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Alternative Funding Mechanism Workshop for APC-free Open Access journals (Dec 19th, KB, The Hague)

The Alternative Funding Mechanism for APC-free Open Access journals and platforms is a parallel workline being implemented under the EC FP7 Post-Grant Open Access Pilot as a means to provide a balance to the standard workflow for funding Article and Book Processing Charges for publications arising from finished FP7 projects. This alt-funding mechanism aims to support the technical strengthening of such APC-free OA journals as a means to make them more reliable and better quality venues for publishing. One of the main goals of the initiative – besides fostering collaboration across funded projects – is to define a default set of technical features for this kind of journals to become more solid. The outcome of this alt-funding initiative will then be a loose roadmap towards the development of a more advanced, more harmonised landscape for APC-free OA publishing.

The list of 11 bids selected for funding under this alt-funding mechanism was released on Aug 1st. Four and a half months later, one of the goals of the Dec 19th workshop for funded bids under this alt-funding initiative was to assess the progress in the implementation of the work plans.

The event featured a series of presentations where funded bids reported on the areas they’re working on and on the progress achieved thus far in the implementation of the technical improvement plans that were submitted for funding last summer. Aware of the significant overlapping in work areas across bids, a strong emphasis was placed on the discussion among teams working on the implementation of specific features such as:
  • OJS upgrade. Most funded bids use PKP Open Journal System, and several of the funded improvement plans include an upgrade or a migration to such system. The session offered the chance to discuss the features of OJS 3 vs lower versions, the issues related to the upgrading and the development and implementation of plugins for specific functionality.
  • OpenAIRE compliance for OA journals. Most funded journals and platforms are already OpenAIRE compliant, but new opportunities arise for a more comprehensive information exchange with OpenAIRE as metadata sets increase their complexity. Areas like the coding of national-level funding information or the exchanging of ORCID identifiers at metadata level with OpenAIRE are very much under development at the moment, and the session, which also featured a presentation by the OpenAIRE project, offered a chance to discuss such improvements.
  • Inclusion of funder information at metadata level, also retrospectively. This is a critical area that has been insufficiently implemented so far, with most platforms lacking detailed funding information as a result. In the last few years OpenAIRE has systematically promoted the inclusion of European project information at metadata level in a simple way by collaborating with system providers for journals and repositories, and this is the easiest first step to implement, with an eye on the arising possibilities for also coding national-level funding info.
  • ORCID implementation. Higher versions of OJS already include authentication, registration and export features for ORCID iDs which several of the funded bids are implementing. This task is included in nearly every funded technical improvement plan in the pool, with a range of systems involved beyond OJS. As a result, the strategies for ORCID implementation across bids are diverse. The discussion held at the session included a suggestion to also look into the impact of such strategies in terms of ORCID uptake in author communities.
  • Production of JATS-XML files for articles. This specific improvement was the most effectively discussed in the meeting. Attendees looked into strategies for persuading scholarly publishers to implement such feature which they often see as time-consuming and of little value, and the discussion subsequently moved onto the technical procedures for the production of such files. Funded bids are exploring a range of approaches to this, from outsourcing the production of the files to asking their journal editors to generate them themselves plus an exploration of the available tools for offering this service at journal platform management level. Prices were discussed together with the impact of working in different languages and the relevance of this workline for a more effective information exchange process with OpenAIRE. Having Ubiquity Press in the room – see presentation – was particularly useful when discussing this working area within a very fruitful conversation around technical features that they already offer as part of their service.
  • Sharing of article-level information with the DOAJ. Again an area that several of the funded bids are working on and which the session provided interesting opportunities to discuss in terms of its technical implementation, including areas like the handling of multilingual metadata.
  • Anti-plagiarism software. While this is not a technical improvement that this alt-funding mechanism is supporting for any of the bids, several of the funded platforms are already running such a feature, which was discussed as a means of raising the quality of the publications. Several systems and mechanisms currently available were discussed and there were also suggestions to try to promote this anti-plagiarism checking as a mainstream feature for APC-free OA journals.
Besides these areas with significant overlapping across funded bids, a long tail of features being implemented by single bids was also presented including usage monitoring tools, visualization features or the inclusion of data citation in the article metadata.

A mid-term progress assessment has been carried out for all funded bids in the following days after the workshop, which has been positive for most of them. Work on the technical improvements enters now its second half, with a much stronger connection across bids and enhanced opportunities for collaboration among them.

List of presentations delivered at the event
Antti-Jussi Nygård, Scientific Journals Online - Federation of Finnish Learned Societies
Dimitris Efstathiou, EKT ePublishing - National Documentation Centre/National Hellenic Research Foundation
Drazenko Celjak, Hrčak - University of Zagreb Computing Centre (SRCE)
Biljana Kosanović, SCIndeks: The Serbian Citation Index - Centre for Evaluation in Education and Science (CEON)
Inés Gil-Jaurena, Open Praxis - International Council for Open and Distance Education
Frédéric Dubois, Internet Policy Review - Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society
László Molnár, Information Bulletin on Variable Stars - Konkoly Observatory
Laura Morvai, Hungarian Educational Research Journal (HERJ) - University of Debrecen

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23 Sep 2021

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