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Blog post 

OA Switchboard OA Books pilot starts in January

A dedicated OA Books prototype is in advanced stages of development and will be available for testing with pilot users in January 2024. Research institutions, funders, and academic book publishers can still join for testing.

1 December 2023 by Yvonne Campfens, Executive Director OA Switchboard

This summer we announced that OA Switchboard had kicked-off a project to explore an OA Books solution to simplify the sharing of information between stakeholders about OA book publications throughout the whole publication journey. There is increased awareness for OA Books, and more and more research funders and institutions are developing OA Books policies. This is leading to a complex landscape with a multitude of overlapping business models, agreements, policies, and systems, which has already started to pose serious implementation challenges. This is where the OA Switchboard Books solution comes in.


We promised to provide regular progress reports during the project and this blog post is the first update following our introductory blog post.


What have we done?

Over the last few months, we’ve prepared a working model (‘prototype’) for a ‘message hub’ to support two OA Books specific use cases. This prototype is to enable publishers to send pre-publication eligibility enquiry messages (BE1-message) to research funders and institutions, who in turn can respond with a reply (BE2-message). It is also to allow for publication notification messages (BP1-message) to be sent by publishers to research funders and institutions. These BP1-messages contain rich and detailed book metadata that can be ingested in other systems (e.g. repositories), used for analysis, to monitor policy compliance, for further reporting, and more.


Through a UXD-driven design approach in combination with many 1-to-1 and group meetings, we’ve shaped and refined the use cases, defined the message types and the data fields, and designed the online forms and user journey.


In parallel, the Working Group has started to think about organisations to invite as pilot users, to ensure there are matches between publishers’ book authors’ affiliated organisations and the funders of their underlying research. A Pilot User agreement has been developed and the prototype development work has started in the meantime. We are very grateful that more sponsors have committed to financially support the initiative, so it can be free of charge for the pilot users.


What are the next steps?

In the next couple of weeks, our development partner will finalise the prototype and the Working Group will prepare for the pilot. During this period we aim to bring in more Pilot Users and refine  the pilot goals and approach. The pilot is planned to start late January 2024, and will run for at least 6 months. The outcomes and experiences will be evaluated and shared here on the OA Switchboard blog.


What’s the ultimate idea?

The intended OA Books solution is to ultimately enhance workflows, increase the visibility of  OA Book publications, support OA book policies, and facilitate integration with the increasingly complex open access research and publishing ecosystem.


Generally, as an intermediary, the OA Switchboard simplifies the sharing of information between publishers, institutions and funders, thereby reducing the transactional cost for stakeholders, and it provides a safe space for exchange of publication metadata.



Get involved!

If you are interested to learn more or to be involved as pilot users, please don’t hesitate to get in touch! More information can be found on our dedicated OA Books Pilot webpage.



For more information, please contact:

Yvonne Campfens, Executive Director OA Switchboard

About us:

The OA Switchboard is a mission-driven, community led initiative designed to simplify the sharing of information between stakeholders about open access publications throughout the whole publication journey. It provides a standardised messaging protocol and shared infrastructure that is designed to operate and integrate with all stakeholder systems. It is built by and for the people who use it, and is leveraged with existing PID’s.

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