Skip to main content
SearchLoginLogin or Signup

Improving Workflows and Updating Infrastructure at Opening the Future

In the first quarter of 2024, Opening the Future has been working on updating the front and back end of our websites to reflect changes to both our infrastructure, and the wider landscape of funding and publication.

Published onApr 29, 2024
Improving Workflows and Updating Infrastructure at Opening the Future

April 2024 has marked something of a milestone for Work Package 3 at Copim, aka Opening the Future (OtF), which began in late 2020 and will end in April 2026. We are comfortably into the second half of the project, and no longer a pilot. Therefore, in the first quarter of 2024, we have taken the opportunity to take stock of our websites; our main domain and our CEU Press and Liverpool University Press OtF sites. 

While the website has been maintained and updated since its creation, such as through updating our list of titles published using OtF subscription funds, here and here, and our supporter lists, we felt it was time to look at the more static details that we present on both the model’s own page, and the publisher sub-domains. After spending part of early 2024 doing so, we identified several changes that needed to be made in a variety of areas. These changes reflect, in different ways, a) the passage of time, and b) the developments at OtF and Copim Open Book Futures. 

In addition to these front-end changes, the back-end of the websites and the IT infrastructure underpinning the project were also assessed for additional development. 

From Theory to Practice

One of the first changes we made was to rewrite much of the explanatory text across all three sites. This was largely to reflect that OtF was no longer hypothetical and that the pages were no longer describing what the project and the publishers were aiming to achieve, from the perspective of early 2021. Instead we re-worded it to reflect that these plans had been enacted, more about what had been achieved, and to de-emphasise factors that were more significant in 2021, for example the role of the COVID-19 pandemic in OtF’s plans and rationale. We also updated some information on, e.g. our FAQ pages, to address some queries that had been raised since 2021. 

The Changing Landscape 

We also wanted to take account of the various changes, since 2020, not just to our own project, but to the OA long-form publishing landscape as a whole. Two of these that are particularly relevant are the increase in funder mandates, such as UKRI in the UK, and potentially REF 2029, and also in the increase in library rubrics to evaluate OA schemes, developed largely as a result of the proliferation of OA schemes that now approach them for funding. We therefore updated the website to reflect that OtF and our publishers are compliant with funder mandates. We are also now in the process of adding some new pages to our sites, including one 'For Libraries' where we can more clearly articulate the benefits of membership and how the model meets many emerging assessment criteria that libraries are using to evaluate the many similar models that have followed ours.

Expansion and Consolidation 

As articulated in an upcoming blog post, OtF is now in the process of expanding its list of participating publishers from two to five. As we scale up, and with our current publishers in mind too, we want to make sure that our websites are as user friendly as possible, particularly to relevant staff at our publishers who are less directly involved in the project. We are therefore in the process of making several technical changes to the back end of the sites. 

In particular, we are improving the back office reporting to make it easier to understand and analyse data on library membership sign ups, and improving the back office layout and admin views to make it easier for new presses to manage their own sign up site, without needing to rely on Copim project support. All of these will enable the publishers to refine how they implement and manage this funding model themselves with less input from Work Package 3 staff, as the project will end in 2026. We are also making personalisation easier, such as by implementing the ability of participating publishers to edit the subdomains with their own house style and colour to match their usual branding, and a pop-up function so presses can choose an advert or offer to display, such as a link to their newsletter, which will further allow the participating publishers to develop their own OtF ‘brand’ as the Copim project winds down and OtF takes on a new life. 

While some of these changes have been implemented already, others will continue to come into effect through 2024. We will continue to refine and update our sites as necessary, to make sure that our information is up to date and meets the changing requirements of the library community. 

No comments here
Why not start the discussion?