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SCELC & OAPEN Pilot Project

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How many libraries can participate in the OAPEN ebooks pilot project?
    Up to 10 “profiles” can participate in this pilot project. Each profile would have its own curated feed and usage statistics. If 10 institutions participate in this pilot project, each would get its own profile. If more than 10 institutions wish to participate, then similar institutions might be grouped into a single profile so all can have access, but they would share the same curated feed and usage statistics (which would be differentiated by IP address so they could be filtered by institution).
  2. What is the cost for participating libraries?
    For the initial year of the pilot project, all costs would be covered by a SCELC Project Initiatives Fund (SPIF) grant, at no cost to the participating libraries.
  3. What is OAPEN?
    OAPEN (Open Access Publishing in European Networks), a not-for-profit organisation based in the Netherlands, is dedicated to open access, peer-reviewed books. Although OAPEN is European in name, its focus is global, and it works with publishers from around the world to host over 15,000 books and chapters in 55 languages.

    OAPEN is an OA eBook platform that focuses on scholarly works and allows for integration into library platforms and discovery tools. OAPEN recognizes that while open access materials are free to find and use, they are rarely discoverable from traditional library platforms (i.e. catalogs and discovery systems). OAPEN aims to change this by working with reputable academic publishers and libraries to make these materials available under open licenses and discoverable to library patrons.
  4. What is the timeline for the pilot project?
    Participating institutions will be able to indicate their interest in March-April 2021. The process of creating profiles, developing specifications, and making sure libraries' implementations go smoothly is complete will likely take 2-3 months after that. Once that is completed, the pilot project will last for one year. Please see the Timelines & Due Dates page for more information.
  5. What is the purpose of the OAPEN ebook pilot project?
    SCELC member libraries plan to partner with OAPEN in a yearlong pilot project as a collaborative effort to amplify the usage of open access (OA) resources. This project will enable institutions to include OAPEN ebook records in their discovery tools and will include usage statistics that can be used to gauge the return on membership investment with OAPEN. SCELC libraries that are interested in participating in the pilot will need to work with their library departments to coordinate access; after the pilot, the outcome assessment will factor into the recommendation to either continue or discontinue the OAPEN membership.
  6. If the outcome assessment leads to a decision to discontinue the OAPEN membership, will institutions be able to keep the ebooks in their discovery tools?
    Yes. Regardless of the final decision, participating libraries will be able to keep the books in their discovery tools.
  7. What are some of the benefits of the OAPEN library membership program?
    • A deposit service consisting of an institutional uploading service for OA books by researchers from the institution, thereby making OA books from the institution available through the OAPEN Library. OAPEN members can make use of this service at no extra charge
    • Customized feeds, integrating OAPEN’s collections and metadata in MARC 21, MARC XML, KBART or other formats, enhanced with ISBN numbers of other (non-OA) editions
    • Usage reports
    • General reports (OA book publishers and models, licensing, policies, projects, and the growth of publications and usage)
    • Exposure from being listed on OAPEN’s website and in newsletters
  8. What are the responsibilities of participating institutions?
    Participating libraries would need to get buy-in from their staff to perform the following tasks:
    • Uploading records and ensuring accessibility
    • Marketing availability to their patrons
    • Assessing usage and long term viability
  9. What factors are considered to build a curated feed?
    Curated feeds can be based on subject, such as the arts, religion, medicine and health, and law. They could also be curated based on language.
  10. What format would the ebook records be in?
    The curated feeds would be in the format of MARC21, MARCXML, and KBART, with new items updated monthly.
  11. What sort of statistical reports would be available?
    COUNTER4, Book Report 1, and Book Report 2 stats via IPs would be downloaded from OAPEN’s dashboard per institution/profile. Additional analysis and observations from the working group and participants would be aggregated into reports and distributed quarterly, based on the project timeline.
  12. What factors would be evaluated as part of the outcome assessment plan?
    SCELC’s continuing support of OAPEN may not solely depend on a strict cost benefit analysis of its members’ eBook usage. Rather, OAPEN’s nonprofit Open Access mission and purpose, in addition to its eBooks, may in aggregate fulfill certain aspects of SCELC’s strategic plan. However, the working group would consider the following information and data as well:
    • Key indicators per participating institution/profile:
      • Technical feasibility and reliability
      • Content and subject relevancy and currency
      • Usage trends based on COUNTER 4 reports
      • Relative demand: Ratio of requests per number of eBooks in a collection: OAPEN vs. eBook collection w/ high and low usage
    • Key indicators for a consortial project:
      • Basic “cost” per eBook based on annual consortium fee
      • Comparative “cost” to other eBook resources
      • “Cost” per use
      • Cost to the individual institutions and corresponding administration by SCELC
  13. Is there a landing page for all OAPEN ebooks? / Are the OAPEN ebooks searchable as a distinct collection, similar to the DOAJ?

    OAPEN’s books are searchable on their website at

  14. When will we have access to the OAPEN ebooks?
    Technically everyone has access to the ebooks now if they go to This project is about improving discoverability through MARC/KBART records in OPACs, gaining access to user metrics, and customized subject feeds, but the materials are there and available for anyone to use already. Please see the Timeline page of this guide for more information on the timeline of this project.

  15. What is the lending policy for OAPEN ebooks?
    Since the books are all open access and most have Creative Commons licenses, lending isn’t a concern – you can just point any user who wants a book to the URL and they’d be able to get it. Thus there is no need for a separate policy.