“While the CWTS Leiden ranking has been available since 2011/2012, it is only in 2019 that a first attempt was made at ranking institutions by Open Access-related indicators. This was due to the arrival of Unpaywall as a tool to measure openly available institutional research outputs – either via the Green or the Gold OA routes – for a specific institution.
The CWTS Leiden ranking by percentage of the institutional research output published Open Access effectively meant the first opportunity for institutions worldwide to be ranked by the depth of their Open Access implementation strategies brushing aside aspects like their size. This provided an interesting way to map the progress of CESAER Member institutions that were part of the Task Force Open Science 2020-2021 Open Access Working Group (OAWG) towards the objective stated by Plan S of achieving 100% Open Access of research outputs.
The OAWG then set out to map the situation of the Member institutions represented in it on this Open Access ranking and to track their evolution on subsequent editions of this ranking. The idea behind this analysis was not so much to introduce an element of competition across institutions but to explore whether progress was taking place in the percentage of openly available institutional research outputs year on year.
The results of this analysis – shown in figures within this paper for the 2019, 2020 and 2021 editions – show strong differences across Member institutions that are part of the OAWG. From internal discussions within the group, it became evident that these differences could be explained through a number of factors that contributed to a successful Open Access implementation at an institutional level. This provided the basis for this work.
The document identifies four key factors that contribute to a successful OA implementation at institutions, and hence to achieving a good position on the CWTS Leiden ranking for Open Access. These factors are:
• Open Access policies. This aspect is highlighted as the key driver for a successful OA implementation: high-ranked institutions typically implement strong OA policies, whereas low-ranked ones often lack a specific policy beyond the (common) one issued by the European Commission for its framework programmes.
• Institutional system configuration (repositories and/or current research information system (CRIS) systems). The way institutional systems support OA implementation are configured is also a critical element for a high ranking. High-ranked institutions within the OAWG often have an interconnected institutional repository and a CRIS. Other institutions only operate a repository and some have neither.
• Institutional research support staff. A strong OA policy and an adequately configured set of institutional systems may not be enough to guarantee a successful OA implementation if the research support staff behind such work is not numerous or well-trained enough.
• Open Access advocacy strategies. One of the key areas of activity for such staff is the communication with researchers to highlight the relevance of Open Access implementation at a given institution and to provide the required support workflows….”