Rachel Caldwell and Robin N. Sinn, writing in Commonplace in November, propose a journal-publisher scorecard. In their vision,

a publisher’s actions are quantified based on points earned for practices that align with the values of libraries and many institutions of higher education. The more points a publisher earns, the higher their overall score. LP certification is similar to the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) architectural certification. Where LEED certification assesses a building project’s practices in “credit categories” such as water efficiency or indoor environmental air quality, LP certification assesses a publisher’s practices in four categories: Access, Rights, Community, and Discoverability. The overall score a publisher earns places them in one of four tiers.

The idea is to help librarians make informed choices about where to invest limited OA dollars, through what is, in effect, a point-based rating system. Library-by-library vetting is utterly impractical, especially when multiple values (like licensing and fee-free OA) are at stake.

It’s an exciting idea, one that could streamline and justify libraries’ mission-aligned investing. Caldwell and Sinn include a pilot run-through of their scoring with five publishers. Elsevier, with 12 points, is easily bested by UC eScholarship and the Society for Neuroscience—40 and 44 points, respectively.

Library Partnership

Their proposed scheme (dubbed Library Paternship) could easily fold into mission-aligned funding exchanges like LYRASIS’s OACIP. Even a badging system would make sense.

More on this project soon.