May 19, 2022

New Collaboration: Multiple Partners Announce Project to Study Improving Usage and Engagement Tracking for Open Access (OA) Ebooks

From BISG (Book Industry Study Group):

The Book Industry Study Group (BISG) will collaborate with KU Research and researchers from the universities of Michigan and North Texas to convene a structured community conversation focused on With the generous support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the one-year project will run from June 1, 2018, to May 31, 2019.

This funded project will identify the challenges in understanding the usage of OA ebooks, suggest some opportunities for resolving them, and create a framework for future action through community consultation. It will focus on the challenges of identifying and aggregating relevant information from different platforms, analyzing what has been gathered in ways that respect user privacy, and communicating relevant information about usage to stakeholders. As well as looking at usage metrics, the researchers will explore indicators of engagement such as altmetrics. An important objective is to connect strands of research currently being conducted separately in the United States and Europe, by both for-profit and non-profit entities. Following the conclusion of this research project, BISG will publish a white paper of findings and propose a pathway for future action.

The principal investigators are Charles Watkinson (University of Michigan), Kevin Hawkins (University of North Texas), Lucy Montgomery (KU Research), and Brian O’Leary (BISG). Katherine Skinner (Educopia Institute) will act as a professional facilitator for the summit.

It is often said that an OA publication will be more often downloaded, used, and cited than a comparable restricted-access title. Publishers need to demonstrate such impact to receive support for their open access programs, funders look for usage data to demonstrate return on their investments, and authors are eager to show evidence of additional reach and influence for their work. Because of differences in the supply chain, however, information about the impact of academic ebooks, especially OA books, is much more difficult to gather, analyze, and communicate than comparable information about electronic journals.

Learn More: “Understanding OA Ebook Usage: Toward a Common Framework” (via UMich/Deep Blue)

Redacted version of narrative for a proposal to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the development of international standards and practices for measuring and reporting usage of open-access ebooks

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.