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Support to the OAPEN initiative (2020-2021)

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ERC-OAPEN-2019 (Support to the OAPEN initiative (2020-2021))

Reporting period: 2020-11-01 to 2022-10-31

The overall objective of this ERC-OAPEN-2019 project was to improve and explore the potential of the OAPEN open access (OA) monograph deposit service for ERC grantees. This objective has been achieved. Through the deposit service, new publications funded by the ERC are disseminated through the OAPEN Library. Throughout the project OAPEN has strengthend its engagement with publishers and with researchers in support of the ERC's OA strategy. OAPEN has engaged with publishers to improve awareness of open access requirements, improved support for ERC researchers through a webinar, e-mail campaigns and supporting communication material, and raised awareness around self-archiving policies for books and chapters. Finally, OAPEN has also engaged with several research funders to develop an alternative funding model to sustain the OAPEN infrastructure services.
At the start of the project (1 November 2020, the ERC collection in the OAPEN Library contained 348 titles; at the end of the project (31 Oceober 2022) it contained 467 titles. Therefore, the total number of titles had increased by 119 titles (34%). The number of publications stemming from research funded by grants in the H2020 framework, showed the most impressive growth with 98 titles (from 76 on 1 November 2020 to 174 on 31 October 2022).
The total number of COUNTER conformant downloads of the collection within the reporting period is 533,245.
The most downloaded titles are listed below, followed by the number of downloads. As can be seen from the results, the subjects of those books vary widely.
1. How the World Changed Social Media (54,673)
2. Pentecostalism and Witchcraft (14,441)
3. History and Religion: Narrating a Religious Past (12,973)
4. The Politics of Evidence (11,113)
5. Code-switching Between Structural and Sociolinguistic Perspectives (10,759)

The collection has been downloaded by readers residing in 230 named countries or regions. The top 10 consists of United States; United Kingdom; India; Germany; Philippines; Australia; Canada; Italy; France and the Netherlands. Readers from these countries are responsible for 57% of the total amount of downloads; there is a “long tail” of many more countries and regions with a smaller usage percentage.

An important result of the project is the OAPEN usage statistics dashboard service, providing usage data to publishers hosted by the OAPEN, supporting libraries (libraries who support OAPEN through a membership programme), and research funders that we provide services to (collection management). The ERC is one of these funders and we have been testing, coordinating and improving the service in close collaboration with ERCEA. The service went live during the project and is described in detail in the deliverable D4.1.

In coordination with ERCEA, OAPEN hosted a webinar titled 'How to ensure your books and chapters resulting from your ERC project fulfil your funder's requirements' saw 162 registrants, 96 of which participated in the webinar on the day itself. The participants had the opportunity to ask any questions they had to the presenters of OAPEN and the ERCEA guest speaker present. The live webinar was recorded and access to the recording of the webinar ( was shared with ERC researchers as part of a researcher targeted communication kit (D6.2). The webinar sparked more deposits from grantees and was therefore evaluated as a positive event increasing the number of books in the ERC collection.

Throughout the project, OAPEN has been communicating actively (at conferences and workshops and via social media and short articles), about the project and its results according to the communication plan (D6.1). This has led to a lot of positive interactions with important stakeholders in the field.
OAPEN has started to prepare the launch of a dedicated forum for research funders that will contribute to not only the sustainability of the Deposit service but also expand the OAPEN service portfolio for research funders beyond the state of the art. The idea of creating a Funder Forum surfaced when several European research funders (including FWF, SNSF, NWO, UKRI, DFG, ERC and the EC) participated in a workshop on OA books in October 2021 organised by OAPEN Foundation as part of the ERC-OAPEN-2019 project. A common interest was expressed to have OAPEN coordinating a Funder Forum where research funders can convene to discuss OA book policies, share experiences, and influence the OAPEN infrastructure in support of the implementation of OA book policies. The Funder Forum will be inclusive and open to all research funders, including those beyond the European Research Area.
The project included a task (T3.1.2) on Green OA to books. This is a fairly uncharted territory of OA book publishing. The project engaged a number of publishers and research funders in discussions around Green OA to books which led to the project deliverable, D3.2. Based on this project focus but going beyond it, OAPEN took lead in an open and innovative community consultation event investigating Green OA to books further. In the spring of 2021, the Open Access Books Network organised a series of events called A Plan S for books. Voices from the Community []. The session including the interview can be viewed here and an edited version of the workshop outcome here

The global impact of the ERC collection can be measured using the download data. We have seen a large uptake in many European countries and the other countries that are traditionally linked to the “global north”. By comparing the usage and countries to this list of Wikimedia list of regions [] it becomes clear that 33% of the downloads originate from countries listed as the “global south”.

The scientific impact of the collection is harder to estimate. Based on the literature on measuring the scholarly and scientific impact, a ‘citation window’ of 6–8 years is preferable when assessing monographs [Snijder, R. Revisiting an open access monograph experiment: measuring citations and tweets 5 years later. Scientometrics 109, 1855–1875 (2016).]. In other words, the period of this report is too short to reliably measure the impact. However, the literature also indicates that books published in open access have a ‘citation advantage’: their improved availability makes them easier found by scholars, improving the chance of citations.

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