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Investigating OA monograph services – Final report

The Investigating OA monograph services project has been exploring potential future services to support peer-reviewed OA monograph publishing. With the release of the final report, Eelco and I, as project leads, highlight some of the key work packages, outcomes and recommendations.

Two of the most productive work packages were on metadata and publisher information. In the metadata work package we were looking to define the metadata required to support the visibility, discovery and use of OA monographs. We first reviewed existing metadata systems (ONIX, Dublin CORE, LCC, CrossRef) and then developed our own model, which was discussed and reviewed by institutions, publishers and funders. Throughout we kept on going back to the point that a metadata field should only be included if it had a real use. The final output is a guide on metadata for OA monographs, which is being maintained and updated by OAPEN.

We have also produced a guide focused at publishers from our publisher information work package. This guide presents recommendations for information that OA monograph publishers should make available on their websites to make their service clear to end users. It covers the OA offering, author charges, peer review, open access, licensing, author information on OA, availability, and preservation. If publishers adopt these recommendations, it will help authors, funders and institutions to make more informed decisions. Both the metadata and publisher information guides have been adopted by Jisc Collections and are listed as essential criteria when assessing a publisher’s offer. OAPEN and DOAB also use the guides as criteria for publishers that want to join.

One of the other work packages that garnered high interest from all stakeholders – publishers, institutions, libraries, funders, authors – was on potential green models for OA monograph publishing. We haven’t seen much happen in the area of green but there already exist policies that enforce self-archiving…so how would an author actually do this? We had 17 participants attend a roundtable to discuss green and to see if they could devise any solutions. We ended up with three:

  1. The Embargoed Version of Record’ Model: In this ‘straw man’ model the publisher fee is set at £0 (no book processing charge) and after an embargo period of three years, the title is made OA but with no copying or download available.
  2. The Trigger Model: In this model a publisher sets a BPC to make a book available in OA (immediate gold). Once there have been enough sales to cover the costs, it becomes green OA. When it never reaches that, it will be published in green OA with a set embargo period anyway.
  3. The Direct Publication Model: In this model academics deposit their manuscript into a repository. Open peer review and editing takes place. The peer review could be organised prior to or post deposit and could be undertaken by peers or a research committee.

One of the key recommendations in the project’s final report is that further exploration of the potential of these models is taken forward in collaboration with Jisc Collections and the UUK sub group on OA monographs. Finding green models that work for all stakeholders would be invaluable for HSS authors where funding is not always readily available for book processing charges – but these models need to continue to enforce the high quality and solid reputation that authors require for career progression.

Supporting good practice alongside innovation has long been a focus for Jisc and a recommendation in the final report is to develop more guides that will provide new university presses and those conventional presses that are just starting out with practical information on OA monograph publishing. Areas identified include licensing, author agreements, funder requirements, peer review, metrics, dissemination and discovery and self-archiving. These ‘tool kits’ could really help new presses in particular and help to increase the amount of OA monograph publishing and the discoverability of these titles. One area that came out strongly was the difficulty that new presses have in getting titles into the library supply chain. This has also been seen as a challenge by our teams working on the institution as e-textbook publisher project.

Overall, the project ‘Investigating OA monographs services’ has produced some extremely valuable guides in areas where no information (specifically for OA monographs) existed and identified some very strong areas where collaboration and experimentation could simultaneously bring real value to OA monograph publishers and the authors and readers of monographs.

Jisc is now discussing with OAPEN how we will take forward these recommendations in light of our other work in the area of monographs and the institution as publisher.

Please do get in contact with Eelco Ferwerda if you have any questions or comments on this project.

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