Academic Open Access book platform OAPEN migrates to Dspace

April 21, 2020
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After ten years on custom built software, and a growth from 700 OA books to over 12,000, OAPEN and Atmire migrated the OAPEN Library to DSpace.

The OAPEN Library launched almost 10 years ago as the first international platform dedicated to open access books. The original system was developed by the University Library of the University of Amsterdam, as part of a European project coordinated by Amsterdam University Press and co-funded by the European Commission. At the launch in September 2010, the Library contained around 700 OA books from 10 publishers. Today, the Library contains over 12,000 OA books and chapters, from more than 300 publishers from all parts of the world. Last December OAPEN reached the milestone of 10 million downloads since 2013, when COUNTER compliant reporting was introduced in collaboration with IRUS-UK.

The move to DSpace is part of our mission to develop as an open, community-driven infrastructure service to support open access to monographs and edited volumes. The need for open infrastructures and global, open knowledge exchange in all scientific fields has never been more apparent. OAPEN


The move to DSpace is part of a wider project, OPERAS-P, to support the development of OPERAS (Open Scholarly Communication in the European Research Area for Social Sciences and Humanities), which is funded by the European Commission in the Horizon 2020 framework. The redevelopment also involves DOAB (the Directory of Open Access Books), to secure both OAPEN and DOAB as open infrastructures, and DOAB as a central service for OPERAS. OAPEN and DOAB have also jointly been selected by SCOSS (the Global Sustainability Coalition for Open Science Services) to be supported by the open science community in its second funding cycle.

New features

With the migration to a new platform, OAPEN was able to introduce several new features and improve existing ones. Users can now browse open access books and chapters by license or their respective publication type. Furthermore, bulk access to the entire OAPEN metadata set in MARCXML and MARC 21 has been improved, based on feedback from libraries. The standard DSpace REST API was extended with an additional search endpoint, enabling 3rd party systems to search the OAPEN Library.

A custom feature that OAPEN aims to make available as an open source addition to DSpace is the import of ONIX metadata. Publishers use the ONIX XML standard to exchange information about their titles. OAPEN and Atmire created an import script that converts ONIX XML to new records for the OAPEN Library in DSpace. The ONIX metadata now also contains chapter descriptions linked to books.

Additional new features are being planned, as OAPEN hopes to work with the community of DSpace users to develop more open source components going forward.

Article adapted from original source at

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