exploring, with the help of consultants, possible additional or alternative workflows we could implement that would make it easier for a wider range of publishers to contribute feeds, including at acceptance stage. This has also noted options for capturing licensing terms, including details of any embargo that might apply. As well as talking to a wider range of publishers directly, these explorations have also involved other industry bodies, such as vendors of the systems that publishers use, including those for submission and peer review, and digital publishing platforms, amongst others.

We are working through the consultants’ findings – but they have already stimulated renewed positive progress.

Further steps to broaden coverage

We’ve also now added metadata-only feeds from PubMed, as that indexes over a third of all UK research papers in advance of the publication of the version of record.

We’ll then do the same for Crossref. Usable coverage here is so far surprisingly quite limited, as most publishers don’t yet populate it with authors’ affiliation details. Amongst the major publishers, there’s one significant exception, so we should be able to pass on metadata-only notifications from that publisher’s journals this way. We hope others will soon start doing the same.

The Crossref route may well also offer major promise for the future, for a number of different reasons. It’s major piece of the scholarly communications infrastructure with which almost all publishers are already engaged. It also forms the backbone of workflows for other significant initiatives around the world, such as CHORUS. We’ll be exploring with publishers whether, based on Crossref, we can find a way of also passing on full-text articles, even if under embargo, with the Router acting as a trusted intermediary subject to agreed terms.

In addition, in important new guidelines announced earlier this year, Crossref now facilitates the early registration of DOIs even if there is no content online for them to resolve to. We have welcomed this development. Amongst other things, it could enable us to alert institutions to their outputs at or near acceptance – so we hope publishers will deposit the necessary metadata at this stage, including enough information to identify the institutions to which the authors are affiliated.

Optimising feeds to institutions

Our pilot institutions are ones that wish to ingest straight into their Eprints repositories, so that’s the workflow we’ve been looking at first.

As I blogged last year, our aim was to avoid the need for institutions to install any plug-in onto their repositories for the Router to work. Feedback from institutions since then has been that it is not straightforward for them to do the local configuration that would require.

We are therefore now adapting the outbound feeds, firstly to make it easier, on Eprints repositories, for the information we send to fall into the correct core default metadata fields. We then plan to provide an Eprints plug-in to populate the additional RIOXX fields, for repositories that have implemented them.

That work will enable us to press ahead with bringing on board the next batch of six Eprints-using institutions who are keen to take advantage of the Router service. We’ll then also resume our work to ensure the Router works for institutions using other systems, such as DSpace and the various CRISs. Then we can roll out the Router to next 20 or so institutions who have said they wish to join, and Router will be set to make a major impact in helping institutions meet their OA needs.

Further information

More details about Jisc Publications Router are available on its web site at It provides information both for institutions wishing to benefit from the service and also for publishers who wish to contribute feeds. If you’d like to get involved please contact us via

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