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Blog postOA Switchboard Updates Core Router

OA Switchboard updates core router to deliver more relevant information to consortia

Consortia participants now also receive, for their member institutions, alerts and metadata on publications from non-corresponding authors and in case of non-primary affiliations

21 February 2023 by Yvonne Campfens, Executive Director OA Switchboard

In our efforts to simplify the sharing of information between stakeholders about Open Access publications throughout the whole publication journey, we currently support two use cases: 1. Reporting Made Easy; and, 2. Matching Publication Costs with Publication Funds. In order to get the right information in front of the right recipient for both data analysis and workflow & decision support, the first topic on our 2023 development roadmap is an update to our router functionality.

More and more consortia are joining OA Switchboard

For research institutions, libraries and consortia who want to connect with their research and simplify their workflows, OA Switchboard enables solutions. More are joining as participants under a (national) arrangement that allows their member institutions to also get their own account. In recent weeks we have been very pleased to welcome Germany, Norway, Sweden, and to see Jisc (UK) extend their agreement for another three years.

Publishers and research funders actively collaborate within the community

The other primary stakeholder groups OA Switchboard offers solutions for are publishers and research funders. Together they form a community of like-minded spirits who believe in incremental improvement, where sharing best practices and lessons learned is an integral part of the initiative. In our October 2022 webinar on Collaborating to Unlock the Power of PIDs we reported on a joint research project with Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) and several publishers, that was instrumental in understanding the underlying requirements of the OA Switchboard router. Further details and the recommendations of this project can be found here.

What is this Core Router Update release all about?

On the first working day of 2023, we shared our plans for the coming year. Building on the successes and lessons learned from 2022, we reconfirmed that our overarching focus will continue to be on:  authoritative data from source; interoperability of existing systems; and, connecting the dots of existing PIDs.

With this in mind, our first development iteration of 2023 involves a core router update, which is built on feedback from our participants.

Research institutions asked us to further develop the existing ‘auto-cc’ feature, that delivers alerts and metadata on publications from non-corresponding authors via a P1-PIO message (Public Information Only). What is now added, with today’s release, is the feature to also deliver these alerts and metadata in case of non-primary affiliations. This means that if an author has more than one affiliation in the version of record, and the institution is not the first affiliation listed, they now also receive a copy of the P1-PIO message.

Consortia asked us to extend the existing consortia routing, to receive P1-PIO versions of all messages sent to their members. This is now implemented with this release and it includes the additional messages sent due to the upgraded auto-cc feature described above.

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Publisher participants asked us to improve the ability to track messages they sent, especially if copies of messages are delivered to more participants than the initial ‘send-to’. With this release, we introduce sender push notifications and a group id for all messages routed from a first P1-message. Publishers can now keep track of all messages sent in their name, including the ones via auto-cc and consortia routing. 


Another major update as part of this release is support for multiple destinations for one participant. Recipients of P1-messages asked us for the option to have their message notifications pushed directly into multiple systems, such as their own backend systems or databases, but also vendor solutions (so-called ‘delegate’ systems). Research funders, institutions and consortia can now, in their configuration, indicate more than one destination for P1-messages.


With this major update to the core router of the OA Switchboard, we have also added more information about the routing to the message header, so the recipients have more insight as to why a certain message was sent and delivered to them.


Together with our users, we have made Reporting Made Easy even better!

Tutorials and resources are available to further describe the working of the OA Switchboard router.

A bit of context and history

We’ve written about this before in our blog posts:

Dealing with Open Access publications, where there are multiple authors, affiliated institutions, research funders, business models, policies, mandates, requirements and agreements involved, is complex and administratively burdensome. Funders, institutions and publishers are faced with a myriad of systems, portals and processes when dealing with Open Access publication-level arrangements. This hampers the transition to Open Access, the realisation of policies and agreements, and progress in developing new business models. From a researcher perspective, this landscape is at best confusing and at worst impenetrable.

These challenges are in no way unique to the open access publishing landscape and are in fact relatively common in marketplaces that have an increasingly complex web of interactions between buyers and sellers (see OA Switchboard introductory blog, 2019). The introduction of a central intermediary is often the easiest way to reduce complexity on all sides, but a payment component doesn’t come without challenges and risks. If one leaves out the payment component, there is still complexity around information and data exchange in our ecosystem. Other industries have already tackled similar problems successfully a long time ago. (Think of SWIFT, the global financial messaging service: they have developed a common language across banks worldwide, serving their community for over 40 years now). The inspiration for the OA Switchboard has come also from examples of community-governed scholarly infrastructure (such as Crossref), which have successfully brought together a large and diverse community of stakeholders to address complex challenges.

​In essence, the OA Switchboard is an independent intermediary, connecting parties and systems, streamlining communication and the neutral exchange of OA related publication-level information, and ensuring a financial settlement can be done. It is a tool to exchange structured (standardised) information about scholarly publications, without serving as an intermediary for any payments that may be associated with these publications. It enables stakeholders to send and receive a defined set of messages relating to the publication of open access research outputs, get them validated and routed to the correct recipient in the way they want to receive them. 

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