OA Switchboard initiative: progress report September 2020

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The OA Switchboard is now a reality: the MVP (Minimum Viable Product), currently in its pilot phase, has delivered a neutral information exchange ‘hub’, streamlining the communication between funders, institutions and regarding OA publications. The OA Switchboard will reduce the complexity in the implementation of multi-lateral Open Access publication-level arrangements, ensuring a financial settlement can be done.

In essence, the OA Switchboard enables funders, institutions and to send and receive a defined set of standardised messages between them, ideally in an automated, integrated, and scalable manner. 

OASPA is extremely proud that the 2020 project we are overseeing is completely on track, both in time and budget. Over the summer the MVP (as the first step towards this essential infrastructure) was developed in close collaboration with representatives of all stakeholder groups. We have held many plenary and 1-to-1 meetings with stakeholders and experts and have regularly reported on progress

Simultaneously, we’re preparing, as planned, for a sustainable set-up for 2021 and beyond. We will continue to prioritise standards and efficiency while developing our open source solutions and services. The OA Switchboard fosters wide collaboration and broad input so that the whole ecosystem can benefit, and allows for integration with stakeholders’ own (or their partners’) systems and solutions, while supporting and enriching these. Participation and technical integration will always be open to all who meet our purpose and criteria.

In this 2020 project, together with many engaged advisors and pilot users, we have proved the OA Switchboard concept and the problem-solution fit. The next years (2021/2022) are seen as a ‘launch phase’, in which we will be building a solid basis with founding partners and launching customers.   We will be organising webinars so that the wider community can find out more about our set-up and plans for 2021, see demonstration videos which illustrate how the OA Switchboard supports various use cases, and hear first-hand from pilot users on their experiences and future plans for using the OA Switchboard. The webinars will also give attendees an opportunity to ask questions, so keep an eye out for the announcement of those dates later this year.  

So far, in the MVP, two message types are supported, that both initiate from : Eligibility Enquiry and Publication/Payment Settlement Notification (full descriptions are available from the OA Switchboard website). There are obviously more use cases for institutions, funders and (and their partners) that will be explored through continued collaborative efforts and deep-dives.

The current MVP already provides real time monitoring and tracking, as well as standardised reports, that can feed into local solutions and systems. Furthermore, the MVP enables interlinking with funders, institutions, and ’ own author and researcher facing tools. Multiple demonstration videos to illustrate these key features are available.

For the remainder of the year we’re continuing with the Pilot and with the Working Groups (on OA Books, China, and alternative business models such as diamond). A focal point for the coming weeks is technical integration of the API with partner systems (like editorial systems, payment solutions and library dashboards/solutions), and also funder/institution/publisher’s own systems in case no third party is involved. To kick that off, a very well attended interactive technical workshop was organised in August, an impression of the collaboration is available here.

As always, we invite anybody who wants to participate in shaping the OA Switchboard further to contact Yvonne Campfens, OA Switchboard Project Manager, especially as founding partners or launching customers.


The OA Switchboard initiative (www.oaswitchboard.org) is a not-for-profit collaboration between funders, institutions and to provide essential infrastructure, standards and back-office services to achieve a breakthrough in the transformation of the market such that Open Access is supported as the predominant model of publication.


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