IReL’s year in review, 2022

As we near the end of 2022, an overview of IReL’s work, challenges and achievements during the year:

  • Expanding IReL membership: work has been ongoing to prepare for new institutions joining the consortium in 2023 – we’ll be announcing details of this very soon. Our work included securing additional funding; coordination between the new members and publishers to select the IReL agreements they will be joining; and planning changes to IReL governance structures to reflect an expanded and more diverse consortium.
  • IReL staff changes: Susan Reilly was appointed as IReL Director in January. We said goodbye to our Financial Controller, Michelle McGuane, and appointed our new controller, Aidan Mullen. We advertised for two new posts, OA Analyst and Community Engagement Officer, and expect to fill them in early 2023.
  • NORF Action Plan: we contributed to and endorsed the Action Plan; which tasks us to work with partners nationally to reach a goal of 100% of publicly-funded research publications being open access by 2030.
  • National OA Monitor: we were awarded a NORF grant to pilot and develop an Irish national OA Monitor. This will be crucial in realising the NORF Action Plan’s target of 100% OA.
  • For the first time, we faced the challenge of reporting on the OA publishing elements of over 20 publisher agreements. We needed to collate reports from each publisher on the thousands of articles published from IReL members in 2021. For each article we needed to validate multiple data points: was the corresponding author from an IReL member; was the article made OA or not; if the article wasn’t OA, why not? etc. A major challenge was that each publisher uses a different report format and they may contain gaps or errors. But the joint effort by IReL staff and colleagues in member libraries was worth it: we learned that publisher agreements supported by IReL have resulted in 2,813 journal articles being published open access in 2021, which accounts for 42% of the articles published annually by corresponding authors from IReL’s members. Minister Simon Harris noted this in a recent press release from the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.
  • We signed new transformative agreements with Optica, the American Psychological Association, and the Royal Society of Chemistry. And work has been ongoing in optimising our other OA agreements: improving author-facing communications and workflows to make the experience of OA publishing as simple and seamless as possible; and working with all publishers to improve and standardise their publication reporting.
  • While we focus increasingly on open access: providing continued access to non-OA publications and databases remains a core duty to our members. IReL’s Monitoring Group found that in 2021, our members used our licensed resources a record 18.8 million times, a significant rise from the 16.6 uses in 2020.
  • We promoted our work at a number of conferences, including CONUL; the IFLA World Library and Information Congress; the Forum on Future of World Academic Libraries, and the International Coalition of Library Consortia (ICOLC) EMEA Conference.
  • With the IReL led national ORCID consortium:
    • we welcomed two new members, the Higher Education Authority and Mary Immaculate College.
    • ORCID adoption in Ireland continues to grow:
      • 32,960 individuals’ ORCID iDs are affiliated with .ie email domains;
      • we have facilitated 10 active ORCID member API integrations with members’ systems;
      • these 10 member integrations connect with 9,730 individuals’ ORCID iDs.