Working together towards a resilient and community-controlled federation of analytics tools and services for books
Two international projects, OPERAS-PLUS project and the Book Analytics Dashboard project, commit to coordinate on delivering transparent, trusted, and community-controlled analytics tools and services to support the transition to open access for scholarly books.
The diversity of players in scholarly book publishing needs to be protected and ensuring that there are high quality and trusted analytics services is an important part of that,
said Prof. Lucy Montgomery, Professor of Knowledge Innovation at Curtin University and co-lead of the Curtin Open Knowledge Initiative. Dr Rupert Gatti, director and co-founder of Open Book Publishers added
community control over these data products is crucial for ensuring that the needs of the rich diversity of book publishers in social sciences and humanities are properly supported.
The OPERAS-PLUS project, supported under the European Commission Horizon Europe Program, is advancing the OPERAS Research Infrastructure for open Social Sciences and Humanities scholarly communication. OPERAS offers a diverse service portfolio in the areas of discovery, analytics, quality assurance, research for society, and multilingualism. The OPERAS Metrics Service, which collects usage and impact metrics related to published Open Access content from different sources and allows for their access, display and analysis from a single access point, is being further developed through the project. At the publisher end, this will provide a widget that can be easily incorporated in the landing page for an individual book to provide usage information to readers and authors. Collaboration with a wider community will be crucially important regarding metrics services where the project will be maturing tools for displaying and collating data on the usage and impact of individual books. The OPERAS Metrics service was originally developed in the HIRMEOS project.
The Book Analytics Dashboard project (BAD), funded by the Mellon Foundation, is delivering dashboards that integrate data on usage across platforms to provide a diversity of publishers with the tools to analyse their usage across their open access books, platforms, including institutional and country-based usage analysis. Following a previous pilot project that worked with five publishers and one platform, the current project being led from Curtin University is working with OAPEN and community cultivation expert Dr Katherine Skinner to standardise and scale up the dashboard system towards a goal of proving these for hundreds of publishers.
Dr Brian Hole, director and founder of Ubiquity Press and in charge of the development of the OPERAS Metrics Service in the OPERAS-PLUS project noted,
the two projects are complementary in their information provision, with the OPERAS Metrics Service focused on surfacing data for authors and readers, and the Book Analytics Dashboard project looking to provide integrated information for publishers and other stakeholders like libraries and research funders.
Following a productive series of meetings, culminating in a face-to-face workshop which recently took place in Brussels on 3-4 October 2022, both projects share a commitment to transparency of data processing, community control over systems, and open source solutions. The renewed commitment to coordination comes at a time of challenges for scholarly book publishing and opportunities as open access policies start to focus more on long-form work and the need for evidence of the value of open access increases.
Sy Holsinger, Chief Technology Officer of OPERAS AISBL, points to the need for coordination and collaboration in this space:
With limited resources available coupled with many communities looking to develop solutions, if we are to preserve the distinct character of scholarly book publishing we need to work together. OPERAS is committed to the shared goal of the projects to support the diversity of book publishing in social sciences and humanities and is excited to contribute to technical interoperability that can collectively support more of the needs from different stakeholders.
Though these projects will run for the next couple of years, a first step will focus on demonstrating data interchange to provide interoperability, and will work together to provide a menu of offerings through the OPERAS Service Portfolio and other channels.