Blog postOA Switchboard 2022 mid-year review: Collaboration drives growth and progress

27 May 2022 by Yvonne Campfens, Executive Director OA Switchboard

Open access is opening research up to the world. Academics, institutions, funders, and publishers are committed to ensuring that research is available and accessible to all. But delivering this is not without challenges, particularly as the amount of open access content is growing. The OA Switchboard is a mission-driven, community-led initiative designed for information sharing between stakeholders throughout the whole open access publication journey.

We’re happy to report on the huge amount of progress made so far as we reflect on how things are looking halfway through the second year of our 2021-2022 launch phase.

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Entering Year 2:

  • Our blog post OA Switchboard one year live: Community, collaboration, and delivering on the promise of PIDs detailed our achievements in 2021, the lessons learned from the first year of our launch phase and considered what is next on our agenda.

  • As we celebrated being fully operational for one year, we also proudly shared our end of year statistics: 84,377 messages were sent by participating publishers to research funders and institutions/consortia via the OA Switchboard (‘messages’ = standardised sets of publication-level metadata).

Q1 Milestone

In early March 2022, the OA Switchboard reached the impressive milestone of 100,000 ‘messages’ sent or, more precisely, 100,000 exchanges of OA publication-level information by publishers to research funders, institutions and consortia!

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We are proud and grateful for all participants and our strategic partner OASPA. As Gaynor Redvers-Mutton of the Microbiology Society states "The more who use it, the better a resource it becomes." This is now becoming a reality.

Next to an overview of all our launch customers and founding partners, our website provides lists of ‘live participants’: those with an active account in the OA Switchboard (sending, receiving and responding to 'messages')

  • 5 consortia and multi-site participants

  • 50 individual research institutions/libraries

  • 17 publishers

  • 3 research funders

How research funders, institutions/libraries and consortia, and publishers use OA Switchboard

Our participants use OA Switchboard in a number of different ways. If you are based at a research funder, institution/library or consortium, or a publisher, and you want to find out more, check out the benefits and applications in a range of participants’ use cases presented on our website.


Throughout 2022 we’re also engaging with a group of prominent research funders who are supporting the initiative in a ‘funder pilot’ (extended from a smaller pilot in 2021). The aim is to get insight into the quality of metadata on research funders and grants acknowledged in published articles, and also in the desired standardised reporting format. The goal of the reporting via OA Switchboard is to enable research funders to demonstrate the extent and impact of their research funding and deliver on their commitment to open access.

News from participants

Recent progress has generated announcements from our participants:

Our role as an intermediary – connecting and complementing

As an intermediary, the OA Switchboard brings transparency and simplicity, reducing administrative burden, while shared infrastructure and standards drive efficiency and cost reduction. We complement existing systems and drive interoperability, using a standard messaging protocol and  leveraging existing PIDs. We are committed to exploring collaboration with other mission-driven initiatives to keep overheads low and build on each others’ lessons learned and best practices.

We are pleased to share some exciting recent developments:

Engaging with the community

We have been actively sharing information this year about our developments and bringing in the experiences of our partners:

  • Attending physical events:

    • London Book Fair Research & Scholarly Publishing Forum. OA Switchboard takes part in the “Tech-decks” session

    • Come meet us and OA Switchboard participants at 2022 conferences. Just stop by at one of the stands!

      • UKSG, Telford (UK), 29-30 May 2022

      • Bibliotheks Kongress (Leipzig, Germany), 1-2 June 2022

  • Our own 2022 Webinars to present the OA Switchboard to the wider community:

    • Making reporting easy and increasing visibility of open access publication output – a how-to webinar from OA Switchboard publisher participants (April 2022). The recording of the webinar is available here.

    • Lessons Learned to Make Reporting Easy: source data, PIDs, interoperability and a simple messaging tool (March 2022). The recording is available here.

Roadmap

In 2021, five development iterations were delivered. The second year of our launch phase will build on the hard work of 2021 in terms of priorities and use cases. It’s no surprise that our overarching focus will continue to be on authoritative data from source, interoperability of existing systems and connecting the dots of existing PIDs. All, in our characteristic, well established, collaborative spirit.

In terms of ‘message types’, this is what we’re doing in 2022:

  • P1-messages (and reporting): enhance
    (‘improve the great basic solution we delivered in 2021’)

  • E1-E2 solution (‘eligibility’): further shape
    (‘collaborate with all stakeholders to address intellectual & technical & workflow challenges’)

  • New message types: introduce
    (with sponsors to fund the development: C1-C2 messages (pre-submission waiver/compliance check)


Read all about the development roadmap on our website.

Resources

Based on feedback and input from our community, we’ve developed some new tools and resources over the last couple of months to explain the concept of the OA Switchboard and to support our participants in using it. To name a few:

  • 1.5 minutes video animation: “A safe space for publication metadata”

  • 10 minutes instruction video: “How OA Switchboard uses smart matching enabled by the ROR API to identify author affiliations”

  • Quick reference card: “How to log in and download your Excel/JSON report”


These and more can be found from our resources page on our website.

Sustainable governance model

By design and law, the OA Switchboard is mission-driven and not-for-profit. It cannot be acquired by any commercial organisation and there are no members or shareholders. Governance is built in collectively, and equally between funders, institutions and publishers. Our Board meets 4 times a year and there is a rotation scheme in place to ensure continuity and diversity. In the latest round of change Stuart Taylor (Publishing Director, The Royal Society) joined the Board to represent publishers. The directors of the Board are responsible for the governance and the management of the foundation and are listed here. Our deed of incorporation and articles of association are available from the Chamber of Commerce in the Netherlands and our General Terms & Conditions are on our website.


In line with the principles, the following bodies have been created in 2021:​ Client Advisory Board; Advisory Group (2022 members here); Working Groups. The Message Structure Working Group channels community feedback and input and prepares updates to the standardised messaging protocol. The China Working Groups has focused on market research, whereby our extended video animation was translated into Chinese and discussed with various research institutions. With more and more diamond initiatives finding their way to OA Switchboard, the Working Group on the topic has decreased meeting frequency, as did the Working Group on OA Books as a result of the 2022 focus. ​​Our 'Generic Code' applies to each and every organisational body, meeting and initiative.

Sustainable funding model

The OA Switchboard operates on a self-sustaining economic/business model, whereby the operational and development costs are supported by service fees for participating funders, institutions and publishers. We charge fees for development and maintenance of the infrastructure, and for participants to exchange information and communicate. Our pricing is completely transparent and we keep fees as low as possible to offer an affordable solution.


We can keep OA Switchboard participants’ fees low, because we’re open source, tightly managed for costs, and the load is shared between  funders, institutions and publishers. Pricing for 2022 is here. The OA Switchboard has ensured sustainability and continuity - our financial surplus will build a healthy buffer, to invest in technical development and service improvement, and to lower prices.


It’s all about:

  • Trust: The independently managed, shared infrastructure provides a safe space for publication metadata, including author details (and their affiliations), research funding information, and publication licenses.

  • Collaboration: The standardised protocol allows for the transparent exchange of data about open access publications, designed to operate and integrate with all stakeholder systems.

  • Efficiency: It eases the administrative burden of maintaining many-to-many relationships, and managing open access compliance. It also reduces the sheer volume of manual information exchange.

Join us, we're live!

We are very excited to invite new partners to join us.  The central information exchange hub grows stronger with every participant, becoming a better tool for all.      

Contact us today to understand how joining the OA Switchboard can both serve your organisation and drive open access.