Wednesday, 19 August 2015

ALPSP Awards Spotlight on… CHORUS: Collaboration and Innovation for the Public Benefit

In this latest post from the finalists for the ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing, Susan Spilka, Marketing and Communications Director for CHORUS, tells us more about the project and why they felt it should be entered for the Awards.

"It’s an honor for CHORUS to be included among the impressive group of finalists for the ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing 2015. We greatly appreciate the opportunity to showcase the work we are doing.

CHORUS is the outcome of successful collaboration since 2013 among publishers, funding agencies, scholarly societies, and other stakeholders. Our services and best practices provide a sustainable, scalable, cost-effective, interoperable, and transparent solution to deliver public access to published articles reporting on funded research. As a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) membership organization, CHORUS is policy-neutral and focuses on building consensus and services to advance public access in a way that recognizes and sustains the value that publishers bring to science and scholarship, for the benefit of all. The result is increased discoverability for authors’ research, enhanced accountability for funders, and accessibility to articles reporting on research, for everyone.

CHORUS is being adopted by funders to enhance their efforts to increase public access to articles based on funded research and complement their compliance procedures. CHORUS launched with a commitment from the US Department of Energy (followed by a Participation Agreement in April 2015). This week, the Smithsonian Institute released its Public Access plan, naming CHORUS as part of its solution. We expect to announce a pilot project with another federal agency very soon, and anticipate more agency agreements by early fall. CHORUS has also started discussions with a number of funders outside of the US as well as several global NGOs that fund research.

CHORUS is growing rapidly, gaining momentum as we add publisher members’ content and enter into partnerships with funders. As of early August 2015, we are monitoring over 120,000 articles associated with 24 funders for public access, with more than 30,000 already publicly accessible. Our membership roster includes publishers of all stripes and sizes (including not-for-profit societies, university presses, and commercial companies with pure OA and hybrid programs) as well as publishing service providers and organizations. Members pay modest fees to support CHORUS’ operations, while funders, researchers, university research officers, librarians, publishers and the public all benefit from CHORUS’ services at no cost. Our small staff includes myself and Howard Ratner (Executive Director) – two publishing veterans bringing multiple decades of experience – along with a Digital Analyst, Program Manager, and outsourced development, legal, and finance staff. We rely heavily on the tireless efforts of a volunteer Board of Directors and working groups.

CHORUS knits together new services and open APIs with the existing scholarly communications infrastructure to minimize effort and expense and maximize the identification, discovery, access, and preservation steps of compliance to funder public-access requirements. CHORUS utilizes CrossRef’s FundRef service to identify and keep track of papers reporting on research coming from funder grants and contracts. We promote the use of ORCID identifiers and other industry best practices. The resulting metadata (including the DOIs of the published articles) helps make articles more easily discoverable (via CHORUS’ Search service as well as agency portals and general search engines) and transparently describes their public accessibility.

Part of what makes CHORUS unique is that our distributed access approach points users directly to the best available version of articles (either the accepted author manuscript or Version of Record) on publishers’ sites, either immediately or after the prescribed embargo period, in perpetuity. CHORUS also provides freely available, downloadable dashboards with detailed reporting on public accessibility and availability of reuse license terms and preservation arrangements. Our auditing system – a hybrid system of automation and manual checking for public access – follows the DOI links for every identified article in our database. CHORUS publisher members are required to archive their content; CHORUS has special arrangements with CLOCKSS or Portico that enable perpetual public accessibility.

CHORUS is committed to evolving with the needs of the scholarly community. Recently we started to provide customized publisher dashboards as a member benefit. We’ll soon be making our open APIs widely available. Further down the pipeline we are considering some projects designed to make publicly accessible content and data more discoverable. Our recent agreement with ORCID formalizes the coordination of our efforts to promote the adoption of identifiers and standards to manage access to and reporting of research outputs. We also see the tremendous potential of providing access to data; as a result, we are participating in such Initiatives as CrossRef/DataCite, RDA/WDS-Publishing Data Services Working Group, and RMAP.

Stay tuned for new developments … it’s going to be a busy fall! Follow CHORUS on Twitter @CHORUSaccess and Linked In."


The winner of the ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing, sponsored by Publishing Technology, will be announced at the ALPSP Conference. Book now to secure your place.

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