Project Meerkat. A mosaic representation of a meerkat.


Project Meerkat

Developing tools and protocols relating to the collection, aggregation, and dissemination of usage data about digital monograph publications

A Publishing Analytics Data Alliance

We envision publishers, libraries, research centers, societies, funders, aggregators, and other scholarly communication stakeholders joining Project Meerkat to develop shared projects and infrastructure for the management and analysis of monograph usage data.

As a first step toward this vision, we are pleased to participate in Understanding OA Ebook Usage: Toward a Common Framework, a research project funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. See the final white paper resulting from this research.

Statement of need

In the realm of academic research, data on the use and distribution of scholarly content provides opportunities to build deeper understandings of the publishing ecosystem. While the largest players in scholarly publishing are finding it easier than ever to collect, aggregate, and analyze such data, for individual stakeholders in scholarly publishing, the practical challenges associated with doing so remain considerable.

There is growing concern about the ownership of, access to, and analysis of this data for “predictive bibliometrics.” Despite the growing demand for rich data and predictive analytics, the high costs of providing or purchasing data-related services are reinforcing inequities in the academic publishing landscape. Furthermore, the challenges associated with gathering, integrating, interpreting, and reporting usage data limit the ability of individual publishers, libraries, and other stakeholders to identify—much less predict—important usage trends and opportunities through which these organizations might extend their impact.

Based on receiving a predetermined total in seed funding from institutional contributors (at $1K and $5K levels), Project Meerkat will gather a diverse community of scholarly communication stakeholders, including authors and editors, to jointly develop governance, sustainability, and ethical frameworks for how usage data is gathered, analyzed, and shared, building upon the NISO Privacy Principles (link is external) and taking scholarly monographs as a starting point. The project team will also scope and develop analytic and benchmark reports to meet the identified needs of libraries, publishers, aggregators, and other stakeholders. The resulting Publishing Analytics Data Alliance will work to sustain the outcomes of Project Meerkat, providing its members with shared governance of collected data. Member organizations will agree to a code of practice as a condition of membership.

Current conveners for Project Meerkat:

Peter Berkery (Association of American University Presses)
Martin Paul Eve (Birbeck, University of London & Open Library of Humanities)
Kevin Hawkins (University of North Texas)
James MacGregor (Public Knowledge Project)
Sarah Melton (Boston College)
Lucy Montgomery (Curtin University & KU Research)
Cameron Neylon (Curtin University & KU Research)
Lisa Schiff (California Digital Library)
Katherine Skinner (Educopia Institute)