ebooks.lu – a digital offer for public libraries
In 2015, the Conseil Supérieur des Bibliothèques Publiques (CSBP) tasked the Consortium department to propose a new consortial structure to bring ebooks to public libraries (literature and non-fiction). In mid-2015, the ebooks.lu service was launched as a two-year pilot project and has since become a stable self-financing consortium of 12 public libraries, including the National Library. Its innovative feature is the integration of a multi-lingual offer of about 150.000 ebooks from several vendors, whereas most public libraries outside Luxembourg only use one (often single-language) vendor. ebooks.lu is trilingual promotion site and contains extensive user guides for accessing ebooks with copy-protection. It won the “Best Marketing strategy 2016” award (Agency: Plan K). All ebooks are integrated into the a-z.lu discovery tool of the National Library and are available through single-sign-on with existing library cards from the bibnet.lu network.
bibgov.lu – Bibliothèque gouvernementale numérique
In 2017, the former governmental library was reborn as a digital service through the initiative of the Ministère de la Fonction publique (MFP). The National Library’s Consortium department and IT services set up a service that offers legal databases, journals and reference works for the documentation and ongoing training of public employees. A novel feature is the login process, which is managed through the government computing center’s (CTIE) identity management system, including remote access to the library with eID, Luxtrust secure tokens and mobile app OTP. More on the bibgov.lu page.
Transition to Open Access/Open Science
In 2016, an in-depth report on Open Access infrastructures and impact on services was written by the Consortium department. Based on this report, priorities were set together with research stakeholders and a pilot project on “Monitoring the Open Access Transition” was undertaken in 2017.
The pilot project resulted in a new plan for a data-driven transition towards Open Access. In our view, the consortial management of the Open Access transition should be policy agnostic and focus on financial aspects of our members relations to publishers. Therefore the first actions are not policy or advocacy, but data collection and analytics. Complete data on the total spent towards publishers, including for-fee open access publishing and any other publishing charges are defined as key drivers for a pro-active, successful transition.
Three strands of enquiry were launched.
The first aimed to enhance the existing subscription management tool (ConsortiaManager) with publishing related (article-level) bibliographic and cost data. The first results were presented in March 2018 at the ER&L conference in Austin, Texas. In late 2019, a new “Research Output Module” was publicly launched at ICOLC and is now in productive use at Consortium Luxembourg. The new module allows incremental addition of data and modelling of transformative agreements, publisher by publisher. Further value data will be added, such as citation analysis and usage stats, to have a complete negotiation support tool.
The second project explores centralised payments for publishing costs (such as open access fees for articles). This may result in lifecycle management of publications as an additional service, so that the Consortium can seamlessly integrate the “Read” (formerly subscriptions) and “Publish” (Open Access fees) aspects of Open Science. The Consortium department has been able to win the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) as a partner for this second project, together with another start-up, Chronos. During the first half of 2020 we will assess together the feasibility to manage the Open Access reimbursement fund of FNR via Chronos, saving time and effort for grantees. If successful, this service may be offered as a consortial service to other research organisations.
A third strand of work around usage statistics started in 2018. For a number of use cases, such as cost-control, finegrained analytics and quality control of publisher provided statistics, better data was required. Initial thoughts converged in a working document called “New Metrics” (draft v1.3, updated march 2019). A successful proof-of-concept was run in-house together with IT from the National Library in early 2019, using the ezPAARSE software (it parses proxy server logs into lists of access events and identifies articles). A collaboration with INIST-CNRS and Couperin was formalised and resulted in a hosted beta implementation of a new toolkit consisting of ezMESURE (Elastic-Kibana) and ezPAARSE, enriched with CrossRef and Unpaywall data. In analogy to the original “New Metrics” proposal, the toolkit will be called readMETRICS (formerly: ezMETRICS) and launched for free for the community in October 2020. A 30 min webinar recording on readMETRICS explains its technical aspects (first half, by Thomas Porquet from Couperin.org) and value metrics and use cases (second half, by Patrick Peiffer from consortium.lu).
The combined data of these projects will enable us to formulate a pro-active open access transition and monitoring plan. The main goal is to offer better value and predictable cost allocation for consortial members and a sustainable transition for publishers. A lot of effort went into creating statistical and value data that is not subject to the licence and pricing confidentiality imposed by incumbent publishers. This will allow us to communicate pro-actively and publicly about the obstacles of the transition to Open Access/Science. The opening of scientific publishing also holds great promise for improving workflows to integrate the core missions of the National Library such as legal deposit, long-term archiving and identifier stewardship. Finally, the Consortium itself will transform by offering new services and creating new partnerships, for example with funding bodies but also publishers and other, international, consortia.
We could not have made such progress without our project partners nor our international community drivers such as the Max-Planck Digital Library from Munich (oa2020 project) and the International Coalition of Library Consortia (ICOLC).
For information about the services and history of the department of the Consortium at the National Library, please go to our About page.