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SCELC & OAPEN Pilot Project

Implementation & Outcome Assessment Plan


Selection of Participants

Based on the SCELC Open Access EBook Project Minisurvey conducted in 2018, 98% of institutions who took the survey (43 out of 44 respondents--de-duplicated by institution) expressed interest in incorporating curated and scholarly OA books into their library discovery tools.

Given that a preponderance of the SCELC membership is characterized by small FTEs, to gather significant usage stats would rely on a substantial number of participants in the pilot. Rather than obtaining usage statistics based on individual libraries, we proposed that usage statistics would be based on profiles, such that participating libraries with similar profiles could be grouped together. However, usage statistics will contain IP addresses for additional differentiation by institution. OAPEN has a preliminary estimate of 10 libraries or profiles for a project of this size and budget.

Thus, we foresee anywhere up to the 43 libraries surveyed to participate in the pilot, provided that they understand the processes involved. Libraries that wish to participate in the pilot are to get buy-in from their staff, as they would need internal coordination in order to make the eBooks available to their patrons and provide feedback back to the pilot project. Libraries should anticipate engaging in the following processes at their individual sites:

1) Uploading records and ensuring accessibility

2) Marketing availability to their patrons

3) Assessing usage and long term viability

Although the continuation of benefits such as usage statistics is dependent on the renewal of support from SCELC after the pilot, libraries may keep the OA books in their discovery tools indefinitely.


Selection/Curation of Record Feeds

 A repeated theme from the SCELC libraries surveyed was the importance of curation. Adding OA books to a library system is a non-trivial task. In addition, some libraries with focuses in law or health would need to make sure the added materials contain matters relevant to their institutions. Thus, the pilot must be able to provide libraries with relevant feeds applicable to their needs. 

An investigation of OAPEN’s website indicated the books are already categorized into subjects that should be transferable to curated books. For example, under the SCELC Institution Carnegie and FTE report is a listing of Special Focus libraries, which could map to the following OAPEN subjects:



Aside from curated book feeds based on subject, an additional consideration would be the language of the material.  Although the majority of books are in English, there are a significant number of items in other languages. Given the profile of SCELC member libraries, the books likely to incur maximum utility for this pilot project would possibly be those in English and Spanish.

Each of the 10 estimated profiles would have its own curated feed. The curated feeds would be in the format of MARC21,  MARCXML and KBART, with new items updated monthly.


Support Process and Documentation

A Google Groups mailing list would be set up for communications and support for those participating in the pilot. A point person or persons from each library would subscribe to read and ask questions in the mailing list. However, to avoid repetition and provide immediate guidance, a LibGuides for project documentation and FAQs would be setup as a point of reference. An OAPEN representative would be encouraged to either observe or participate in mailing list discussions so that they may assess the efficacy and usability of their new platform.


Marketing of Resource

Each individual library can have varying objectives and strategies when it comes to the incorporation of OA books into their collection. To see whether this particular resource would actually be useful such that it should be adopted as a permanent resource in SCELC libraries, patrons would need to know that it exists as a resource. Thus, participating libraries would need to market this resource once it is available in their discovery tools. Methods may include:

·   Announcing items/resource in social media posts

·   Adding items/resource to new book/database lists

·   Incorporating items/resource into subject guides

·   Introducing items/resource to existing OER initiatives

Participating libraries should engage in one or more of such strategies to introduce and engage their patrons in this resource. Such efforts would enable this pilot project to determine whether there is a real need being met.


Usage Statistics & Reports

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.


Outcome Assessment Plan

To assess the outcome of the pilot project and whether SCELC support should continue, several factors would be evaluated, some at the institutional/profile level and some at the project level. The referenced factors are taken from IFLA’s Key Issues for E-Resource Collection Development: A Guide for Libraries.

Key indicators per participating institution/profile:

  1. Technical feasibility and reliability

  2. Content and subject relevancy and currency

  3. Usage reports.

  4. 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:

  1. Basic “cost” per eBook based on annual consortium fee

  2. Comparative “cost” to other eBook resources

  3. “Cost” per use

  4. Cost to the individual institutions and corresponding administration by SCELC


Worksheets with instructions would be given to institutions to gather data. For indicators that involve usage statistics (usage trends & relative demand), the working group would analyze the data using profile statistics if institutional disaggregation is not possible under the structure of the pilot.

Given the monetary support would be coming from the consortium rather than individual institutions, the cost aspect would have to be analyzed on the project level. 

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. An investment now may lead to a more favorable result later. However, the pilot project and the indicators from the outcome assessment plan would enable the Open Access Consortial Projects (OACP) Subcommittee to take the various factors into account before recommending the continuation or non-continuation of the project to the Scholarly Communications Committee (SCC) and the SCELC Executive Director.