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4 reasons CHORUS is gaining traction

Elsevier has made over 3,000 manuscripts available to US partner funding agencies through the CHORUS public access service

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These are the research funders working with CHORUS as part of their public-access plans, pilot projects, or linking arrangements (Source: CHORUS).

At Elsevier, we support CHORUS for all our journals, and in 2016, we made over 3,000 accepted manuscripts available for US partner funding agencies as part of the CHORUS service. Originally developed as a response to a memo issued by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, CHORUS uses existing infrastructure to help with the discovery, access, compliance and preservation of peer reviewed articles.

CHORUS has attracted international attention recently, with pilots announced in Japan and Australia.

Here are four reasons why CHORUS is gaining traction:

1. CHORUS is a more efficient route to compliance

Having a policy on open access is only the first step on what can be a long journey to implementing, tracking and monitoring compliance. For most researchers, public access or open access policies mean an additional step in the publishing process to either ensure that their article is published through gold open access with the appropriate user license or that a copy of their manuscript is deposited in the appropriate repository and made available at the right time.

Making sure this happens takes time, money and resources, but CHORUS takes that hassle away. Because CHORUS leverages existing open, interoperable infrastructure, compliance is seamless. Authors simply have to identify their funding sources when submitting a paper for publication with a participating publisher and, through CHORUS’ connection with the CrossRef Open Funder Registry service, free public access to the article is automatically triggered (either to the final publisher version or the author’s accepted manuscript after an embargo period). Institutions can receive a heads-up when an article is published that reports on research funded by a particular funding body. From a funder’s perspective, this could help lead to 100 percent compliance.

CHORUS is also attractive for institutions and funders concerned about the cost of implementation. By using (and complementing) existing infrastructure, CHORUS is able to provide a scalable public access solution. For example, CHORUS works with CrossRef metadata and persistent identifiers such as ORCiD, as well as leveraging trusted archives such as Portico and CLOCKSS. As articles are made available by publishers, no new platforms need to be built. Rather than reinventing the wheel, CHORUS brings the hubs and spokes and even the engine together to build a bigger, better car.

2. It provides real-time data to monitor and track success

When thinking about policy implementation, compliance tracking and monitoring are often last on the list, partly because this is difficult to get right. To track and monitor the success of a policy, you need reliable data, such as where articles have been published and how they have been made available. Reporting is a crucial part of the success of CHORUS. The dashboard service enables funders, institutions, researchers, publishers and the public to keep track of public-access compliance by our publisher members. CHORUS monitors content and audits for public access and other criteria, producing dashboards with aggregated data and links to articles. As of May 2017, CHORUS was monitoring more than 340,000 articles for public access and long-term availability, of which more than 76,000 were already freely accessible to the public.

3. It can be expanded to provide services for institutions, and internationally

CHORUS has recently announced pilots to explore how its services can benefit institutions too, for example, by helping institutions understand how their affiliated authors have published and how and when to make articles accessible through their repository. This is exciting news, and we are helping support this by providing free access to Scopus data during the pilot via our Scopus API. Partnering with institutions through CHORUS also complements the work Elsevier is doing individual with institutions, providing free APIs to support better indexing, discoverability and accessibility through institutions repositories. The benefits of CHORUS for institutions and funders globally is also being recognized, with pilots also announced with the Japan Science and Technology Agency and Chiba University as well as with the Australian Research Council and LaTrobe University.

4. It provides access and long-term preservation

A key part of the CHORUS service is being able to use the digital archive services Portico and CLOCKSS to ensure public access in perpetuity. Portico began as a project funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and is now an independent, not-for-profit dark archive with cross-publisher content. CLOCKSS is a community-governed internationally distributed dark archive which is a non-profit joint venture between libraries and publishers.

By working with CLOCKSS and Portico, security is provided to all parties, so if publishers ever stopped providing access, trusted third-party dark archives are in place to remedy this. Such security is crucial to maintaining trust in the CHORUS service.

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