Pathfinder update January 2016

Since our last update in September 2015 the GW4 pathfinder group have been busy planning and running an APC payment management workshop and investigating APC issues in report management, offsetting deals and the development of the APC market and prepayment agreements.

The workshop, APC Payment Management: In Practice and Good Practice, was a friendly meeting of publishers, institutional OA and Jisc staff which enabled users to view issues from both sides and thus provided valuable insights for attendees. The value of mutual learning across OA teams, librarians and publishers was evident; attendees found they gained useful information or ideas from the presentations and subsequent discussions. Potential areas for assistance, new initiatives and collaborative working were identified in licencing, verification, publisher reports, Jisc Monitor, process automation and metadata.

Other work included Finlay Jones, our Exeter colleague, publishing a review of implementing offsetting deals at the GW4 institutions comparing deals with the Jisc Principles for Offsetting and identifying practical issues with implementation. He identified and commented on models which increase administration and complexity and those which are simpler to implement.

The transfer of the APC data records of two of the GW4 Pathfinder institutions, Bristol and Exeter, between Access and Excel but in opposite directions gave an opportunity to understand the benefits and disadvantages of the two systems and the motivations for change.

Discussions in the literature on the effectiveness of the APC market and the influence of pre-payment agreements led to a survey and analysis of the issues surrounding pre-payment models. These demonstrate that characteristics of the dysfunctional journal subscription market can also be ascribed to the APC market and to pre-payment agreements suggesting action is needed to ensure a competitive APC market develops. The main influencers are universities and funding agencies; a range of mechanisms to effect change were suggested by authors but whether these actions will have the desired effect is uncertain.

In 2016 we will be working on improving our processes in collaboration with other institutional services, investigating voucher systems and summarising our work in a final report.



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