OA publishing needs Scholarly SEO

As professional and academic publishers gather in Manchester this month for the ALPSP annual conference, Maverick is busy thinking about how our services can help tackle today’s challenges facing scholarly communications. Facing the future of Open Access (OA) publishing, and preparing to scale new workflows and business models, are among publishers’ top priority topics going into the first in-person ALPSP meeting since 2019.

It is clear that we can no longer talk about sustainable, scalable OA publishing without addressing strategic approaches to timely and accurate metadata construction and distribution, and how we leverage various metrics to monitor the discoverability and accessibility of our OA publications. Therefore, we cannot talk about OA without picking up the tools of Scholarly SEO, the specialized methods used by Maverick to ensure your content is optimized for findability and usability within academic and research communities.

Scholarly SEO is a key business metric for OA publishers because metadata matters now more than ever. Publication metadata is a critical data component when modeling “transformative” agreements. The recent “Nelson” memo guiding US research funders outlines expectations for papers to be published with metadata that follows information standards, such as the inclusion of persistent identifiers and compliance with web accessibility protocols. And, as many publishers have learned first-hand in the last few years, simply making OA content available outside a paywall does not make it adequately discoverable via the channels used by today’s readers.

Mavericks’ Scholarly SEO specialists offer the following checklist of best practices:

  • Include your OA publications in all indexing and library metadata feeds, from KBART to MARC, and ensure licensing and access terms are clear.
  • Monitor mainstream SEO, which is perhaps more important than for traditional publications.
  • Watch out for web architecture issues like duplicate pages and ensure your robots.txt file is up to date.
  • Build linkages across the lifecycle of an article, from preprint server integration, peer review, data statements, license tags, and both author and institutional identifiers.
  • Beware of OA anomalies, such as flipped journals with paywalled backfile; these will require special handling to get right and avoid broken links.

Maverick’s Scholarly SEO services offer critical business intelligence for publishers and can be adapted to a variety of types of content and products. To learn more about customizing a Scholarly SEO solution for your OA publishing program, please reach out to me at lettie@maverick-os.com or contact Maverick’s Head of EMEA Business Development, Rebecca Moakes, at rebecca@maverick-os.com to meet at ALPSP or by virtual appointment.

By Lettie Y. Conrad, Maverick Senior Associate, Product Research and Development

Lettie Y. Conrad, Ph.D., is an independent researcher and consultant with a passion for human-centric methods of product R&D. She has developed a specialty in driving efficient and effective information experiences in scholarly communications and works with a global portfolio of technology and content providers to deliver optimum user engagement with publishing platforms. She serves as North American Editor for Learned Publishing and is a ‘chef’ with the SSP’s The Scholarly Kitchen blog.

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