Brun et al (2024) IPSP Sustainability Research Report | DIAMAS

flavoursofopenscience's bookmarks 2024-04-02


Brun, V., Pontille, D., & Torny, D. (2024). D5.1 IPSP Sustainability Research Report (1.0). Zenodo.

Understanding the sustainability of institutional publishers and service providers (IPSPs) constitutes a key step in the DIAMAS project. This research report has one main objective: to investigate what financial sustainability means for institutional publishing in Europe and the workforce involved in it.

To fulfil these objectives, we undertook a range of research methods to gain a more thorough understanding of the complex landscape of institutional publishing and its different forms of sustainability. The analysis draws on four types of data: a literature review of economic and financial aspects of institutional publishing, two quantitative surveys (the DIAMAS survey and a follow-up survey focusing on funding practices), 6 focus groups with national-based IPSPs, and 15 interviews with a range of diverse institutional publishing representatives.

This report is organised in 8 sections. In the first one, we explain our methodology in data collection and analysis. In section 2, we look into academic and grey literature on the topic. In section 3, we categorise the missions of the institutional publisher or service provider, since what they stand for and how they operate influences their approach to sustainability. Depending on their operations, IPSPs do not foster the same type of sustainability. In section 4, we examine the funding models of IPSPs. We look at full Diamond IPSPs, mixed-models IPSPs (i.e. who publish or provide services for Diamond and non-Diamond outputs) and the landscape of European and national funders and sponsors. In section 5, we discuss the constraints that arise from managing income on several aspects: accountability tasks, funder requests, reporting and fundraising. In section 6, we highlight the essential ability to have a workforce to cope with these changes. In section 7, we underline the central role of collaboration and shared infrastructures that shoulder the burden of sustaining the ecosystem. Finally, in section 8 we detail the ability of IPSPs to take a medium or a long-term view on their activities, and we outline their desirable and avoidable futures.

Several results can be drawn from these investigations. Diamond OA is an ecosystem in which institutional publishers and service providers (IPSPs) interact and perform a range of specific tasks. Our investigations show that there is no definitive set of tasks that all institutional publishers share. We rather see a combination of options and services that are distributed between the IP, its parent organisation, service providers, and academic personnel. Institutional publishers are diverse in nature and as a result of their missions, size and service provision, some of them are bound to upscale while others will seek to sustain their current size. The sustainability options available to them and the choices they make are also influenced by these factors.

The population of IPSPs that responded to the DIAMAS survey utilises diverse funding models. Some mix subscription fees or APC with Diamond funding streams. For the majority of institutional publishers or service providers who are fully Diamond OA, the role of the parent organisation is paramount for their basic support, especially in theform of in-kind support such as personnel, and services. The  landscape of funders,sponsors and donors who support institutional publishing in Europe is very clear-cut. Parent organisations and public national or regional funders are the main local supporters. Research funding organisations and international funders, however, currently marginally support non-commercial Diamond OA publishing needs, in contrast to the significant support that they provide to commercial publishing through APCs and BPCs.

Budget management is a secondary task for IPSPs compared to those of commercial publishers, where this is crucial. Although only a minority has a financial buffer and a small majority has an approved budget, almost all track their expenses and revenues in some form, especially in the interests of their funders, sponsors and donors. One should point out that grants often place a burden on IPSPs as the search for funding, its management and reporting activities weigh on them. Moreover, a strong minority (40%) of IPSPs use time-limited grants to run their operations.

The workforce is more central to the sustainability of an IPSP than revenue streams. However, the form this workforce assumes is often unclear, since voluntary, in-kind or paid work for a given task depends on institutional definitions. As a result, part of the workforce is often employed outside of the boundary of the IPSP and within the parent organisation, academic bodies or infrastructures, which means that the IPSP has to negotiate with different institutions for resources.

IPSPs have a clear view of the challenges they face. The main ones are the need for more financ


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Tags: oa.sustainability oa.reports oa.diamas oa.publishing oa.surveys oa.journals oa.infrastructure oa.europe

Date tagged:

04/02/2024, 08:44

Date published:

04/02/2024, 05:15