The Open Access Books Network is a space for passionate conversations about OA books. Researchers, publishers, librarians, infrastructure providers — indeed, anyone who is interested — can discuss any aspect of OA books here. This group was begun by members of OAPEN, OPERAS, ScholarLed and SPARC Europe.
DISCUSSION — contribute to any of the discussion threads, or start your own!
EVENTS — add details of any event related to Open Access books (please include a link and a hashtag).
SITE — check out our latest blog posts, and get in touch (email@example.com) to propose a post on any aspect of OA books.
FROM CORE / FILES — add any publications or documents related to Open Access books.
DOCS — go here for collaborative documents on OA book projects and resources.
Header photo by Fallon Michael on Unsplash.
Profile image by Ronald Snijder.
Meet the members of the Open Access Books Network
- 1 July 2020 at 5:12 am EDT #33191
In this discussion thread we are asking all our group members the same two big questions , in order to get to know them a bit better and understand what makes them tick when it comes to OA books.
WHY ARE OPEN ACCESS BOOKS IMPORTANT TO YOU?
HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH OA BOOKS?
Please share your thoughts with us!
- 1 July 2020 at 5:27 am EDT #33193
Books in general are important to me: they have shaped who I am, from gruesome Grimm’s tales to Ocean Vuong’s hauntingly melancholic nail salon stories. My background is in HSS, in art and architectural history, which are disciplines heavily depending on monographs as research outputs. I strongly believe that making scholarly books, especially in HSS, open can initiate some unexpected dialogues, not only between researchers, but also between readers outside of the sometimes hermetic Academia circles. Open access, if played fairly, has the potential to make previously unheard voices sing.
- 25 August 2020 at 12:08 pm EDT #36768
Because I think that giving free access to books and their content is just the continuation in the online world of what libraries have been doing for decades: give access to knowledge to everyone. Public libraries have been deemed essential to democratic societies since the 19th century and there is no reason that it changes, even though, today, open access to books is achieved through online platforms that are “libraries without walls”.
The first time I heard about the OABN was at the Elpub Conference in Marseille in 2019 and I thought it was a wonderful idea! Let’s gather the OA Books enthusiasts community!
- 1 July 2020 at 7:17 am EDT #33207
Books have always played an important role in my life as windows into the world. My work at the OAPEN Foundation is an extension of that: I hope that others also have the same experience.
Ronald Snijder, PhD
Prins Willem-Alexanderhof 5
PO Box 90407
2509 LK The Hague
——– Oorspronkelijk bericht ——–
Van: Agata Morka <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Datum: wo 1 jul. 2020 11:28
Aan: Ronald Snijder <email@example.com>
Onderwerp: [HC] re: Meet the members of the Open Access… (Open Access Books Network)
- 14 July 2020 at 7:05 am EDT #34325
Books have always mattered to me — as places to escape to, as ways to experience other points of view, and as treasure troves of knowledge and insight. Open Access is important because it enables so many more readers to engage with scholarly books. If done well — without flipping the costs from reader to author — Open Access has the capacity to make academic knowledge more accessible to everyone.
I believe this is particularly important in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. In the UK, these subjects are in danger of being overlooked and marginalised by a government that does not seem to care about them or for them. If research in these fields is more easily accessed, read and used by the world at large, it becomes harder to say they do not matter.
I became involved in Open Access publishing in 2016, when I joined Open Book Publishers.
- 23 July 2020 at 4:12 am EDT #35649
Reading books is something I personally enjoy. Books, whether these are scholarly books or non-scholarly books provide readers with an extensive and rich resource that can go into a level of detail and explore connections other formats cannot.
Books provide the author with an opportunity to tell an elaborate story, provide much needed context which certainly should be cherished as today’s world is increasingly faced with challenges such as polarisation, information bubbles and a lack of nuance. Open Access for books holds the potential to address these challenges.
As a final part of my studies, I did an internship at Knowledge Unlatched in Berlin back in 2017, where I was first exposed to the world of open access and particularly open access books.
- 24 July 2020 at 7:58 pm EDT #35879
I became involved with OA books when I was the Coordinator of the Humanities Collection Group (Huma) at the UC Santa Barbara Library. Open access publishing and scholarly communication librarianship were just beginning to trend in academic libraries. It was 2009, and it was mostly about journal publishing in STEM fields. I asked Huma members (the humanities librarians) how do schol comm and open access issues impact the humanities? We convened a study group to explore scholarly communication and open access issues related to the humanities. Targeted themes included, open access monographs, economic models, intellectual property issues, author rights, and advocacy. We uncovered a lot about the “crisis in scholarly publishing,” and how serials inflation jeopardized the library’s ability to purchase books, and adequately support humanities research and teaching on campus.
The study group ultimately grew into the Library’s Scholarly Communication Program, an education, outreach, and advocacy program to help faculty and students navigate the rapidly changing scholarly communication system. As OA book publishers began to emerge, I was both the scholarly communication librarian and Huma coordinator, which enabled me to promote OA book initiatives amongst librarians, faculty, and students; as well as advocate for library support of small independent OA presses that shared library values, created great content, and offered authors a more fulfilling mission-driven publishing experience.
Books, open access and others, have been central to my personal and professional life. I read widely and often. Professionally, I’ve avoided administrative positions so that I could continue to work directly with the content – books and other information resources. OA books are important because readers do not have to pay for them; authors retain the rights to their work; they can be shared easily, traveling far and wide, enriching people’s lives; and they provide a means for humanists to take part in the OA revolution. Open access books are labors of love.
- 5 August 2020 at 6:29 am EDT #36341
This is really interesting and powerful Sherri — I’m very curious to know how (or if) you think things have moved on since the Huma study group you were part of in the late 2000s? Has progress been made on the issues you discussed, or are we still circling around the same questions?
- 6 August 2020 at 4:42 pm EDT #36397
This is a huge question, and there are so many complex issues. Much has been achieved, but there is still so much to do. In my world – I say this because awareness, adoption and advocacy is uneven across libraries and other stakeholders – open access is a new normal, but it took a long time and a lot of education, outreach, and advocacy work to get the word out and change hearts and minds. Active engagement is still not as widespread as I’d like, but at least OA is no longer unheard of or simply the predatory publishing boogey man. Now faculty members come to the Library for assistance with publisher copyright agreements, OA Policy compliance, starting a new OA journal, finding an OA publisher for their book, and the big perennial ask, where do I get funding for APCs, BPCs, and to start a new journal?
Infrastructure issues around funding, discovery, dissemination and preservation are still critical, especially in the humanities and social sciences. However, with regard to discovery, my institution catalogs all the contents of DOAB, so that helps immensely with discovery for our users. Also, as you know, there are currently numerous projects of multi-stakeholder groups giving these issues a lot of thought, and I’m highly optimistic that after decades of dominance and control by commercial publishers that mission driven small and medium scale independent presses, and authors fed-up with the plantation capitalism of commercial publishers, will be a significant part of the future of OA book publishing.
University presses (UPs) and the academic award system are the next major hurdles; I would like to think the last, but change is a constant in scholarly communication. One trend that I see that will help UPs, which have become more and more market-driven, to return to their mission-driven roots is the trend toward presses reporting to university libraries, collaborating with libraries, or merging with libraries. Charles Watkinson has a good article about this – https://doi.org/10.1002/leap.1044 – from the North American perspective.
With regard to the academic award system, that’s on scholars to pressure administrators to recognize, even encourage, open access publications in the review process, and to require research to be evaluated based on its contents, rather than who published it, essentially outsourcing the review process to publishers. Of course, librarians are willing to assist where appropriate. With libraries battling commercial publishers, having them act as evaluation proxies sends a double message. When UC recently cancelled our contract with Elsevier, some editors of Elsevier journals were left wondering why should I continue to edit for this journal if my own library isn’t a subscriber?I only touched on a couple issues, I’d love to hear what others think about how much progress has been made, what their experiences are, and where more work needs to be done.
- This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by Sherri Barnes.
- 23 September 2020 at 11:41 am EDT #37462
So glad to see this group emerge (and was sorry to miss the launch event).
My interest in OA books started out as with my role as an OA advocate in a bundle of fields (media, communication, film studies) that span the book vs. article cultures. I started to write about these topics, and more recently founded a nonprofit, OA publishing house, mediastudies.press. I’m excited to see how this group evolves.
Only members can participate in this group's discussions.