Open Access Week

October 25 -31, 2021 | Everywhere

Improving the global understanding of how OA ebooks are used

As the Principal Investigator of the Exploring OA Book Usage effort, I invite global participation from parties interested in advancing the ethical use of OA book usage metrics. Celebrate this OA week by signing up to inform our work through one of our online community groups (opt-in here) or by following the journey of this Open Access eBook Usage Data Trust through our announce list (subscribe here). More information on what we’re doing is below...


Publishers, research institutions, funders, and even authors don’t always have a good sense of how the OA ebooks they care about are accessed, used, and referenced worldwide. Whether looking at aggregate use by scholars or by students in the classroom, or looking at how monographs are referenced in public affairs, community conversations, and social media, such book usage information is increasingly available from multiple publishing platforms and services.

While usage data may be available from a site hosting an ebook, openly licensed content is often hosted in multiple locations, and any usage data or web analytics that you can collect from these locations is usually difficult to combine and compare. Yet, to understand an OA book’s total impact and engagement, data is required from across the ebook supply chain. Pulling together this information to inform decision makers is the first step. Describing how such data can ethically and appropriately be interpreted, and converting the information into understandable reports and dashboards, requires additional technical and data analysis resources within each institution making decisions on such information.

What if we could make it easier for stakeholders from across the OA ebook supply chain to share, aggregate, and leverage such usage data across platforms in an ethical way? Could diverse stakeholders in OA ebook publishing share usage data with each other in a way that is sensitive to ethical, privacy, and business concerns? Could a data trust model allow those creating usage data about OA books to benefit from a shared common resource that facilitates ethical data analytics in support of decision making?

Thanks to generous support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, a global research team guided by 20 esteemed advisors and broad community input are developing and testing infrastructure, policy, and governance models to support a global data trust for usage data on OA ebooks. From documenting the OA book usage data supply chain, to working with community volunteers to document the personas and use cases depending on OA book usage data, we are looking to understand together how a data trust might be able to support enhanced usage analytics to support the publication and financing of OA monographs. I hope you will join us (opt-in here).

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