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Open infrastructure for OA books

6 replies, 3 voices Last updated by  Markus Putnings 12 hours, 50 minutes ago
  • Author
  • #39309

    Lucy Barnes

    A space to share links, thoughts, and questions about open infrastructure for OA books — current projects, potential future initiatives, wishlists…

  • #39310

    Lucy Barnes

    <p style=”text-align: left;”>An interview with the COPIM project about open infrastructure:</p>

  • #42552

    Markus Putnings

    The Federal Ministry of Research and Education has funded various Open Access projects in Germany (see here). In the following, I briefly present ours, the development of an open source infrastructure called “Open Source Academic Publishing Suite (OS-APS)” for media-neutral (Open Access) publishing:

    The background of the project was the following: According to the findings of a study, the majority of smaller German publishers are not keeping pace with digitization and are therefore not competitive in the long term. There is a lack of financial resources for professional software (e.g., XML editing and content management systems for media-neutral publishing) and expertise or personnel for its implementation in publishing workflows and ongoing support. In addition, there is a lack of market monitoring and servicing of new requests from the scientific community, such as open access publishing.

    For this reason, the OA-APS project partners have launched the Open Source Academic Publishing Suite (OS-APS) project. The publishing suite should be available free of charge, i.e. open source, and require little expertise or use of resources.

    This should relieve both publishers and authors of the time-consuming task of formatting and typesetting. In addition, various e-book formats (EPUB, PDF, HTML) are created automatically; the PDF in the desired design of the publisher, using typesetting templates.

    The project started on Feb. 1, 2021, and will run for 2 years. During this time, the following components will be developed:

    • an importer; the importer reads in a wide variety of manuscript formats available from the authors (e.g. Word and OpenDocument), analyzes them, and automatically converts them into a semantically annotated format,
    • an editor; semantic information can be added to the imported text as needed through an easy-to-use user interface,
    • a typesetting and formatting control; publishers can either select from existing typesetting templates or easily implement their own typesetting template in detail using a Template Development Kit (TDK),
    • an export function; at the push of a button, the desired export formats (e.g. PDF, EPUB, HTML) are finally provided, by default Open Access, i.e. DRM-free,
    • extensions for OJS and OMP; one project partner is also developing extensions for the Open Journal System and Open Monograph Press to complement the functionalities of these softwares for the Open Source Academic Publishing Suite (OS-APS). On the one hand, it will be possible to import metadata from finalized files into OJS/OMP. Second, an automated export to institutional repositories will be developed to provide uniform data management for institutions.


    We would like to gather various requirements from publishers and editors in the course of the project (e.g. via surveys, interviews, etc.). Interested parties are very welcome to get in touch:

    • #42648

      Lucy Barnes

      Hi Markus, this is really interesting, thanks for sharing. I was wondering, are all the 20 projects linked in some way, or are you all independent of each other?

      • #42701

        Markus Putnings

        Dear Lucy,

        the funding guideline was aimed at open access publishers or corresponding publishing activities. Accordingly, this is a bit of a thread running through all the projects:

        Sustainability and financing parameters of business and transformation models (CODRIA, TOAA, TransMILL, TU9_Monos, Wallstein-OA, ScholarLedPlus, KOALA, OAdine), quality assurance procedures (PrePrintPlus), simplified workflows or tools for this (our OS-APS, OATbyCO, AuROA, OPTIMETA, OASTRUKTKOMM, OA-META), authoring or research tools (e.g. for the appropriate choice of publication medium) like B!SON, and Open Access strategies and ways to achieve them (OPEN4DE) etc.

        However, I don’t know to what extent the selection was made “strategically” or in a complementary or synergy-building way: there were no official instructions to network in advance (if one knew about each other or the ideas) or now after the selected projects became known. But of course we will do this where it makes sense 🙂 E.g. we need to take a closer look at the project OATbyCO on the part of our OS-APS; there seem to be common interests.

    • #42702

      Tom Grady

      Hi Markus,

      Sounds like you’re going to be working on some really interesting stuff here. Good luck! In what way do you see this as producing something different to existing tools that already seem to do a lot of these things (I’m thinking, platforms like Coko and Editoria)? A diverse choice of open source tools is useful but sometimes I’m a bit confused as to the differences between them all 🙂


      • #42768

        Markus Putnings

        Hi Tom.

        In fact, something “rudimentarily similar” already exists in several places (e.g. besides Editoria, also in Heidelberg with heiMPT or of course Calibre or similar), but mostly rather specifically embedded in local or proprietary workflows or limited to them.

        The OS-APS, on the other hand, is intended to be flexibly usable and integrable by publishers (be it small commercial publishers, university publishers, self-publishers, series editors, etc.). For example, as far as I know, Editoria only offers two export styles for the PDF, Vivliostyle or Paged.js. With OS-APS, there will be much more ready-made styles to choose from (our partner SciFlow already has a lot of experience here) and publishers will also be able to explicitly create their own using the Template Development Kit. This ensures that the PDF always conforms to the usual series or publisher format specifications.

        The OS-APS should also be able to import a relatively wide range of manuscript formats that are submitted to publishers (i.e. in addition to Word, OpenDocument, etc., also perspectively LaTeX, InDesign, etc. – we just have to see how far we can get in the next two years) and have open interfaces (SWORD, REST, also to other publishing-relevant open source software such as OJS, OMP, etc.).

        But *cough* I basically agree with you: if there had been more time, it might have been interesting to bring one or more of the other existing players on board, too. However, the deadline for the BMBF (Federal Ministry of Research and Education) applications was really short and there were already connections with the current partners, so it was possible to complete the application in the short time available. The more you bring on board, the more time-consuming it is. But of course we are now trying to network with these similar projects, for example with our colleagues in Heidelberg. I.e. if you or others here in the Open Access Books Network know of other similar projects that we have overlooked so far, please let us know.

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