Open Access makes research results freely available to all, and the Open Access transformation is progressing steadily. Many stakeholders are involved in this process: Researchers, academic institutions including libraries, research funders, and publishers.
The OA Switchboard provides a central interface for the rapid standardized exchange of information and messages between universities, universities of applied sciences or research institutions on the one hand and publishers or research funders on the other hand. It was developed to improve communication about submitted and published articles by transmitting relevant metadata about each article in a timely manner and in a standardized data format. In this way, the OA Switchboard can support institutions such as libraries or universities in the necessary documentation of Open Access publications by their own researchers.
The three specialised German National Libraries, TIB – Leibniz Information Centre for Science and Technology, ZB MED – Information Centre for Life Sciences and ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics are jointly funding access to the OA Switchboard for universities and research institutions throughout Germany for a two-year pilot phase covering 2023 and 2024.
”The idea for the OA Switchboard was born in 2018 by a group of diverse stakeholders in response to common challenges, such as the requirements to implement OA policies from institutions and research funders, or the increasingly complex (transformative) agreements between publishers and institutions,” said Yvonne Campfens, director of OA Switchboard. ”We are very pleased that through this national agreement, German institutions now have the opportunity to use this '´metadata communication system' and be part of the OA Switchboard initiative,” she continued.
“In a research communication system based on Open Access, the collection and analysis of trusted publication information is critical for scholarly institutions and libraries. At TIB we have been negotiating contracts for consortia – and increasingly Open Access agreements – for many years, and we value the services offered by OA Switchboard because they enable the smooth exchange of data between publishers and institutions,” explained Dr. Irina Sens, Deputy Director of TIB.
Prof. Dr. Dietrich Rebholz-Schuhmann, Scientific Director of ZB MED, is pleased to be able to make the services available free of charge to the life sciences communities with a strong publication track record: ”OA Switchboard is a very helpful and future-oriented open source tool that significantly increases the benefits of Open Access for all parties involved - be they research institutions or libraries, authors or publishers. With it, we are also expanding on our own offerings around Open Access, for example our publication platform PUBLISSO.”
Olaf Siegert, Open Access Officer at ZBW, is convinced of the initiative's benefits for scientific institutions: ”As part of the Open Access transformation, processes between all parties involved must be reorganized and, where possible, automated and simplified. We see OA Switchboard with its non-profit approach as a step forward, especially for the exchange of information between publishers and research institutions. Therefore, we support the effort to make this tool available to German research institutions and their libraries without financial barriers.”
German universities and research institutions interested in free access to OA Switchboard can contact supportoaswitchboardorg (in English).