Exploring improvements to global OA monograph data analytics through a collective usage data trust

The University of Calgary Press, a leading Canadian publisher of Open Access scholarly books, announced today its participation in the global Exploring Open Access eBook Usage (OAeBU) data trust pilot project supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Director of the Press, Brian Scrivener, has joined the project’s Advisory Board of fourteen thought leaders representing a diverse array of OA book stakeholders from across five continents.

The two-year project is implementing recommendations published by the Book Industry Study Group in the “Exploring Open Access Ebook Usage” white paper. The project will produce multiple outputs to advance usage reporting and sharing among stakeholders in scholarly communication, including: 1) documentation of the OA ebook distribution and usage reporting supply chains, 2) personas and use-cases for specific stakeholders interacting with OA book usage data across the supply chain, 3) pilot open-source infrastructure to facilitate cross-platform data aggregation and analytics, and 4) community-led budgetary, policy and governance frameworks to support a data trust that ensures the ethical use of usage analytics.

“Accurate, reliable statistics on usage of Open Access books have proven elusive,” says Scrivener. “Our staff in the University of Calgary’s Libraries & Cultural Resources are constantly working to refine usage data for our own books. The international aspect of OaeBU will help to establish industry standards and best practices to ensure credibility and comparability of OA usage statistics.”

Kevin Hawkins, Assistant Dean for Scholarly Communication at the University of North Texas Libraries and Principal Investigator of the project, noted the importance of this work to university presses and libraries in particular. “Mission-driven organizations are often asked to report on the impact of their work, and this is quite difficult to do today for OA ebooks. We look forward to prototyping data solutions, reports and dashboards to help university presses, libraries, and others better understand how readers interact with books.”

Brian O’Leary, Executive Director of the Book Industry Study Group, added, “Measuring open-access monograph usage helps book publishers to better understand how, where, and why their titles are used. Well-managed data in turn helps those publishers make future investment decisions and arguments for institutional support. An ecosystem without a price requires creative thinking about value; data on use helps publishers understand and act on that value.”

The project is releasing the supply chain maps for community review while it facilitates virtual design workshops with stakeholder groups to define personas and use-cases. An international call for participation is posted on the project’s website for individuals to inform the data trust effort. More information is on the project website

For more information, please contact:
Christina Drummond
OA eBook Usage Data Trust Program Officer