UMP partners with the Open Access eBook Usage Data (OAeBU) trust pilot 

by Charles Watkinson on October 21, 2020

University of Michigan Press is part of a pilot project exploring the creation of a global Open Access eBook Usage Data Trust, supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Charles Watkinson, director of the Press, has joined a project Advisory Board that represents a diverse array of OA book stakeholders from across five continents. Rebecca Welzenbach, Research Impact Librarian at U-M Library, is also part of the core team. In addition, the University of Michigan Press will help the data trust develop and test data ingestion workflows and data output solutions (thought of internally as a dashboard) over the coming year.

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. 

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 help 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:

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