OA digest

Quarterly OA Digest – June 2020

Welcome to the June 2020 issue

As we move towards what we hope will be a loosening of lockdown and a reduction in the risk from the coronavirus itself, we are starting to see the wider damage that has been done to our HE sector and our economy as a whole. We do not know what the new normal will be, or when that stability will arise. Institutions have different ideas as to how they might work over the next year, but prominent amongst all of them is an increased reliance on remote access, remote presence, and serious and sustained cost saving. There will be increased pressure on libraries to show enhanced support at reduced cost. Open access is at the heart of all of these issues. We will continue to work hard to give our members the best value we can in our services to save them time and money in dealing with open access issues. As reported here, Jisc is returning to renegotiate national publisher contracts in line with the changed environment. We have completed the first round of supplier evaluations for the repository dynamic purchasing system to try and identify the best value for members. We are working across services to help members in policy compliance and improve system efficiency and workflows. As ever, contact us if we can assist you through our services, advice, relationships or information and we will do our best to help.

Bill Hubbard, Head of scholarly communications support

Policy compliance

Helping you to meet and demonstrate compliance with the range of different funders’ and publishers’ requirements

Publications Router

We have been working with the vendors of a number of CRISs and similar research information management systems to support them as they develop integrations with Publications Router. We hope to make a significant announcement on that very soon. We are developing simplified procedures to bring content from more publishers into Router, for example by automating our checks of the files that they supply, and the way in which these are reported back. This forms part of our work to anticipate Plan S and its probable influence, especially on the OA policy for the post-2021 REF. By a combination of simplifying and automating take-up of new publishers, and availing ourselves of the renewal deals negotiated by Jisc licensing colleagues that require publishers to participate in Router, we hope to expand greatly the range of publishers covered and the breadth of content that Router places into repositories.

Sherpa services

The team have been busy conducting UX testing for Romeo and Fact and will be making an announcement soon. We have worked on the OpenDOAR website, changing the layout slightly and adding new content to improve user experience and offer more information on how we run the service. Check out our new About page. We have also updated the policy support we offer to repositories, providing an easier, more accessible way of getting the information and accessing policy templates in html and plain text formats. Our record count has increased to 5,369 and we continue to receive new registration requests on a daily basis.

Cost management

Support with improving your processes and systems, providing shared services and negotiations agreements, in order to manage the costs of OA and subscriptions

Monitor services

Back in May 2020, the incremental release of version 1.24 of Jisc Monitor Local was released. The new version included updated Sherpa Romeo links in academic outputs to ensure users were directed to the new version of Sherpa Romeo. In addition, a Jisc Monitor User Group virtual meeting took place with many of the active Local users. Obtaining feedback directly from users is important for our continued development and improvement of the service. During the meeting, representatives from their respective institutions participated in “A Day in the Life of… A Monitor User”, and from that we were all able to find out how different institutions use the service and fit it around their requirements. The examples given sparked a lot of discussion, and many ideas were shared making it a helpful session all round.  We followed this with a mini workshop where everyone put forward key features they would like to see on a Miro-like ideas board.

Jisc Collections

The financial challenges facing universities and their libraries are unprecedented. This means that several OA agreements negotiated before the current crisis may no longer be affordable and we will be returning to them to renegotiate. In response, OA negotiations are focussed on cost reduction, rather than limiting additional payments. The Requirements for Transitional Agreements have been redrafted to emphasise the need for cost reduction, to take on board policy changes and best practice. Preparations for the Elsevier renewal have commenced. Negotiation scenarios, tactics and the sector’s response were discussed at the Expert practitioners strategy group and UUK/Jisc content negotiation strategy group meetings in April and May respectively. Consultation on a sector-led proposal will start in June. We have written to primary library contacts at institutions to request publication, expenditure and entitlement information so we can check this against data held by us and Elsevier.

Following the announcement of the price transparency requirements from cOAlition S, the newly established Transitional Agreements Oversight Group will work across publishers to evaluate transitional agreements, the trajectory of publisher portfolios to OA, business models and underlying financial accounting. We are continuing to pursue agreements that support all routes to an OA transition including the green route and agreements with native OA publishers. A webinar was held with PLOS and UK institutions to provide an overview of their OA proposal to the UK. A consultation is now underway. Plans for our new webpages continue to take shape. Content will reflect the needs and interests of all our stakeholder groups, and will include guidance and good practice case studies from institutions relating to transitional agreements.

Discovery, usage, and impact

Supporting you to improve the visibility of your repository and demonstrate the reach and impact of your research


The IRUS team are working to deliver a number of enhancements to the service this Summer. The service will continue to be developed throughout 2020 but the first iteration of the service will include these features: 1. COUNTER Release 5 (R5) conformance, which records information about metadata views in addition to downloads of full text items (Investigations and Requests), will be provided following the transition to Release 5 of the COUNTER Code of Practice. 2. Open Access to IRUS following the removal of the current Shibboleth authorisation mechanism will support easier access to data and tools. 3. User Interface developments will improve the appearance and accessibility of the portal, access to data, reports and visualisations. Key developments include an R5 API and documentation that will enable  access to provisional daily stats in addition to monthly stats, changes to report names and functionality to streamline the set of core reports whilst offering more flexibility to customise reports according to individual requirements. Further details about the service, timescale for release and further developments will be communicated through the IRUS mailing list in June 2020.

CORE aggregation

CORE sees 10 million users per month on average, but over the last month we have seen this increase to 16 million. Lean Library – a browser extension that brings library services directly into a patron’s browser now enriches its services with CORE’s help and brings to its users even more OA articles.  The Lean Library browser extension delivers library services into library users’ workflows, wherever they are, with one aspect of this being the direction of users to OA materials whenever they hit a paywall. By utilising the CORE Discovery API, Lean Library is able to extend its pool of OA materials, helping libraries meet the needs of their users.  A new and updated CORE Repository Dashboard aims to help UK repository managers comply with the REF2021 OA policy. As a global aggregator of OA content, collecting research papers from a wide range of repositories around the world, CORE can provide information about deposit compliance and assist institutions with identifying non-compliant outputs.

The Jisc ORCID national consortium

Over the last couple of months, we have been busy engaging with our community, developing and sharing good practice for online delivery. We held a regional event hosted by UCL and a webinar which outlined the developments to improve ORCID workflows in Symplectic Elements, which the ORCID team had previously consolidated from our members. Similarly, we delivered our annual members day via a set of web streams. The first of these was comprised of updates from ourselves, ORCID and a keynote from Rachael Lammey of CrossRef. The second stream focused on member updates and a researcher panel. The third stream was in more of an unconference style with BoF and more focused discussions e.g. on work types. The ORCID team jointly ran the Jisc UKRI PID workshop and are inputting into the ongoing project setting up a national PID network to address the needs of the wider UK PID landscape (slides 16-21).


The Research data alliance (RDA) and OpenAIRE came together to hold a joint workshop on 6 May 2020. The theme for the workshop was ‘Building bridges across open science in the UK’. This was a chance to find out about RDA and OpenAIRE activities in open science, in particular in the areas of training, FAIR data, and certification. The aim of this event was to connect researchers, open science facilitators, research facilitators, repository managers, policy-makers, funders and librarians with a strong focus on FAIR. If you did not attend the workshop, you can still catch up will all the slides via the Jisc blog and the OpenAIRE site. Or you can listen to the recording via the RDA UK event page.

Open research hub

Research outputs repository systems purchasing service – we have completed the first round of supplier evaluations and the Repository dynamic purchasing system (DPS) is now live for institutions to use, with the following suppliers (repositories) now accepted:

The DPS is OJEU compliant, and sets out the minimum pre-qualification and technical requirements that suppliers must comply with in order to have their product included. These requirements are set out in the Appendix to the Buyer’s guide which can be downloaded from the service webpage.  Jisc members (which include all publicly funded UK universities) can use the service to run mini competitions with suppliers, using the standard templates provided, and adding additional requirements of their own, if necessary. Jisc will administer the process on behalf of the member, who can use their own criteria to identify their preferred supplier.  The DPS is still open for further suppliers to join. If you are already talking to a repository supplier who is not yet on the DPS, please do encourage them to apply.

Maintaining OA good practice

Community events

Open Repositories 2020 ran a virtual conference Mon 1 – Fri 5 Jun. Members of the Jisc OA Team were involved on the committee and also in presenting sessions. Catch up on the outputs via Zenodo.

Blog post round up

Links to blog posts from the last 3 months which you may have missed

Keeping up to date

In between our quarterly digests you can keep up to date with our activities on this scholarly communications blog or follow us at @JiscOpenAccess on Twitter.

Key dates

11 June: Delta Think Webinar – Open Access is not just for Open Access Journals

16 June: Free UKSG webinar – Digital Scholarship and the Future of the Book

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