The Open Repositories Conference 2024 with the theme “Empowering Global Progress” will take place from June 3 to 6, 2023 in Gothenburg, Sweden. The openCost project will contribute three presentations to this year’s program.


Key information

Title: „Repositories as a Corner Stone of Publication Cost Transparency: XML, OAI-PMH and all that“
Session: Developer Track Session 1
Date: June 4 2024, 11 am – 12:30 pm
Location: Drottningporten 2

With the rise of Gold Open Access publishing in “author pays” models a new kind of metadata gains importance: costs directly associated with publications. Adding so-called transformative agreements as well as scholarly led Open Access to the mix further increases their importance, as cost transparency must be a guiding principle for sustainability.

Repositories provide high quality metadata in various formats via established interfaces. Enhancing these metadata by cost data thus makes them a potential corner stone to achieve the desired transparency. Therefore, the project openCost developed, together with the community, a XML schema to model cost data both for individual articles and, most recently, to handle contracts.

We give an in-depth view of the openCost schema, demonstrate real world implementations, and provide some glimpses on an associated workflow to collect the data. This will enable developers to gain an understanding of the requirements for adding openCost compatibility to existing repository systems.

The openCost partner University of Bielefeld already implemented harvesting of the openCost format via OAI-PMH for their own, openly available aggregator platform OpenAPC. Their openly available metadata store allows a wide variety of analyses and thus showcases the strength of the openCost approach.

The presentation emphasizes the need for comprehensive metadata about an institution’s publication output, suggesting that cost data should also be seamlessly integrated into institutional repositories. Since all bibliographic, technical, legal and administrative metadata is already stored in repositories, these seem to be the logical place to also store information on publication costs.

The openCost project introduces a standardized metadata schema developed in collaboration with libraries and international experts on publication costs. This schema contains metadata on payments and contracts related to publication, enabling the identification of hidden costs and providing a detailed breakdown of publication costs. The use of well-connected interfaces such as OAI-PMH enables efficient data exchange and harvesting by service providers. This approach not only increases the transparency of publication costs, but also promotes cross-institutional comparisons at national and international level, benefiting both the institutions involved and the funders.

The talk highlights the importance of repositories in the Open Access publishing landscape and addresses the transparency challenges associated with diverse payment models. The authors propose a solution through the openCost project, introducing a new “contract” record type with a dedicated metadata schema in repositories. This schema includes cost data and unique identifiers, allowing for the direct linkage of publications to specific contracts. The approach provides a means to transparently track the financial aspects of publishing, offering insights into expenditures for Open Access. By referencing contracts in the metadata, the system accommodates large transformative agreements, enabling a comprehensive overview of costs related to publications at a national and institutional level. This enhancement ensures financial transparency when all data is shared under a free license, contributing to a better understanding of the transformation process in scholarly publishing.