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Open Publishing Case Studies released

A set of open publishing case studies supported by Australian university libraries has been released.

The Libraries and Open Publishing Case Studies Project forms part of the Advancing Open Scholarship (FAIR) program as part of the Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) 2020-2022 Strategic Plan.

Case studies were selected via a scoping activity that utilised Open Access Australasia’s curated Directory of Open Access initiatives in Australasia Directories (oaaustralasia.org). The Directory is a curated list of open access initiatives across Australasian institutions and is comprised mainly of higher education institutions, but also includes research organisations and associations.

Each case study describes the work of the featured institution, identifies critical success factors and sustainability issues and provides evidence of impact via a researcher’s perspective of using the publishing initiative.  The researcher’s impact narratives discuss the benefits of using these various publishing initiatives to improve research impact.  Making their research accessible to those relevant organisations outside of the usual academic environment ultimately improves not only their own professional visibility, but most importantly the value of their research.

The five case studies selected are:

Key themes around challenges and sustainability were consistent across each case study:

  1. Resourcing and staffing is a challenge for initiatives, particularly in a time of institutional flux and change across the higher education sector.  As well, loss of institutional knowledge and skills, particularly in terms of the staff supporting IT and software, has a significant impact.
  2. The economic impact on sustaining initiatives remains a key area of focus for some initiatives.  Initiatives are constantly exploring opportunities for collaboration or partnerships that might improve or elevate the profile of these initiatives.
  3. Raising awareness of the benefits of these initiatives is ongoing and there are opportunities to alter existing perceptions of open publishing initiatives. While the benefits of open publishing may be obvious to library staff and those involved directly in OA publishing, recognition of these benefits at other levels of university management is still lacking. 

An easy-to-use case study format was developed to provide a template for other practitioners who may wish to include their own institutional publishing initiatives in this preliminary group in the future. The project team acknowledges that there are multiple good practice publishing initiatives across Australasia and hope other institutions will provide case studies for this collection to share with the sector.

The project team thanks Professor Ginny Barbour who acted as the team’s critical friend and reviewed the case studies. As well, we acknowledge the ongoing assistance and guidance from Kate Davis Director, Strategy & Analytics (CAUL) and Catherine Clark, who at the time of this project was the Advancing Open Scholarship Program Director (CAUL). Thanks also to Cicy Zheng, CAUL’s Engagement and Administration Officer.

Project team: Tracy Creagh, Queensland University of Technology; Jayshree Mamtora, James Cook University; Aliese Millington, Flinders University; Loretta S. Khanna, University of New England; Helen Slaney, La Trobe University; Lucy Walton, Western Sydney University