Guest post: Taylor & Francis – A Decade of Publishing OA Books

We are excited to share with the members of DOAB that we recently marked 10 years of open access book publishing. Negotiating Bioethics became the first fully open access Taylor & Francis book back in 2013. Ten years later, with a list of more than 1,500 OA titles and thousands of individual open chapters, we continue to strive to be one of the world’s leading open access book publishers.  

To celebrate a decade of open access books, a new collection was created by our commissioning editors who nominated 12 standout OA books of the last decade. This diverse range of titles puts a spotlight on the role of open access in sharing new knowledge with a broad readership on important global issues, including human rights, environmental justice, sustainable development and public health.

A commitment towards our vision to enhance dissemination of our OA content and cultivate a successful OA books program was boosted as early as 2017 by joining and hosting OA content on OAPEN. We are proud that we are the largest participating publisher in the OAPEN platform, as discoverability and trustworthy metadata is an important piece of the puzzle and challenge in OA book publishing.

We would like to thank our colleagues at DOAB for the opportunity to answer some of their questions below which we hope would be of interest to all of you.

What drove T&F’s decision to sponsor DOAB and why was it an important one to make?

As a leading OA book publisher, we believe that we have a role to play in supporting community driven services, as well as ensuring the widest dissemination of our content. Therefore, we are delighted to contribute to the development and sustainability of DOAB’s platform and services via our continuing Gold sponsorship.

We really enjoy collaborating with the broader DOAB team on a range of initiatives, including via the ongoing OA Book Usage Data Trust, as well as providing input to OAPEN’s Book Analytics Service, PALOMERA, and joining the innovative new PRISM initiative.

Tell us a bit about your experience with PRISM. How was your experience describing your peer review processes and what have you learnt from this?

Our participation in DOAB’s new Peer Review Information Service for Monographs (PRISM) initiative was indeed a positive experience.

It is our policy to peer review all proposed book projects before offering a contract, including open access proposals. Therefore, our open access content follows the same editorial and production processes as the rest of our book publishing including a robust peer review workflow which encompasses a large cohort of scholars, internal subject matter experts, and practicing educators who serve as peer reviewers.

During the PRISM project it was encouraging to confirm that, despite the broad range of our publishing program across over 60 subjects within HSS and STEM, our peer review processes remain thorough and consistent.

How has inclusion in PRISM been received by your community? 

Research integrity is an issue of ever-increasing importance within the broader open research movement, including addressing author concerns around the quality of OA book publishing. Therefore, it is our hope that joining initiatives such as PRISM, in which information about the peer review process is easily available to DOAB users, will help to address these wider concerns.

By providing details about when the review took place (such as at proposal stage) and the type of peer reviewer (for example, by an external reviewer), we are able to enhance the transparency and trust of OA books and to showcase the high quality of this scholarship.

How do T&F see OA book publishing developing and what do you predict your role in this might be?

We are keen to listen and are proactive in initiatives and discussions with funders, libraries, societies, and other stakeholders, with the ambition to make the option to publish open access as straightforward as possible for all involved. With this in mind, we aim to continue to innovate and experiment with new OA models to enable the long-term, sustainable transition to open access.

For example, we have recently introduced a new pilot initiative, Pledge to Open as the first step towards building a sustainable and affordable collective funding model. We continue participating in the SCOAP3 books programme opening up titles in high energy physics, at no cost to the authors. We have also now published over 100 T&F books OA via Knowledge Unlatched, including collections within African Studies, providing an alternative OA publishing solution for Africa-based scholars.

As we are all witnessing, the OA book landscape is constantly evolving, presenting a range of challenges, in particular within an international context where open access mandates and perceptions differ, especially when some countries and regions have well-established open access frameworks, while others are still getting to grips with navigating the complexities of the OA book ecosystem in their own setting.

Therefore, every stakeholder has an integral role to play to speed up the transition to open access for books and promote open research in book publishing. It is important for all of us, publishers, funders, institutions, librarians, researchers, services providers, and other key players in scholarly communication and open research to engage and work together towards aligned practices that will maximise the impact, diversity, and equity of the OA books landscape.

Maria Angelaki (Partnership Development Manager, Open Access Books)

James Watson (Open Access Books Lead)

‘Ubuntu’ in Africa and Beyond: Building a Global Community for Open Access Books

This blog post is written by Jordy Findanis, Project Manager, on DOAB’s recent participation in the workshop “Towards Sustainable Open Access Book Publishing in the African Context” at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, 7–9 February 2024.

A more equitable, inclusive and sustainable open access (OA) publishing landscape can only be achieved by engaging with communities outside the usual sphere of influence within the wider publishing ecosystem. Such an understanding informs DOAB’s mission to serve as a global discoverability service as it continues to build its collection of high-quality, academic, peer-reviewed OA books. Despite the list’s growing diversity, now including more than eighty languages and 700 publishers, there is still a strong underrepresentation of OA research from the global South, not least Africa. As part of DOAB increasingly accelerating its outreach activities in the African context, and growing our understanding of OA in the many different settings that constitute that vast continent, my colleagues Niels Stern (Managing Director) and Mary Felix-Mania (General Manager) and I welcomed the opportunity to attend the in-person workshop “Towards Sustainable Open Access Book Publishing in the African Context” held on 7–9 February at the University of Cape Town. 

Beautifully perched on the lower slopes of iconic Table Mountain, the University of Cape Town (UCT) and UCT Libraries served as an ideal venue for the three-day workshop. The remit of the workshop was to address barriers and challenges impeding open scholarly communication from flourishing in the African context and to probe opportunities and developments that can support the open agenda and grow African scholarship. In collaboration with our good colleagues from the Open Book Futures project, the UCT, Lancaster University and the Association of African Universities, we teamed up with delegates from countries all over Africa − including South Africa, Malawi, Kenya, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Sudan, Ghana, Lesotho, Nigeria, Zambia and Namibia − to learn from each other, exchange ideas and skills, and share best practices.

Reclaiming Equity in Practice

A key issue informing the workshop from the outset was inequity within scholarly publishing. With the advent of the internet and the early drafting of OA declarations came the hope of the enfranchisement of marginalised research communities. But rather than enabling the production and dissemination of research, the very inequities that the OA movement sought to redress have become further entrenched. As the publishing landscape continues to be disproportionately “northernised,” systemic inequalities will persist and prevent a healthy and not least necessary bidirectional flow of research between the north and south. A significant point reiterated throughout the workshop was to work towards adopting practices and policies that address local concerns, that is, leveraging support for local knowledge production and developing bespoke infrastructures and resources to serve that very aim. This begs the question: how can this be done in practice?

Something that was stressed throughout the workshop was the importance of developing local infrastructures that can support African research. The University of Cape Town, for example, has made significant inroads in reclaiming ownership of its knowledge production by flipping their publishing house to a fully-fledged OA press and further developing the African Platform for Open Scholarship. Sitting within the UCT Libraries, this platform seeks to sustain diamond OA publishing, and its overarching aim is to make it possible for “the African research community to take ownership of creating and sharing its own scholarly content, which contributes to the growth and development of local research for African society,” and thus fostering a “community-based publishing alternative model that disrupts the commercial publishing system. This shift returns the control of publishing back to the researcher community.”[1] In 2023 DOAB was delighted to welcome the African Platform for Open Scholarship as one of our new Trusted Platform Network partners. Such collaborations are important as they promote the equitable flow and exchange of research, but also, crucially, as we depend on these partner platforms’ expertise and understanding of their own local research areas and cultures. We trust that, in time, this and the enhancement of similar initiatives across Africa will improve research dissemination, ensure more bibliodiversity and pave the way for bridging the global North−South knowledge divide.

There are many components that need to be in place to ensure a healthy and sustainable OA ecosystem. In dedicated workshop sessions, a wide range of important issues impinging on OA were collectively discussed, including repositories, metadata and distribution, funding, network building and advocacy, dispelling of OA myths, facilitating OA toolkits and resources, OA publishing and the production processes, and copyright and licensing. What emerged from these lively sessions was a myriad of different perspectives and experiences. Within the library space, for example, we heard of cases in which one institution had some resources and infrastructure but no policy in place, whereas the reverse would be the case for another institution. Several delegates mentioned that it was difficult to align strategies even within the same institution − as one delegate eloquently put it, using the metaphor of a band: the drums are playing in the east, the guitar in the west, the bass in the south and the singer in the north. At the end of the day, it is up to a few committed staff to align, facilitate and drive OA in their institutions with whatever resources they have at hand.  

Takeaways and Challenges

The Secretary General of the African Association of Universities, Professor Olusola Oyewole − representing over 440 African universities – spoke to some of the most immediate and pressing challenges raised by delegates as critical to overcome in a continental OA push: 1) advocacy and OA awareness; 2) capacity building for OA; 3) fostering networks, partnerships and collaboration; 4) and nurturing leadership and governance of Africa higher education institutions to respond to the needs of research communities. He proposed that AAU could serve as a vessel to leverage support in following through on key action points with concrete measures. Some of these included working closely with UCT and appointing officers at the AAU to facilitate OA-related initiatives. The assistance of a pan-African organisation such as the AAU is crucial to the promotion of African knowledge production and the infrastructures that must sustain it, but so too is advocacy and the championing of OA on a local level. Delegates acknowledged that much work needed to be done and that institutional, cross-institutional and cross-national stakeholder collaboration is important in the African context over the next years.

Though familiar challenges were discussed across the event, the recurring ones were lack of funding, infrastructure (relating to both technical challenges and repositories or service providers like DOAB), human resources and training and generally the lack of awareness about OA and incentives to solicit support from researchers, university leadership and policymakers.

A key takeaway from the workshop was that working in isolation or in a siloed manner prevents the necessary exchange of skills and resources − whether in the university, library, independent publishing house or in other scholarly communication spaces.

To sustain OA publishing there is an imperative need for collaboration and sharing – or summed up in a word spoken by many delegates, ubuntu, a nebulous word of Zulu origin that is used in many African countries. Although generally understood to mean “humanity,” the word encompasses a wide range of meanings and nuances that can also evoke a sense of the interconnectedness − or shared community − of individuals. In a research context, it is immediately clear why ubuntu is an apt word to designate community-led values, sharing research and resources to the benefit of all. No researcher, publisher, university, or library is an island unto itself − each holds an important stake in the other, and a healthy and sustainable OA environment is one in which the sum of all its parts work together, further empowering each in its turn.

We all shared the sense that the event had been a success – confirmed by post-workshop responses from participants. We learned so much from each other, made new friends, forged networks and left the workshop with a much better understanding of OA in the African context. This included the challenges that lie ahead, but also concrete ways of overcoming them. We aim to continue supporting local initiatives, including an OA landscape mapping exercise, and make best use of the momentum gathered from the workshop. DOAB will continue to make its services available to researchers, publishers, libraries and other stakeholders and to support African OA agendas. Over the next few years, we will seek to increase our outreach activities in Africa and engage with publishers, libraries and other stakeholders to continue our community-driven mission of ensuring bibliodiversity, equity and inclusion within OA book publishing.

A Word of Thanks

On behalf of DOAB, I would like to thank the University of Cape Town and UCT Libraries, and particularly Ujala Satgoor, Reggie Raju, Jill Claassen and Sai Maharaj for graciously hosting us and making our stay so pleasant; thanks also to our Open Book Futures partners, Thoth Open Metadata’s Vincent van Gerven Oei and our colleagues at the Open Book Collective, particularly Judith Fathallah and Joe Deville, for their invaluable work in bringing the workshop together; and last but not least we express our deepest gratitude to the AAU and all the other African delegates who came from near and far, for enriching the event with important perspectives from the spaces they are all working in.


[1] https://blog.aau.org/a-webinar-on-a-continental-platform-for-sharing-african-scholarship/

Barricading an open access website – reflections on the attack on DOAB

As many of you might have noticed, last week the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) website was unavailable for several days. Sadly, the reason for this was not a technical glitch as we first suspected, but an actual attack on DOAB.

During the weekend of 21 January, someone decided to flood the Domain Name Server (DNS) of our registrar with requests for the DOAB record – a DDoS attack.

A short explanation: when you type in www.doabooks.org, your browser looks up this address in a Domain Name Server, which translates it to an IP address (that looks like, e.g., 123.123.123.123). However, when an attacker overloads the DNS with these lookups, this does not work any more. The result is that the website is working fine, but it can’t be reached.

Sadly, we were not immediately able to understand what was happening, as we did not have any previous experience with this kind of situation. Once the reason was clear, we could take measures. We moved our domain name registration to Cloudflare, a company that specialises in the protection against these kind of attacks. At the same time, we have done this for the OAPEN and the OA Books Toolkit websites as well.

Thank you for your patience with us as we navigated these new circumstances and please accept our apologies for the inconvenience caused. We hope that our explanation was clear, but of course, please contact us if you have any questions or remarks.

Book Analytics Service testimonials

Don’t just take our word for it – read about how our partner presses are benefitting from the Book Analytics Service:

The Books Analytics Service has been incredibly beneficial for Big Ten Open Books.

We were able to implement our dashboard with data from several different content hosting platforms. The amount of time and intellectual energy that would have had to be spent on manually aggregating this data is significant and would not have been able to demonstrate the granularity of the interactions with our content.

Having this robust, and straightforward technology that pulls together all our data in one place has been amazing for us. Our open access content project is just in the first few months of our initial launch.

This data gathered and presented by the BAD project has allowed us to report back to our investors about the community engagement we’ve realized. Implementing the dashboard for Big Ten Open Books has been essential to our project’s success and has helped the broader academic community to realize how impactful Humanities scholarship can be when made open access. It is now a core element of our site.

We are so appreciative of the work that the BAD project staff have done to make the usage of open access content more visible. Making this information public on our site exceeds our expectations for being able to provide transparency to our investors. Thank you for all the work you do!

Kate McCready, Visiting Program Officer at the Big Ten Academic Alliance

CEU Press, with the help of COPIM, launched its open access model in 2021. Opening the Future funds the frontlist in open access by leveraging backlist title sales. The key to the success of the model will be demonstrating impact, which includes usage of the open access titles that we publish. Since we share our OA books on as many platforms as possible, aggregating OA usage across these sites and making sense of that data is time consuming and requires standardisation across the industry. The Book Analytics Service is the solution to this problem!

Emily Poznanski, Director, CEU Press

The BAD project team have made it possible for University of Michigan Press to pilot the groundbreaking Book Analytics Service in the USA. The team’s information science expertise has smoothed the bumpy task of normalizing data from the many different platforms that host our open-access books. The team has shown both innovation and a commitment to integrity and partnership. The benefits of their work are hard to overstate. Authors can now easily monitor the impact of their individual titles to advance their academic careers. Funders can use the dashboard to obtain proof of return on investments. The visualizations of global reach have reinforced support for the Press’s equitable business model that never requires author payment. As 2022-2023 Association of University Presses President, I know that many other publishers are excited by the Book Analytics Service. This is due to the expertise of the BAD project team.

Charles Watkinson, Director, University of Michigan Press and Associate University Librarian, University of Michigan Library

We have worked with the BAD project team since 2019 on the management of UCL Press book download data, including gathering, collating and presenting data on a public dashboard developed by the team. They provide a seamless and reliable service that we have not found from any other provider, and as such we regularly recommend them to other presses.

Our dashboard provides vital information about the global usage of the open access books we publish which demonstrates the success of the OA model to our institution and shows how the university’s investment in UCL Press benefits UCL. It also means authors can easily see how their books are performing, and other stakeholders such as funders, prospective authors and the wider scholarly publishing community can see the global impact of OA books, which helps to make the case for greater support for a transition to OA.

Lara Speicher, Director of Publishing, UCL Press

Laura J. Wilkinson

ORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8922-7839

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Everything you need to know to get started with the Book Analytics Service

Niels and I were recently at the Frankfurt Book Fair to meet with publishers and spread the word about our new Book Analytics Service (BAS). 

Laura J. Wilkinson and Niels Stern at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October 2023

Funders increasingly require data about the usage of open access books. This data is also useful for authors, and for explaining the case for the increased reach of OA content compared with paid content.

Gathering usage data for OA books is time-consuming, as you have to retrieve it from all the different platforms which host your content. The output formats and even what’s being counted will vary between these platforms, increasing the amount of work you need to do to synthesise the data.

The Book Analytics Dashboard (BAD) project is the origin of the Book Analytics Service. It’s come a long way from its early days as a pilot, and the service is now functioning and hosted by OAPEN, under the same community governance model that has made OAPEN a trusted infrastructure for OA books. Funded by the Mellon Foundation, the Book Analytics Dashboard project (2022-2025) is focused on creating a sustainable OA book focused analytics service. We are indebted to our fantastic COKI colleagues at Curtin University for their meticulous technical development work – thank you all!

Our core idea when designing the dashboard was to make it faster and easier for you to see usage for your OA titles across a range of data sources, such as OAPEN, JSTOR, and Google Books among others. We label downloads and views from the different sources, so that clear(?) comparisons can be made between what’s being counted in different places. 

To ensure the future of the Book Analytics Service beyond the timescale of the project funding, it’s essential that we have a sustainability model to bring in enough revenue to keep it going. This is a key element of the Principles of Open Scholarly Infrastructure – see OAPEN & DOAB’s POSI self-audit.

With our project colleagues, we carefully modelled the costs of running the service, and translated this into a pricing model which takes publisher revenue into account. This cost recovery model means that if we get more publishers to sign up than are necessary to cover the costs, we can (in discussion with the community) use the surplus to develop additional dashboard features, or lower the future cost of the service. None of the revenue is paid to shareholders – as a Dutch stichting, we don’t have any – and any surplus is reinvested in our work for the community. 

Much of the cost of onboarding a new publisher to the Book Analytics Service arises from the work needed to integrate their data feeds at the start, which is why it’s not feasible to offer a free trial. However, University of Michigan Press have kindly agreed to make their dashboard and usage data open so that anyone can see it and play with the settings to see how it works – come and have a look at our demo dashboard for yourself.

At the recent Frankfurt Book Fair, some publishers asked us how the Book Analytics Service is different from commercial alternatives. Here are some of the ways in which we differ:

  • BAS is built around the book as the primary object, rather than developing a system for journals and then including books as a sidecar/afterthought.
  • BAS is hosted by OAPEN, an independent, not-for-profit organisation which can’t be sold, so our work is not at risk of being acquired and locked in by a commercial company. Learn more about our multi-stakeholder community governance and transparency in our OAPEN & DOAB’s POSI self-audit.
  • Our code is open source, allowing you to inspect, replicate, and improve it. This open box approach means you can know what’s happened to the data used in your dashboard, in contrast with opaque systems which obscure their internal workings. We present you with the collated data for your interpretation rather than producing badges or scores with no working.

Note that although our source code is open, your publisher data is private. We know that although publishers often want to see and compare themselves against others’ data, they rarely want anyone else to see their data. This is the type of question that is being explored by our parallel project, the OA Book Usage Data Trust, which focuses on the ethics and standards of data exchange.

What would you like to do next?

  • Experiment with the template Book Analytics Service dashboard (thank you for choosing to make your dashboard data open, University of Michigan Press!)
  • Learn more about how the dashboard can help you, the service levels, and pricing model. Smaller publishers may like to explore the possibility of a consortium model, in which they collaborate with other presses to share a dashboard and its costs.
  • Need help getting your metadata into the correct export format to send to BAS, or other services? Try using Thoth to create, manage, and disseminate title metadata.
  • Interested to know more about funder requirements? The PALOMERA (Policy Alignment of Open Access Monographs in the European Research Area) project investigates the reasons why books are only rarely mandated to be published OA by research funders and institutions within the European Research Area (ERA). PALOMERA will provide actionable recommendations and concrete resources to support and coordinate aligned funder and institutional policies for OA books. Such services will also include monitoring of the usage of OA books which is another use case for the Book Analytics Service.

Ready to participate? We’re delighted to have you on board! Get started by contacting us for an initial conversation.

Laura J. Wilkinson

ORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8922-7839

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Open access books – measured in a context

For over a decade, there have been open access books platforms. Each of those platforms share usage data and when you are an author of an open access book, you would find that it has been downloaded a certain amount of times. But how should you interpret that number? Unfortunately, the answer is not straightforward. The usage is influenced by the language of the title, its subject, but also by the platform: not all platforms reach the same audiences; furthermore, there might be seasonable differences. For instance, usage of the OAPEN Library is lower in the months of June to August, compared to September to November.

So, it would be helpful to have some clarity. A possible solution is a new metric – the Transparent Open Access Normalized Index (TOANI) score. It is designed to provide a simple answer to the question of how well an individual open access book or chapter is performing. The transparency is based on clear rules, and by making all of the data used visible. The data is normalized, using a common scale for the complete collection of an open access book platform and – to keep the level of complexity as low as possible – the score is based on a simple metric: the usage is either average, below or above average.

How does it work? As a proof of concept, we analysed the usage data of over 18,000 books in the OAPEN Library. Each book was assigned one high level subject, and the language was categorized as either English, German or Other languages. Each book was placed in a group that combined one subject and one language. Within those groups, we looked at the usage data, and determined whether a book was having average, more or less downloads.

Between groups, there are large differences: for instance, a German-language book on Humanities with 300 downloads is doing better than average, while an English-language book on Humanities would need to have reached at least 652 downloads to reach the same level. Another example is the difference between titles on Language in German versus other languages. Here, German-language books downloaded more than 250 times are scoring better than average. For books in other languages the bar is much higher: 385.

In this way, we can see how well a book is performing, compared to similar titles. In other words: when we consider the context of a book, we can actually say if its usage is better than expected.

Read more in the newly published article by Ronald Snijder, “Measured in a context: making sense of open access book data,” Insights, 2023, 36: 20, 1–10; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1629/uksg.627

PRISM & Peer Review Week: building trust in OA books through transparency of peer review procedures

What comes to your mind when you hear the words peer review? Perhaps it’s a group of academics evaluating manuscripts and papers, or maybe it’s a specific type of peer review, like open, double-anonymised, or collaborative. Some of you might even think of DOAB’s Peer Review Information Service for Monographs, or PRISM, as we like to call it.  

If you’ve never heard of PRISM or need a little reminder, for this year’s Peer Review Week (25-29 September), we at DOAB thought we’d tell you (especially you publishers out there) all about it! 

So, what exactly is PRISM? Good question! PRISM is a standardised way for academic publishers to display information about their peer review processes across their entire catalogue through DOAB. And the best part about it? It’s completely free!  

How does it work? you may ask. Well, first and foremost, participating publishers send us their peer review information. As well as displaying each publisher’s peer review processes, we also show which process applies to which individual publication from that publisher, for complete transparency. 

PRISM is recognisable through the handy logo visible next to a publisher or the title of a publication (all you need to do is click the logo to display more information). You can also use the search query ‘peerreview.id:*’ to find all DOAB publications with linked PRISM records (of which there are over 5,200). Last but certainly not least, the PRISM API, which includes peer review metadata, allows application developers to seamlessly incorporate peer review information into other applications. 

PRISM benefits the academic publishing community by: 

  • giving librarians confidence in recommending open access publications to their patrons 
  • allowing funders and users to see key details about quality control processes of open access books, and 
  • providing publishers with the opportunity to showcase their best practices

PRISM has been around for about a year now, and we’d love for more publishers to join us as we grow and expand this free service. We’re even developing a widget for publishers to use on their websites! You can participate following these simple steps: 

  1. Check you’re a member of DOAB and join us if you’re not 
  1. Agree to the T&Cs of PRISM
  1. Provide DOAB with your peer review process(es) as described in our documentation for publishers
  1. Log in to DOAB and create a PRISM peer review submission. When it’s accepted, your submission becomes a record. If it’s rejected, the information is deleted
  1.  Attach your PRISM record to the applicable publication(s).

Don’t forget that the OAPEN Library’s participating publishers’ peer review policies are also listed on OAPEN’s website for anyone to access.  

Please reach out to us with any questions, comments, feedback, or to participate in the PRISM service at info@oapen.org

DOAB celebrates its 10th anniversary!

This year, the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB), led by OpenEdition and OAPEN Foundation, celebrates its 10th anniversary. Since its inception, DOAB has evolved from an idea for indexing high quality peer-reviewed open access books and chapters to a globally used and open directory serving not only researchers and the wider scholarly community, but also the public. 

Back in 2009, following the successful example of the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), the OAPEN project leaders thought to create a similar resource for open access books and chapters. Discussions first took place at the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) conference in Lund in 2010.  

DOAB was officially launched at the First International Conference on OA Monographs in the Humanities and Social Sciences in April 2013. The difference between the OAPEN Library and DOAB is that DOAB is a directory linking to open access books and chapters on other platforms and publishers’ websites to increase discoverability, whereas the OAPEN Library is a digital library where you can access the full text. They both share a mission to increase trust in open access books and book publishing. 

DOAB becomes and independent not-for-profit organisation 

DOAB was established as a Foundation in March 2019 under Dutch Law, jointly managed and governed by the OAPEN Foundation and OpenEdition, the French national infrastructure dedicated to open scholarly communication in the SSH. The creation of DOAB as an independent, not-for-profit legal entity ensures its sustainability to continually serve the needs of the academic community, including libraries, publishers, researchers, funders, and the public. 

Marie Pellen, Director of OpenEdition, says: “DOAB is a successful example of European cooperation across borders. We are delighted to see DOAB becoming more mature and recognised as a crucial infrastructure for open science. We are grateful to CNRS, Aix-Marseille University and the French Ministry of Research for their constant support.  This common effort enables us to create a resource that serves the research community worldwide and promotes bibliodiversity in scholarly publishing.”  

In 2020, DOAB was jointly chosen alongside OAPEN for the SCOSS second funding cycle which aims to help infrastructures become more sustainable and financially independent. SCOSS encourages universities who are invested in open science and open access to support the non-commercial services on which it depends; DOAB and OAPEN are crucial infrastructures that support the transition to open access book publishing and increase trust in the industry. 

DOAB today 

DOAB is an open infrastructure committed to open science. Its main mission is to increase discoverability of open access books and maximise their dissemination, visibility and impact. All DOAB services are free of charge and all data is freely available.  

At the time of the launch, DOAB contained 750 books from 20 publishers. Today, DOAB includes over 68,000 open access books and book chapters from over 600 publishers in more than 60 languages.  

DOAB created the Trusted Platform Network to enhance the discoverability of open access books and enable a more seamless process for publishers to list their open access books by allowing them to check whether their content meets the DOAB criteria and automatically list books and chapters.   

In November 2022, the Peer Review Information Service for Monographs (PRISM) was launched to further build trust in peer review and open access academic book publishing. PRISM is a standardised way for academic publishers to display information about their peer review processes across their entire catalogue. The PRISM logo is included on title level and at metadata level.  PRISM is now integrated in the OPERAS portfolio of services and, thanks to this, is exposed in the EOSC marketplace.

Looking to the future 

DOAB is designed to improve transparency around the quality assurance practices in open access book publishing by further developing the PRISM service and intend to continue to build trust by partnering with more publishers and aggregators globally to expand the directory for researchers, the wider scholarly community, and the public to discover.  

DOAB is still mainly populated with publishers from Europe and North America, so it aims to prioritise being more globally inclusive in the coming years, supporting bibliodiversity. An important part of DOAB’s mission is to enable equitable access to global distribution for book publishers and authors, in the same way that open access books are already provided to libraries and readers globally. DOAB seeks to serve open and equitable scholarly publishing in the best possible ways. 

Explore the collection today! 

Le DOAB fête ses 10 ans !

Le DOAB (Directory of Open Access Books), piloté par OpenEdition et la fondation néerlandaise OAPEN, fête cette année ses dix ans d’existence. Né de l’idée d’indexer des livres et des chapitres de livres en accès ouvert évalués par les pairs, le DOAB est aujourd’hui devenu un répertoire ouvert utilisé dans le monde entier, non seulement par la communauté scientifique, mais aussi par le grand public. 

En 2009, s’inspirant du succès du Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), l’équipe d’OAPEN a l’idée de créer une ressource similaire pour les livres et les chapitres de livres en accès ouvert. Les premières discussions ont eu lieu à la conférence de l’Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) tenue à Lund en 2010.  

Le DOAB est officiellement lancé à l’occasion de la première conférence internationale sur les monographies en accès ouvert dans le domaine des sciences humaines et sociales en avril 2013. Le DOAB est différent de la plateforme OAPEN, car il s’agit d’un répertoire qui renvoie vers des livres et des chapitres de livres en accès ouvert se trouvant sur d’autres plateformes et sur les sites Web d’éditeurs afin d’accroître les possibilités de découverte. OAPEN est quant à elle une bibliothèque numérique qui donne accès au texte complet. Les deux ont toutefois pour mission commune de renforcer la confiance dans les livres et l’édition de livres en accès ouvert. 

Le DOAB devient une organisation indépendante à but non lucratif 

En mars 2019, la fondation DOAB de droit néerlandais est créée. La Fondation OAPEN et OpenEdition, infrastructure nationale française dédiée à la communication scientifique ouverte en sciences humaines et socialees, en assurent conjointement la gestion et la gouvernance. Doter le DOAB d’un statut juridique à but non lucratif assure sa viabilité pour continuer de répondre aux besoins de la communauté académique, y compris les bibliothèques, éditeurs, chercheurs, organismes de financement et le grand public. 

Pour Marie Pellen, directrice d’OpenEdition, le DOAB « est un exemple réussi de coopération européenne par-delà les frontières. Nous sommes ravis de voir le DOAB évoluer et s’imposer en tant qu’infrastructure incontournable pour la science ouverte. Nos remerciements vont au CNRS, à l’université d’Aix-Marseille et au ministère de la Recherche pour leur soutien sans faille. Grâce à cet effort commun, nous pouvons créer une ressource au service de la communauté de recherche mondiale qui favorise la bibliodiversité dans l’édition universitaire. »  

En 2020, le DOAB a été retenu avec l’OAPEN pour le deuxième cycle de financement de SCOSS, dont le but est d’aider les infrastructures à devenir plus durables et indépendantes financièrement. L’initiative SCOSS encourage les universités investies dans la science ouverte et l’accès ouvert à soutenir les services non commerciaux dont elle dépend ; le DOAB et l’OAPEN sont des infrastructures essentielles qui soutiennent la transition vers la publication de livres en accès ouvert et renforcent la confiance dans ce secteur. 

Le DOAB aujourd’hui 

Le DOAB est une infrastructure ouverte engagée dans la science ouverte. Il a pour mission d’accroître les possibilités de découvrir des livres en accès ouvert et de maximiser leur diffusion, leur visibilité et leur impact. Tous les services du DOAB sont gratuits, tout comme l’accès à l’ensemble des données.  

À son lancement, le DOAB contenait 750 livres provenant de 20 éditeurs. Aujourd’hui, il inclut plus de 68 000 livres et chapitres de livres en accès ouvert de plus de 600 éditeurs dans plus de 60 langues.  

Le DOAB a créé le Réseau des plateformes de confiance pour favoriser la découverte de livres en accès ouvert et faciliter la tâche des éditeurs dans le référencement de leurs livres en accès ouvert. Ils ont ainsi la possibilité de vérifier si leur contenu correspond aux critères du DOAB et de référencer automatiquement les livres et chapitres de livres.   

En novembre 2022, a été lancé le service PRISM (Peer Review Information Service for Monographs) afin de renforcer la confiance dans l’évaluation par les pairs et l’édition de livres académiques en accès ouvert. Le service PRISM permet aux éditeurs académiques d’afficher des informations standardisées sur leurs processus d’évaluation par les pairs pour l’ensemble de leur catalogue. Le logo PRISM figure au niveau du titre des ouvrages et des métadonnées. PRISM fait maintenant partie du catalogue de services d’OPERAS, ce qui lui permet d’apparaître sur la marketplace de l’EOSC.

Nous préparons l’avenir

Le DOAB doit permettre d’améliorer la transparence sur l’assurance qualité dans l’édition de livres en accès ouvert. Cela passera par la poursuite du développement du service PRISM et une confiance accrue grâce à des partenariats avec des éditeurs et des agrégateurs du monde entier pour étendre le répertoire et le faire connaître à la communauté scientifique ainsi qu’au grand public.  

Le DOAB regroupant surtout des éditeurs d’Europe et d’Amérique du Nord, l’objectif dans les prochaines années est de l’ouvrir davantage au reste du monde afin de favoriser la bibliodiversité. Offrir aux éditeurs et aux auteurs et autrices de livres un accès équitable à la diffusion mondiale, de la même façon que ont déjà fournis des livres en accès ouvert aux bibliothèques et lecteurs et lectrices à travers le monde, est une partie importante de la mission du DOAB. Le DOAB a pour ambition de répondre de la meilleure façon possible aux besoins d’une édition scientifique ouverte et équitable. 

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A guarantee of OAPEN’s independence: we cannot be sold or acquired 

We’ve just published the 2022 stakeholder report for OAPEN (which is a Dutch stichting, or foundation). The financial section of this report is based on the annual accounts for 2022 which have been audited by a registered accountant specialised in Dutch law.

There are two key elements to extract from the annual accounts. Firstly, OAPEN made a surplus of €103,000 and secondly, the OAPEN Board decided to allocate €100,000 of the surplus to a contingency fund. Both elements are in line with the Principles for Open Scholarly Infrastructure (POSI). One principle says: “It is not enough to merely survive, it [the infrastructure] has to be able to adapt and change.” For 2022 the OAPEN Board then decided to follow the principle stating that: “a high priority should be generating a contingency fund that can support a complete, orderly wind down” by adding to its contingency fund most of the surplus, namely €100,000.  Learn more about our POSI self-audit for OAPEN and DOAB.

If OAPEN again manages to create a surplus in 2023, the Board will again have to decide how to make best use of the surplus. The contingency fund is not yet complete, but other investments could also be considered. However, the important point is that any surplus that OAPEN will generate will always be re-invested in OAPEN. This money cannot leave the organisation but can only be used to pursue the mission and the objectives of OAPEN. This follows the Dutch law for foundations.  

You may already be familiar with the American concept of a 501(c) organisation, which is a type of nonprofit organisation that is exempt from some federal income taxes. A Dutch foundation goes much further – it is an autonomous corporate vehicle that has full legal personality. Its main aim is to benefit the foundation’s mission or purpose, and not to create a profit for the founders.  

A Dutch foundation is an independent legal structure, is represented by a Board of Directors (which can be in the form of a Managing Director and a Supervisory Board as is the case for OAPEN), and is not controlled by shareholders, partners, or members. Furthermore, we are a not-for-profit rather than a non-profit because if we operate successfully we may well make a profit (termed a surplus because we are not a commercial organisation), which is then reinvested in our activities. 

A foundation cannot be sold or taken over. This means that OAPEN is guaranteed to remain independent. A foundation can only be dissolved by a decision of the Board. Any credit balance of the dissolved foundation must be used in line with the objectives of the foundation. 

The Articles of Association of a foundation specify: 

  • Its name, including the word stichting
  • Its purpose or mission 
  • Procedures for appointing and removing officers 
  • Location 
  • Decision-making procedures 
  • Procedures and payments in the event of dissolution 

Learn more about the OAPEN Articles of Association, OAPEN Bylaws (Managing Director), OAPEN Bylaws (Supervisory Board), and how a stichting works.  

Niels Stern & Laura J. Wilkinson

Laura J. Wilkinson

ORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8922-7839

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The Book Analytics Dashboard project: reflections on coordination, collaboration, and community consultation

This blog post was initially published by Kathryn Napier on the the Curtin Open Knowledge Initiative (COKI) website on May 30, 2023.

The Book Analytics Dashboard (BAD) project (2022-2025) is a 3-year, Mellon Foundation funded project that is creating a sustainable analytics service to support diverse Open Access (OA) book publishers. Affectionately referred to as the BAD project, our goal is to provide publishers with user-friendly tools to navigate complex data about how their books are being used. The project is grounded in the premise that efficient, user-friendly usage analytics services are needed to safeguard and support diversity in the voices, perspectives, geographies, topics, and languages made visible through OA books. 

The BAD project is building on the earlier (2020-2022) Mellon-funded Developing a Pilot Data Trust for Open Access Ebook Usage project, affectionately referred to as the OAeBU project. The BAD project is scaling workflows, infrastructure and customer support processes originally developed during the earlier project. In addition to technical refinement and scaling, BAD is developing a long-term plan for housing, maintenance, and funding of the analytics service as a sustainable community infrastructure.

The team working on BAD is truly international. The Principal Investigator (PI) team comprises: Lucy Montgomery from Curtin University (Australia); Cameron Neylon (Curtin University); Niels Stern and Ronald Snijder (OAPEN Foundation, the Netherlands), as well as community cultivation expert Katherine Skinner (Research Lead at IOI, based in the United States). 

I lead the project’s technical team, which is based at Curtin University and has close links to the Curtin Institute for Computation. The Curtin team is working closely with OAPEN to support the development of the governance and sustainability model needed to ensure the long-term stability of a dashboarding service. The whole project team meets weekly, coordinating a series of teleconference meetings and coworking sessions across hemispheres and timezones.

Cameron Neylon (Curtin University), Rebecca Handcock (Curtin University), Kathryn Napier (Curtin University), Sînziana Păltineanu (OAPEN Foundation), Laura J. Wilkinson (OAPEN Foundation), Ronald Snijder (OAPEN Foundation), Lucy Montgomery (Curtin University), Katherine Skinner (Formerly Educopia Institute, now IOI), Niels Stern (OAPEN Foundation) meeting online in March 2023.

Consult, listen, iterate

Engaging with community feedback productively has demanded willingness, not just to consult stakeholders, but also to listen and iterate technical directions. The decision to move away from Elasticsearch Kibana in favour of Looker Studio during the first year of the project is an example of how this process of consulting, listening, and iterating has worked in practice. 

In 2022, when the BAD project kicked off, an important first priority was community consultation and the development of the first annual Technical Roadmap. A draft technical roadmap was made available for community comment and feedback in June-July 2022. The draft technical roadmap had a dual purpose: making technical systems and plans visible to stakeholders; and inviting those stakeholders into a conversation about where effort and resources should be focussed. 

The original project plan placed a heavy focus on standardising technical workflows developed during the previous OAeBU project, in order to support scaling of a dashboard service. This included the use of ElasticSearch Kibana, a system chosen because of its ability to allow for fine-grained user access roles and permissions, and well suited to keeping the information contained in dashboards private. However, ElasticSearch Kibana is less well-suited to a publisher-focussed dashboard service that engages with the value of dashboards to support advocacy and public communication. Being able to easily make dashboards public, embedding dashboards within publisher websites, and simple, visually appealing user interfaces required a different solution.

An example of pilot dashboards produced using ElasticSearch/Kibana during the OAeBU project.

Community consultation and feedback in the early stages of the BAD project highlighted important differences between the primary use cases imagined during the OAeBU project, which focussed on keeping data private; and the needs of users focussed on external messaging and public sharing of visualisations. Improving user experience needed to become a higher priority. Rather than simply standardising ElasticSearch Kibana workflows, the BAD dashboards needed both a visual and technical revamp. Technical work shifted focus to producing dashboards that can be used both publicly for marketing and communication and internally for reporting by publishers.

An example of the BAD dashboards produced using Looker Studio during the first year of the BAD project (see the template dashboard here, and the University of Michigan Press’ dashboard embedded in their website here).

We therefore shifted our focus on technical priorities in the updated technical roadmap (released in January 2023) to investigating alternative dashboarding solutions, and produced a template dashboard using Looker Studio, a dashboarding solution offered by Google. This template dashboard formed the basis of focus group community consultations that took place in the first quarter of 2023, and the dashboard design will continue to iterate and incorporate feedback through the life of the BAD project.

Virtual, in-person, hybrid: working as a truly global team

The first year of the BAD project presented both challenges and exciting opportunities. Coordinating project management and deliverables across a multinational and multidisciplinary team is not a simple exercise, and we have discovered that a combination of detailed in-person meetings and workshops with regular teleconference meetings has resulted in the best outcomes for the project. The lightbulb moment that occurred in late 2022 where we shifted our technical priorities and dashboarding system would not have occurred without a series of in-person meetings.

Laura J. Wilkinson (OAPEN Foundation), Ronald Snijder (OAPEN Foundation), Lucy Montgomery (Curtin University) and Cameron Neylon (Curtin University) meeting in person for a series of project workshops in The Hague, October 2022.

This shift in technical focus came at an ideal time within the first year of the project. We are now well placed to further refine the dashboard design through the feedback received from the focus groups (detailed in the draft technical roadmap for year 2), which will also inform the continued development of the dashboarding services sustainability, governance and financial models. We will continue to endeavour to build the best service we can with the combined talents from our multidisciplinary team.

Kathryn Napier

Learn more about the BAD project

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