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Support towards the OAPEN initiative (2015-2016)

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ERC-OAPEN-2015 (Support towards the OAPEN initiative (2015-2016))

Reporting period: 2015-12-01 to 2017-11-30

It has become widely accepted that open access (OA) can improve scholarly communication. By providing unrestricted access to and facilitating re-use of research publications, Open Access (OA) can increase the reach and impact of research publications.
The transition to open access for research publications has been rather slow in case of scholarly monographs when compared to journal articles. However, the benefits of OA apply equally to scholarly monographs, and in the general transition to OA, books should not be left behind. This is why OAPEN is dedicated to support open access publishing of academic books, by providing a platform for the full text hosting and dissemination of OA books and providing services to publishers, research funders and libraries.
The ERC Work Programme 2015 specifically addressed open access to the published output of research. Under Horizon 2020, beneficiaries of ERC grants must ensure OA to all peer-reviewed publications relating to its results. This requirement includes monographs, which are particularly important in the humanities and social sciences.
ERC-OAPEN-2015 aimed to set up a deposit service for OA books based on research funded by ERC. OAPEN’s main objective was to collect, host and provide access to the books and book chapters, in order to maximise dissemination and scientific and societal impact. The deposit service consisted of the following main components: to identify and approach eligible grantees; to identify research output in the form of monographs; to capture and host the publications and metadata; and to report on the results (publications, compliance, usage).
At the start of the project, OAPEN described the Deposit service for OA monographs (including chapters and other long-form publications) in the workflow report, and subsequently OAPEN set up the Deposit service. The Deposit service was provided through the OAPEN website:
− The OAPEN website was extended with a special ERC section ( This section includes information about ERC requirements, information about the Deposit service and guidance about publishing OA monographs. The service for researchers is provided through an online deposit form.
− The OAPEN website also includes a general section for publishers introducing the Deposit service, with guidance about the service (
− A section has been added to the OAPEN website with a list of publishers that comply with funder requirements (from ERC, Wellcome and FWF). During the course of ERC-OAPEN-2015, the list has been extended with a column with links to the green OA/self-archiving policy of publishers. There are now 25 publishers on the list.

The Deposit service makes use of three routes for the deposit of publications: aggregation of publications by OAPEN; deposit by researchers; deposit by publishers:
− Aggregation of publications was in most cases done upon request by ERCEA, which identified publications (books or book chapters) that were the result of ERC funded research. This was the most successful route during the project, accounting for the majority of publications that could be added to the OAPEN Library;
− Deposit by researchers was the least used route to add publications to the collection. This was most likely due to lack of awareness of the OAPEN deposit service among ERC grantees.
− Deposit by publishers was more successful, as OAPEN was able to inform publishers of the service directly and established regular contact with a number of the main publishers by introducing the list of publishers that comply with funder requirements.

Results of the Deposit service:
Total number of identified publications, resulting from ERC grants: 147
o Uploaded in OAPEN: 71
o Pending: 64
o Not uploaded: 12
Of uploaded publications (71):
> Books versus chapters:
• Books: 39
• Chapters: 32
> FP7 versus H2020:
• H2020: 2
• FP7: 56
• FP7 SC 39: 13 (FP7 grant agreement, with special clause 39)
> Aggregated versus deposited:
• Aggregated: 54
• Deposited: 17
• By researcher: 5
• By publisher: 12
> Gold and green:
• Gold OA: 55
• Green OA: 16
• Published version: 70
• Manuscript: 1

During the project (January 2016 – December 2017) OAPEN has measured the usage of the publications based on COUNTER compliant stats. In that time, the publications were downloaded 28,915 times in 161 different countries.


OAPEN has reached out to the OA community in two ways:
- Direct contact with the different stakeholders (mainly researchers and publishers) concerning specific publications. This was done mostly by email. We have been in contact with over 50 publishers and about 20 researchers, authors or PIs. Also, the ERC section at informed these stakeholders about the deposit service;
OAPEN also created awareness for the Deposit service more in general through:
o Newsletters: to our OAPEN list, three special newsletters have been sent: 1) announcing the project, 2) the official press release concerning the start of the project, and 3) a newsletter about the launch of the Deposit service. The OAPEN list currently has over 1200 dedicated members. ERC-OAPEN was also mentioned in two more general newsletters from OAPEN and one from DOAB (currently over 1500 dedicated members),
o Through the OAPEN Twitter account (currently almost 4000 followers), several ERC funded titles have been announced, and also more general tweets with ERC related news have been sent out, some also retweeded from the DOAB Twitter account (nearing 2500 followers). This is an ongoing activity.
o The project management has promoted ERC-OAPEN at 6 different conferences and 4 workshops.
The OAPEN deposit service for ERC has provided insight in the publication of monographs from ERC funded research and provided valuable data regarding the implementation of ERC’s approach to open access (OA) monographs.

The project made clear that there are various bottlenecks around OA to monographs and book chapters resulting from ERC funded research:
− Lack of awareness among grantees: researchers are often less familiar with OA for monographs, and there are fewer publishers with an OA offering for books. Researchers are also less aware of OA requirements and of the OAPEN Deposit service;
− Lack of awareness among publishers: publishers often needed to be educated about ERC OA requirements, they needed to be informed about the Deposit service and often did not have a clear OA policy, in particular a self-archiving policy;
− Lack of information regarding publications: ERCEA does not have direct information regarding the publication of monographs from ERC funded research, which means aggregation needs to rely on indirect searches for monographs and book chapters.

In general the project received positive response from both researchers and publishers. When OAPEN approached researchers, they were willing to deposit their publication in the OAPEN Library. Similarly, OAPEN was pleased with the willingness of publishers to cooperate. Publishers regularly putt a lot of effort to make the deposit of publications on behalf of their authors possible.

The project clearly had a positive impact on the level of understanding of OA requirements among academic book publishers, and the need for clear policies, particularly regarding self-archiving and licensing. This was in part achieved by introducing the list of publishers that comply with funder requirements and the subsequent focus on collecting information about self-archiving policies (green OA).

As ERC is one of the few funders with an OA mandate that includes monographs, this project contributed to the acceptance of open access for monographs and the understanding of practical implications of the transition to OA.