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Request for proposal

Request for Proposal (RFP):

Writing a literature review on methods for converting subscription-based scholarly journals to open access.

Release date for this RFP: April 16, 2015
Due date for responses: May 30, 2015
Start date for the work: July 1, 2015
End date for the work: January 31, 2016

Issued by: Harvard Library Office for Scholarly Communication (OSC) The project will be supervised by Peter Suber, Director of the Office for Scholarly Communication.

Proposal requested

The Harvard OSC requests bids or tenders from scholars interested in writing a comprehensive literature review on methods for converting subscription-based scholarly journals to open access.

By "open access" (OA) for this purpose we mean global, immediate, digital, online access which is free charge and which makes the content free for reuse under open licenses, preferably CC-BY. By an "OA journal" for this purpose, we mean one that makes all its research articles OA, not just some of them, as with hybrid journals.

The literature review will focus on how journals have converted or might convert to OA, not on why. It will focus on converting non-OA journals, not launching new OA journals. As far as possible, it should identify evidence on the consequences of conversion, e.g. for submissions, readership, quality, impact, and finances. It should identify pathways already taken by converted journals and pathways proposed but not yet tried. It should formulate these pathways as recommendations (steps, plans, instructions) for journals, or journals of a certain kind, to consider. Whenever possible, each recommendation should cite and link to relevant evidence.

If the literature review at this stage is of sufficient quality, the project will make it public and solicit public comments. The purpose of the public comments is to supplement the literature review, make it more complete, more detailed, and more useful. For example, the public comments might add readings omitted from the literature review, extract new recommendations from readings already covered, suggest new clarity or detail for recommendations already formulated, and add notes to help readers consider the merits of the recommendations. The project will then solicit comments from an invited panel of experts on the recommendations in the report, as enlarged or annotated by public comments. The panelists will endorse any recommendations they find worth endorsing, and specify the scholarly niches for which they endorse or recommend them.

We hope to make the final version public, as enlarged with with the panelists' endorsements and selected public comments. It will include full attribution to the author of the literature review and the authors of the comments and endorsements.

The literature review should be submitted in digital form and ready for public comments by January 31, 2016.

Submitting a proposal

We envisage that the literature review will take about seven person-months. Candidates should take this into account when developing their proposals.

Candidates should describe their qualifications to do the work and the amount they request to do it in the time allowed (July 1, 2015 - January 31, 2016). We encourage candidates who have published related work to cite and link to it in their submissions.

Please submit the bid or tender, or any inquiries, by email to Arlene Navarro at

The submission deadline is May 30, 2015.