Open Access Books and Technology

Open Access and Technology

Taylor & Francis has been publishing Open Access books since 2013. We have over 800 pieces of Open Access book content available through our Taylor & Francis eBooks platform.  Technology is an important aspect to keep in mind when creating Open Access content and making free digital content available to all. The goal of Open Access is to allow content to be easily found, re-used and have world impact. This would not be the case if the content was behind a paywall.  For Open Access to be available to all it must be easily discoverable. This plays into ensuring all technology is setup correctly to meet the goal of Open Access. We’ve sat down with our tech team to discuss Open Access and Technology. We’ve learned a lot about the obstacles with Open Access and technology. Here’s what we learned:   

The following are key aspects of Open Access and Technology:  

  • Open Access Specific Metadata  
  • Open Access Entitlements  
  • Chapter-Level Configurations and Support  
  • Identifiers and Feeds  
  • Formats  
  • MARC/KBART Records  
  • Usage Reports  
  • General Platform Maintenance  
  • Content Discovery Tools  

Click on the images to read more about each aspect of Open Access & Technology.


Click on the images to read more about each aspect of Open Access & Technology.

It has taken some work in order to allow a book or chapter record to be marked as Open Access in all systems including the Taylor & Francis eBooks platform. Taylor & Francis had to make changes to the Taylor & Francis eBooks platform and other systems to ensure the appropriate licenses and funder information were automatically attached to every Open Access book and chapter in all our systems and displayed properly to users. Open Access has grown enormously and now includes funder mandates and Plan S. Therefore, we needed to create a platform to ensure Open Access is accounted for in all our systems and easy for users to access.

Traditionally when a customer purchases publisher content on a platform, we grant them an entitlement to the content. This can be customized based on the kind of purchase. For instance, for subscriptions, entitlements can expire but for perpetual purchases the customer will always have access.

For Open Access content, we had to find a way to grant everyone access to the content on our platform, not just customers who purchased access. The entitlement access model did not make sense because not everyone who visited the platform would have an account (where we could add the entitlement), and customers expressed a desire to see Open Access content separate from the content they had purchased. So, we had to made changes in the content logic on the platform, as well as search, browse filters, librarian dashboards, etc.

At Taylor & Francis many of our backend systems are configured at the book level, starting with the ISBN as a primary identifier. This logic had to be revisited in several places in order for us to fully support Open Access chapters. On the Taylor & Francis eBooks platform, to host an Open Access chapter within a non-Open Access book we had to undertake a fair bit of development work such that it was possible to ‘decouple’ a chapter from the book it is a part of – that is, making a chapter within a book Open Access when the book as a whole is published on a traditional paid-for model. For this reason, Open Access chapters within non-Open Access books were not fully supported on the Taylor & Francis eBooks platform until the end of 2020 (previously, they were only available for download, and on a separate website). Today, Open Access chapters are flagged on the site using the Open Access chapter tagging in the book’s XML.

Every Open Access chapter is assigned a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) which is registered with CrossRef. Crossref is an official Digital Object Identifier Registration Agency of the International DOI Foundation. CrossRef has a fee associated with each DOI and the link to our platform must be maintained. Taylor & Francis also sends content to different platforms and partners including. OAPEN and Open Research Library so that it can be indexed and easily discoverable by researchers.

Every eBook we create has multiple different formats to support the needs of distributors. Taylor & Francis offer most of our titles in webPDF and ePub3 format for eBook aggregator distribution. One benefit of Taylor & Francis’s Open Access program is that we will continue updating to make sure the work is accessible.

Librarians need to have these records for Open Access content for it to be discoverable in library systems. Otherwise, members of the institution will not be able to find them. We provide MARC through our platform and OCLC. We can give MARC/KBART files to everyone who doesn’t subscribe to Taylor & Francis eBooks platform as this information is free to be assimilated into Library platforms.

Librarians and authors alike expect to see usage reports for their books. On the library side, COUNTER provides standards and logic for how usage reports should look. These reports measure how many times a book was used by an institution. Several types of reports are available, for instance, platform-level, book-level, and section-level (which may contain chapter views). We have undertaken quite a bit of work related to COUNTER usage reports and COUNTER will periodically update their standards. For instance, COUNTER 5 was released in 2019. Per customer feedback, we periodically will provide new reports such as SUSHI in 2019 and usage by license (to be released in 2021). Visit us here for more information on how librarians can get usage reports from Taylor & Francis.

Our websites are continuously updated and enhanced in order to function properly for our customers and meet the latest technology standards. On the Taylor & Francis eBooks platform we see a high amount of daily traffic, support large customers around the world, and literally host hundreds of thousands of eBooks. On the eBooks platform we have different development teams and hundreds of colleagues who support the platform.

The related books section on each product page, subject filters, and search tools all involve a huge amount of content tagging and ingestion. Content discovery is important because we want users to easily access Open Access books and Chapters. We don’t want content to be hidden and never used. Open Access should be easily discoverable. Content discovery tools benefit the library and researchers by allowing users to easily discover and use materials. More discovery leads to better usage. Users may need guidance and advice to navigate content discovery tools. If a user has a question about how to find content, the librarian can easily help the user if there are good content discovery tools.

Click here for more information on Open Access Books