Career Center | Print Page | Sign In | Register
News & Press: General Announcements

BISG Releases Draft White Paper on Open Access Ebook Usage

Monday, November 5, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Brian O'Leary

New York, NY (November 5, 2018) – The Book Industry Study Group (BISG) today announced the release of a draft white paper,Building a Trusted Framework for Coordinating OA Monograph Usage Data”. Prepared by KU Research, the paper will inform a 27-person summit that takes place in New York on December 3 and 4.

 The project team is also sending the draft white paper to a wide range of interested parties active in the open-access (OA) community. The paper is accompanied by a nine-question survey that will allow the team to gather cross-sector perspectives on the challenges and opportunities in OA publishing. The survey can be accessed at

As its central recommendation, the white paper recommends establishing a “data trust” to help manage and better understand open access ebook usage. Both the survey and the planned summit in New York will explore how a data trust might work and the benefits it can provide in better understanding OA ebook usage.

Earlier this year, BISG announced plans to collaborate with KU Research and researchers from the universities of Michigan and North Texas to convene a structured community conversation focused on improving usage and engagement tracking for open access (OA) ebooks. With the generous support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the one-year project runs from June 1, 2018, to May 31, 2019.

It is often said that an OA publication will be more often downloaded, used, and cited than a comparable restricted-access title. Publishers need to demonstrate such impact to receive support for their open access programs, funders look for usage data to demonstrate return on their investments, and authors are eager to show evidence of additional reach and influence for their work. Because of differences in the supply chain, however, information about the impact of academic ebooks, especially OA books, is much more difficult to gather, analyze, and communicate than comparable information about electronic journals.

This funded project is designed to identify the challenges in understanding the usage of OA ebooks, suggest some opportunities for resolving them, and create a framework for future action through community consultation. It focuses on the challenges of identifying and aggregating relevant information from different platforms, analyzing what has been gathered in ways that respect user privacy, and communicating relevant information about usage to stakeholders.

As well as looking at usage metrics, the research explores indicators of engagement such as altmetrics. The draft white paper connects strands of research currently being conducted separately in the United States and Europe, by both for-profit and non-profit entities. Following the conclusion of this research project, BISG will publish a final white paper of findings and propose a pathway for future action.

The principal investigators are Charles Watkinson (University of Michigan), Kevin Hawkins (University of North Texas), Lucy Montgomery (KU Research), and Brian O’Leary (BISG). Katherine Skinner (Educopia Institute) will act as a professional facilitator for the convening. Further information about the project can be found here:


BISG ( works to create a more informed, empowered and efficient book industry. Its broad membership includes scholarly, trade, education, and professional, as well as distributors, wholesalers, retailers, manufacturers, service providers, and libraries.

KU Research ( is a team of researchers and publishing industry practitioners working together to help realize the possibilities of digital technology and OA for specialist scholarly books and the communities that care about them.

For more information, contact Brian O'Leary: (email), (646) 336-7141 (work phone), or (973) 985-9880 (cell phone).


232 Madison Avenue, Suite 1400
New York, NY 10016
Phone: 646-336-7141 |