Jisc and international OA infrastructure

This post is a companion to a poster Balviar is presenting for Jisc at the Open Repositories conference next week in Dublin. You can download the poster [PDF] here:


The poster gives three views of how Jisc is contributing to, and building on, international infrastructure for OA. Those three ways are:

1. Expressing open science policies
2. Services to reduce costs by exploiting existing interoperability and global identifier solutions
3. Event-based infrastructure based on machine-based notifications, to better support open sciences policies and practices

Here, i go into a little more detail than we could on the poster itself.

Expressing open science policies

Journals’ requirements on research data management

Jisc research on international journals’ requirements in 2015 revealed multi-dimensional complexity that defies simple structure. The sheer number of differences meant that it would be very difficult to reliably register and document each policy in a way that would benefit researchers. The findings were published UKSG Insights.

Jisc is now working on ways to help journal publishers better write and communicate data policies. We’ve been developing a policy template to understand the potential issues that a data policy would cover, and will be sharing this with a range of publishers for comment. We will be producing guidance and template policies aimed at publishers, starting Autumn 2016.

Journals’ requirements on OA

Jisc Sherpa/RoMEO describes the OA policies of over 25,000 journals, which are rather varied, often by publisher. Working with the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers, and a working group of leading international journal publishers, we have defined a candidate data structure to represent journal OA policies. This is based around the need to have a comprehensive description of a policy, where all the possible variations of rights relating to article version, archiving locus and reuse licence are clearly set out. Where publishers’ policies also have variation according to the author’s institution, or the funder of the original work, or an embargo length, these variations also need to be clearly laid out.

We now hope to finalise this with our publisher partners and have it recommended by publisher professional and trade bodies. This work is currently ongoing and we hope to have a distributable proposal for general analysis and comment towards the latter half of 2016.

Research funders’ requirements on research data management

Jisc Sherpa/Juliet describes funder research data management and sharing policies. Many of these are tentative as infrastructure develops and research cultures evolve, although some are strong. It is probably too early to attempt to impose structure on these policies.

Research funders’ and institutions’ requirements on OA

Jisc Sherpa/Juliet documents funders’ OA policies, and ROARMAP keeps track of institutional OA policies around the world. The specifics of these remain largely driven by local considerations for particular funders and institutions, with little attention given to their combined effect on researchers. Jisc, with others, has developed a schema for the expression of funders’ and institutions’ OA policies. The schema covers details of:

  • The organisation issuing the policy
  • The status, scope and start date of the policy
  • Repository deposit requirements
  • Repository OA requirements
  • OA publishing requirements

A range of funders and institutions have implemented the schema, and further efforts are being made to encourage take-up. The schema, plus visualisations comparing the policies covered so far, are at:
The next steps during 2016 are to encourage and enable more funders and institutions to use the schema, and to further demonstrate its value.

Institutions’ requirements on research data management

The Jisc Digital Curation Centre has mapped funder requirements for research data management to new fields in the Organisation Profile Document format, for URLs for the institution’s:

  • Means of raising staff awareness of funders’ research data requirements
  • Research data policy
  • Strategy or implementation plan for research data services
  • RDM advice and support services
  • Active data storage
  • Data register or catalogue
  • Persistent identification for datasets
  • Data access procedures
  • Secure data access
  • Institutional publications repository (if it includes research data or metadata)
  • Data repository for longer term access and preservation

For more information, see:

Services to reduce costs by exploiting existing interoperability and global identifier solutions

We are getting to the point now where international interoperability initiatives of various kinds can be built on to provide useful services to support OA. The policy expression services described above are an example, but there are others that Jisc is using, and/or contributing to, and/or leading. In brief, these are:

Recommended practices for journal publishers

Changes in the journal supply chain can lead to the need for standardisation, eg:

  • Increasing moves of journal titles between publishers led to the need for Project Transfer
  • Growth of knowledge bases to support e-resource management led to the need for KBART

Now, the emerging OA / APC-based supply chain, under funder OA policies, leads to the need for a new set of recommended practices for publishers. This Jisc-led initiative is the first attempt to document these practices. Based on close liaison with academic libraries, it covers good practice for publishers in:

  • using Crossref and ORCID
  • Communications around the acceptance of a paper for publication
  • Clear licensing and policies for OA
  • Inclusion of key dates in metadata

We are in discussions with UKSG to see whether this is something that can be taken forward under their remit, as a cross-sector and cross-industry agreement. Jisc Collections may also include it as a part of our negotiations with publishers. More information here:

INTACT project / Efficiency and Standards for Article Charges

ESAC is an international initiative to define messaging standards around APC workflows. Led by Max Planck Digital Library and PLOS, with others, it is now part of the German INTACT project. In particular, INTACT will:

  • build an open data service for article charges (so we are working with them through the Jisc Monitor UK service)
  • look at the business processes of the evolving APC market and propose efficient workflows

With respect to the second of these aims, INTACT then is one of the groups and activities that will need to be in the view of the new “efficiencies” subgroup of the Universities-UK OA Coordinating Group in the UK, along with other groups quickly noted here.


Jisc Collections has brokered a UK national ORCID consortium which now has 66 members including universities and research funders. Take-up by researchers is increasing, and we are building ORCID into services such as Jisc Monitor, Jisc Publications Router and CORE, as well as offering support for UK institutions implementing ORCID. More information here:


Crossref is increasingly central to formal publishing, and the IRUS-UK usage statistics service already uses it to de-duplicate its data. The new Crossref guidance for publishers supporting funder mandates, especially on the early assignment of DOIs soon after acceptance, has the potential radically to simplify a number of workflows, and Jisc services like the Router stand ready to exploit this when it is implemented. Crossref has also issued guidance on using DOIs for preprints.


RIOXX is a metadata profile for OA articles in repositories. While specific to UK requirements, it is mapped closely to the OpenAIRE guidelines and CASRAI work in this area. RIOXX enables UK repositories to be harvested into OpenAIRE automatically, saving time for repositories.


COUNTER is the internationally recognised standard for recording and reporting usage data for scholarly materials at journal and article level. Jisc contributes to its development, and uses it in a range of services including IRUS-UK (usage reports for repositories, and CORE) and JUSP (journal usage statistics portal).

Event-based infrastructure

At present, institutions host “repositories” (for publications and, increasingly, for data), as do some research funders, and some third party services. Two kinds of information from these repositories are currently harvested; metadata and/or content (eg by CORE or research data discovery services) and usage data (eg by IRUS-UK). The limitations of this pattern have been rehearsed many times, in its limited response to the following drivers:

User experience: learning from services such as ResearchGate and various submission systems, users (researchers) want

  1. Easy, one-time submission of material, without re-keying information
  2. Value add services after submission, such as notifications of use and impact
  3. Congruence with their disciplinary view of the world
  4. Ability to re-use material in a wide range of workflows including those incorporating text and data mining

Data completeness and efficiency: many systems within this pattern lack completeness of data, both in broadness (capturing all research outputs in a set) and depth (quality and quantity of metadata, especially useable identifiers)

  1. Accurate information and reporting is made possible (for funders, senior university staff, researchers and publishers), at the moment critical services hold an incomplete record of research outputs, producing inaccurate management information. Furthermore, data is often added in a timely manner
  2. Currently data is re-entered in to different systems a number of times. Once entered it is normally then corrected/enhanced by support staff. Further updates are made as information becomes available (e.g. issue/vol/pages on publication).

Technology: the following technologies are now, or will be soon, sufficiently mature and embedded to be the basis for a revised arrangement:

  1. Push / event-driven architectures and the syntax and semantics for associated messages
  2. Identifiers for common entities such as researchers, funders, institutions and outputs, their registration / deployment at earlier points in the lifecycle of scholarly outputs, and real-time, operational relationships between identifier services.

Policy: the policy environment for publications (OA) and data (data management and sharing) is driven by both disciplinary and national funders, and policies apply to both institutions and researchers. Policies imply some kind of compliance checking and/or reporting, which should be made as efficient and effective as possible using technologies.

Jisc is working with OpenAIRE and others to see what an architecture might look like. This is informed by lot of existing work, including:
» Use of protocols such as PubSubHubbub in domains outside scholarly communication
» COAR Next Generation Repositories Project
» The SHARE project in the US, especially the concept of the SHARE notification service
» The Crossref Event Data initiative
» Paul Walk’s blog posts on cooperative open access exchange

More news on this soon.

By Neil Jacobs

JISC Programme Director, Digital Infrastructure (Information Environment)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *