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BISG Releases White Paper on Open Access Ebook Usage

Sunday, May 5, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Brian O'Leary

The Book Industry Study Group (BISG) has published a white paper on “Exploring Open Access Ebook Usage”. The paper, co-authored by Brian O’Leary (BISG) and Kevin Hawkins (University of North Texas), is the product of an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded project, “Understanding Open Access Ebook Usage: Toward A Common Framework.”

The white paper summarizes current practices in tracking usage of open-access (OA) monographs, whose stakeholders include authors, publishers, funders, vendors, libraries, and readers. To serve the needs of this wide-ranging set of stakeholders, the paper recommends establishing a “data trust” to help manage and understand OA ebook usage.

The paper also recommends further work to:

  1. Define the governance and architecture of the data trust
  2. Create a pilot service that implements the defined governance and architecture
  3. Use relevant open-source technologies that support open OA usage tracking
  4. Develop personas and use cases that demonstrates who benefits from OA usage data
  5. Build engagement across multiple markets
  6. Better document the supply chain for OA monographs

Reflecting on the findings and recommendations contained in the white paper, Charles Watkinson (University of Michigan) noted, “The open access monograph landscape is characterized by a number of features that make a community approach to managing data both feasible and necessary. Stakeholders face challenges identifying and aggregating relevant usage information. Properly designed and implemented, a data trust can address those challenges for the community as a whole.”

For the project, the principal investigators are Charles Watkinson (University of Michigan), Kevin Hawkins (University of North Texas), Lucy Montgomery (Curtin University/KU Research), Cameron Neylon (Curtin University/KU Research), and Brian O’Leary (BISG). Katherine Skinner (Educopia Institute) facilitated a convening in December 2018. The white paper is available as a downloadable PDF at It can also be downloaded from the BISG web site.


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