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SCOSS 2021 Update: Library Consortia Create Path for Funding Open Infrastructure

bar graph showing US usage of the OAPEN Library 2013–2020; usage in 2020 doubled compared to 2019
image courtesy of OAPEN and SCOSS

The Global Sustainability Coalition for Open Science Services (SCOSS) will soon announce its third round of funding targets for open scholarly infrastructure providers. Since 2017, the SCOSS Board has worked with an international advisory group of scholarly communications experts to select open infrastructures that are widely relied upon by the international scholarly community, but are struggling with financial sustainability. Through an open application process, SCOSS works with the selected providers to raise money and make plans for maintaining their financial success.

In the first two rounds of funding, we’ve seen that countries with national licensing bodies, such as Australia and Canada, have been the strongest contributors. Institutions in the United States—whose scholars rely just as heavily on open infrastructures in their work, and whose libraries are just as committed to open scholarship—have lagged behind, at 13% of global contributions since SCOSS began. As we learned in the OA in the Open project, there are challenges to open content and infrastructure contributions, including: (1) vetting and recommending what to fund, which SCOSS does very well, and (2) the burden of setting up new administrative relationships in the acquisitions workflow of academic libraries, which is primarily oriented toward approval plans and subscriptions. (The brilliance and uptake of the subscribe-to-open model is that it recognizes the importance of accommodating that workflow in enabling institutions to help subscription journals flip to open access (OA).)

But 2021 has seen exciting progress among US consortia that are making pledges to support open infrastructure, tied in part to savings from scaling back “big deals” with major commercial publishers. The Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA) recently announced their combined support for the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB). And according to John Dove, North American ambassador to DOAJ, 100% of ARL academic libraries now belong to one or more consortia with a billing relationship with DOAJ. While DOAJ itself happily exceeded its worldwide SCOSS targets for funding in 2020, it still needs additional sustaining supporters as the transformation to OA publishing models continues to accelerate. Consortia provide a promising path for US libraries to match their use of SCOSS target infrastructures with their financial support. Additional US consortia support for SCOSS is in development.

SCOSS-Supported Infrastructure Use in the US

Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) and OAPEN (Open Access Publishing in European Networks)

  • The US is the number one global user of the OAPEN Library, at 26% of global usage and more than 2.6 million downloads since 2013. In 2020, US usage of OAPEN doubled from 2019.
  • In 2020, 10 out of 25 top title downloads were published by US university presses.
  • There are 30 US university presses in the OAPEN Library.

OpenCitations

  • The US was responsible for 19% of the traffic to OpenCitations services (SPARQL endpoints, APIs, and other web services) between May 2020 and April 2021, and has been listed in the top 4 countries every month.
  • Services relying on OpenCitations include the metadata aggregator org, computer science bibliography dblp, and Scipedia.

Public Knowledge Project (PKP)

  • More than 10,000 journals around the world publish with PKP’s Open Journal System (OJS) software, including nearly 800 in the United States.
  • More than 45% of US-based Library Publishing Coalition members publish with OJS.

The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and Sherpa Romeo, which were SCOSS Round One–supported infrastructures, are also still accepting funds through SCOSS.

SCOSS recommends a contribution level per institution, and consortia are eligible for discounts. Ask your consortium contact about contributing to DOAB and OAPEN, DOAJ, OpenCitations, PKP, or Sherpa Romeo, and/or reach out to the infrastructures directly to become a funder.

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