Session 12

Session 12: Towards Open Access: Keeping Up the Good Work

Friday 28th June 2019 – 9:00-10:30

Chair: Anna Lundén, National Library of Sweden, Stockholm, Sweden

12.1 University Journals: Consolidating Institutional Repositories in a Free Open Access Publication Platform

Saskia Woutersen-Windhouwer, University of Amsterdam and Leiden University Libraries, The Netherlands, Eva Méndez Rodríguez, Library and Information Sciences Department, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain, Jeroen Sondervan, Utrecht University Library, The Netherlands, Peter van Laarhoven, University of Groningen Library, The Netherlands, Frans Oort, Research Advisory Committee, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands


Funders increasingly mandate researchers to publish their scientific articles open access and to retain their copyright. Universities all over the world use repositories for the preservation and dissemination of academic production of their institutions, including scientific articles, datasets, and other research outputs. However, in general, authors do not find institutional repositories very attractive and accessible as an open access publication platform since repositories are not part of the rewarding system. We expect that researchers are more likely to publish and deposit their scientific papers in a repository, once they have the appearance, recognition and dissemination of a scientific journal.

University libraries from five European countries started a collaboration to set up University Journals as an alternative to the current journal system that require authors to transfer their copyright, or charge article processing charges. If a scientific paper in a repository is submitted to and accepted by University Journals, the article will be automatically transformed into a publication in this newly accredited platform. By building on the existing repository infrastructure and publishing expertise of the participating universities, University Journals requires only modest resources, while the journal format will help ensure the commitment and acceptance by academic authors.

University Journals will also stimulate Open Science practices. All research output (reports, datasets, tests, protocols, methods, software and other research products) can be published quickly and fully in University Journals. The advantage is that all types of publications will be indexed in the same way in established abstract and citation databases, by current search engines and copyright and ownership of all research outcomes will remain within the universities. And although University Journals is a single publication platform, it will be given the appearance of various digital journals, organized by discipline and university. It will provide a valuable way of modern scholarly communication as demanded in the transition to Open Science.

In 2019, we received a starting grant to establish University Journals. Fourteen universities will collaboratively set up the publication and dissemination process. Publication will rely on internal quality control, while peer review will be voluntary, post hoc, open and transparent. Management and editorial tasks will be delegated to the libraries. A first (beta)version of the platform is scheduled to be online by June 2020. There is an open invitation for other universities to join the collaboration.

The platform will co-exist with commercial journals, but academic and research libraries gain control of the publication and dissemination process on behalf of the authors and institutions. The costs of the common infrastructure can be shared among participating universities and possibly other stakeholders such as national funding agencies and governments.

This paper will explain the University Journals project and how the involved universities want to facilitate a valuable alternative publication platform that complies with Plan S principles and enables publication and dissemination of all research outcomes. By establishing University Journals as a publication platform, university libraries are instrumental (and crucial) in achieving the ambitions of Open Science.

Saskia Woutersen-Windhouwer LLM is a Digital Scholarship Librarian at the Centre for Digital Scholarship (CDS) at Leiden University Libraries, and the main contact person for Open Access at Leiden University. She is a member of the Dutch national working group on Open Access and of the Knowledge Exchange Open Access expert group. In 2010 she won the SURFshare Open Access Award.
Saskia is also involved in Open Science: she participated in the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission “Digital Repository Infrastructure Vision for European Research II”, and co-authored one of its products: “Report on Enhanced Publications state-of-the-art”. From 2016 till the end of 2018, she participated in the Horizon2020 project “OPENing UP new methods, indicators and tools for peer review, impact measurement and dissemination of research results”. While working at the University of Amsterdam, she was involved in setting up University Journals, and is still an active member of the team.

12.2 DCU Press: Vision to Reality

Ellen Breen, Dublin City University, Ireland


The past number of years has seen a growing trend in the establishment of University Presses. This growth in institutional publishing is a direct response to the changing scholarly communication landscape. Drivers include an increased awareness and understanding of the benefits and importance of open access publishing, funder mandates requiring all publicly funded research to be open and freely available to all, as well as concerns for the viability of scholarly monographs and the high cost of journal subscriptions (Lockett & Speicher, 2016).

This presentation will discuss the establishment of DCU Press, Ireland’s first fully open access University Press. The launch of DCU Press was officially announced in July 2018. The Press is a joint initiative between DCU Library and the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation. It is a key initiative in support of the university’s strategic goal to advance its reputation for world-class research (DCU, 2017). The Press will see the university take on a greater role in the dissemination of its research. It will enhance institutional reputation, brand and prestige by significantly increasing the discoverability and global reach of DCU’s research outputs and further expand its support for the principles of open science.

The specific focus of the presentation will be the establishment and set-up of the Press. Areas discussed will include:

  • the rationale and strategic context for the establishment of an OA Press
  • the benefits of establishing an OA Press
  • advocacy, engagement and support for the Press
  • governance, management, quality control (peer review processes)
  • business/operational model – staffing, workflows and key partnerships
  • current and future plans


Dublin City University (DCU) (2017) Strategic Plan 2017-2022. Available at: (accessed 14th January, 2019)

Lockett, A. and Speicher, L. (2016) New University Presses in the UK: Accessing a mission. Learned Publishing (29), pp. 320-329. doi: 10.1002/leap.1049

Ellen Breen has been a member of DCU Library’s Senior Management Team since 2001. In her current role of Associate Director (Research and Teaching), Ellen is responsible for the strategic development and delivery of targeted library services, engagement and supports to the research and teaching community at DCU.   This includes research services and partnerships in the area of open access publishing.

Ellen has worked in academic libraries for over 20 years.  She is currently a member of the CONUL (Consortium of National and University Libraries) Training and Development Committee.  She chaired the CONUL Advisory Committee on Information Literacy from 2002-2012. She was Programme Co-ordinator for the inaugural CONUL Conference in 2015 and co-chair of the CONUL Conference Committee in 2017. Ellen is a member of the YERUN (Young European Research Universities) Working Group on Open Science.

12.3 Opening up the Library: Transforming our Structures, Policies and Practices

Joanna Ball, Roskilde University Library, Roskilde, Denmark, Graham Stone, Jisc Collections, United Kingdom, University of York Library, United Kingdom


Libraries have played an important role in facilitating the transition to open scholarship within their institutions: providing advocacy, advice and support for Funder Open Access policies, and developing research data management and open scholarship services.

However, much of this support has focussed on subscription publishing and the transition to OA journals. indeed, in a recent report to the Knowledge Exchange a survey respondent evidenced a concern that business models for OA monographs in particular were “predicated on those developed for journal articles“. Furthermore, the tipping point for journals regarding a transition to electronic has long since passed. Monographs are still predicated by print, the tipping point to ‘e’ is a long way off and may never happen. Therefore, open e-books are less well developed, and this is never truer than in the library supply chain. Open is not embedded into the culture, workflows and practices that are used as part of the book acquisition process.

As part of a landscape study on New University Presses and Scholar led publishing, Rupert Gatti (Open Book Publishers) explains that this is an issue for many open access book publishers and that it would be helpful to have a service that “looks at how to bring academic content into the catalogues and the digital learning environments of the universities and to allow universities to also relate back to the publisher, so that there is a flow of information going back both ways”.

One of the recommendations at a follow up workshop looking at OA monographs discovery in the library supply chain, was to look at the culture of libraries towards the acquisition of open content. The workshop suggested that less attention is paid to open book content as it is ‘free’ and so perceived as less valuable.

If we were to redesign our libraries around the premise of open rather than closed content, what would that look like? And how do we drive our own ‘transition’ of culture, processes and services so that they’re built around Open?

This paper will build on discussions held in 2019 within the UK research library community at both strategic (RLUK) and practitioner (NAG) levels, and enable delegates to take away strategic and practical ideas to effect change within their own libraries. For example, to:

  • Redesign the Library supply chain to support open content
  • Rethink how to demonstrate value for money for resources invested in open
  • Support academic staff to select Open Educational Resources and Open Textbooks for teaching
  • Include open content in Library collection management and development policies so open content is selected and acquired in the same way as purchased or subscribed, or event that the discovery of open material is prioritised over purchased.

Finally, the paper will identify what kind of strategic approach is required as a sector at a European level, and what role there might be for sector organisations such as LIBER to support this.

Joanna Ball is an Associate Director at the University of Sussex Library, where she provides strategic direction for the teams responsible for academic engagement, content delivery and digital development. She is a member of Jisc Collections Content Strategy Group and Chair of its Digital Archival Collections Sub-Group.

12.4 No deal! Sweden Cancelled Agreement with Elsevier to Stand Up for Open Science

Göran Hamrin and Cecilia Heyman-Widmark, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden


In this talk we highlight some results after the Swedish Bibsam consortium decided to cancel the agreement with scientific publisher Elsevier after 20 years as they couldn’t present a model that met the demands of the consortium.

The requirements were immediate open access to all articles published in Elsevier journals by researchers affiliated to participating organisations as well as reading access to all articles in Elsevier’s journals. Bibsam also demanded a sustainable price model that enables a transition to open access publishing. We investigate the effects of this cancellation on Sweden’s largest technical university, the KTH Royal Institute of Technology.


The study has two themes. First, we analyse the economics in earlier Bibsam-Elsevier agreements and what effects they have had for the budget and purchasing decisions made by the KTH Library. Second, we evaluate the response and the adapted behaviour of KTH researchers in the attempt to see if the cancellation has had severe negative effects for them.


Our data collection gives an overview over the effects of the cancelled agreement at KTH. In particular, we observe how some of the money saved on the cancellation is used for individual article purchases and alternative services, thus lowering the effect of the cut-off. During our talk, we will also review some marketing strategies employed at KTH and Swedish libraries for making this cancellation process as smooth as possible.


The short time period that has elapsed after the cancellation makes it difficult to see any long-time trends. The limited time frame also affects the validity of the researchers’ responses. Moreover, it is difficult to tell how the results from a case study from one university can be generalised to a global setting.

Göran Hamrin is the KTH Library Director of Studies and a Lecturer in Library and Information Science at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology. He is a mathematician, logician, philosopher, librarian and information scientist.

With many years of experience from research libraries Cecilia Heyman Widmark holds a broad experience from the sector. She is currently working at the Royal Institute of Technology Library in Stockholm within the area of publishing and information resources. Cecilia has an interest in the developments regarding the transition to a new (open) publishing landscape and changing models for financing, as well as of how libraries best can organize and change in order to meet the needs of its users. How can technology, digitalisation and competencies improve and optimize library services so they remain relevant to its institution? The presentation will touch on some of these issues although its main focus is on users’ access to content after the cancellation of the Elsevier agreement in Sweden.

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