Open Access Books Network
The Open Access Books Network (OABN) Special Interest Groups is an open and free network for anyone interested in Open Access books. The OABN offers a dedicated space where the Open Access books community can come together to engage around how the future of open access book publishing is taking shape in the form of events, resources, discussion boards and more.
Objective of the Special Interest Group
The OABN is an open and bottom-up initiative bringing together a global community of individuals interested in open access book publishing, including publishers, researchers, librarians and other stakeholders. It advocates for open access book publishing, collates news, views and developments specifically relevant for OA books and connects a global community in the form of blogs, events, workshops and other activities.
The transition to open access publishing for books and journals, a key aspect of open scholarly communication, is taking place at different speeds. Academic book publishing has its own set of needs, challenges and opportunities to successfully become part of a thriving open scholarly communications landscape, which frequently differ from those faced by journal publishing. As a mode of scholarly communication, the academic book is vital for research communities, especially in SSH subjects. It is typically viewed as the most significant publication format within these disciplines, rather than the journal article – particularly as, for these subjects, the long-form writing process is often a way to develop the research, and not only a way to communicate it. It is therefore essential that books are published open access in an equitable and affordable way, so that we do not create a future in which STEM research is openly available, while SSH publications are locked away.
The main purpose of the OABN is to act as a place to bring together people who are interested in open access books for the purposes of knowledge-sharing, discussion, and exploring new ideas. We are currently:
- engaging with smaller university presses that are publishing OA books, and exploring whether the OABN might be a useful forum for them to meet and discuss the challenges and successes they are facing in their work;
- interested in finding out more about developments within the Open GLAM community and how these might affect OA books, for example in unlocking more openly licensed images for publication, but also in thinking through issues such as the ethics of openness and how to achieve public engagement through open access;
- continuing to publish new Mythbusters videos;
- highlighting interesting initiatives to highlight in our boOkmArks series of events;
- and we are keen to explore how the OABN might be more multilingual, and particularly how we might run bilingual events.
A brief history
The idea for the Open Access Books Network was born in 2019. During the ElPub conference, a group of OA book experts were discussing all things OA books. If only we could do this more often, they thought!
Well here, they do.
Officially launched in 2020 by members of SPARC Europe, ScholarLed, OPERAS and the OAPEN Foundation, the OABN is coordinated by Agata Morka (SPARC Europe), Lucy Barnes (ScholarLed) and Tom Mosterd (OAPEN). The OABN runs a wide range of activities, including its boOkmArks events exploring new developments in OA books, a workshop series examining policy options for OA books, its OA Mythbusters video collection, OA Workouts talks featuring authors discussing their OA publications, and discussion forums including our Humanities Commons boards and our Open Cafe events.
To date, the OABN has run these activities thanks to staff time donated by the founding organisations, the ingenuity and dedication of its coordinators who make things happen without a budget, the infrastructural support of Humanities Commons, and the engagement, knowledge and enthusiasm of the international OA books community who participate in our activities. We hope that our participation in OPERAS as a SIG will enable us to access additional support, generate new ideas and develop stronger relationships with OPERAS members, and to take the time to think more deeply with the OABN community about how the network might play a role in the future of open access books over the coming years.
The OABN is an open network, which invites the community to participate in and help to direct its activities. It is a loosely organised network, where we interact with our communities in different ways, including (but not limited to) our website, Humanities Commons, Twitter, YouTube, our Mailing List and our events. Our coordinating team can be found listed on our website and the members of our Humanities Commons group can be found here. You may email the coordinators at email@example.com to get in touch directly, but you are also warmly invited to join the network and to participate in our activities. The coordinators are Tom Mosterd, Lucy Barnes and Agata Morka.
Special Interest Group Members
Lucy Barnes – Open Book Publishers, Coordinator Open Access Books Network
Lucy Barnes is Editor and Outreach Coordinator at Open Book Publishers, a leading independent non-profit Open Access book publisher. She does outreach work for COPIM (Community-led Open Publication Infrastructures for Monographs) and for the ScholarLed consortium. You can find her on Twitter @alittleroad.
Silke Davison – Community Manager at OAPEN and the DOAB, Coordinator Open Access Books Network
Silke Davison is Community Manager at OAPEN and the DOAB, where she is responsible for the development of and engagement with their library communities, seeking to promote and support the transition to open access for academic books. Prior to this, she worked at Frontiers and Springer Nature, and completed an MA in Publishing at UCL.
Agata Morka – SPARC Europe, Coordinator Open Access Books Network
Agata Morka holds a PhD in Architectural History from the University of Washington, where she completed her dissertation on contemporary French train stations. For the past ten years she has been working with OA books. She is currently working as Communications Specialist at SPARC Europe.
Andrea Hacker – University Library, Bern
Andrea Hacker joined the Open Science Team of the University Library Bern in 2018 where she focuses on issues of financing Open Access and building new infrastructure for Open Access content. This includes Bern Open Publishing (BOP) which recently began to publish books. She has 15 years of experience in open access scholarly publishing. From 2008 to 2018 she worked at Heidelberg University where she built an open access journal and an open access book series; she also significantly contributed to the establishment of heiUP (Heidelberg University Publishing).
Andreas Ferus – Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna
Claire Redhead – Open Access Scholarly Publishing Association (OASPA)
Claire Redhead is Executive Director of OASPA, a membership organisation representing a diverse community of organisations engaged in open scholarship, including open access books, journals, infrastructures and service providers. Claire has worked for over 20 years in academic publishing, with the past decade focused on open access at OASPA and leading the organisation since 2016. Claire sits on a number of working groups and committees to represent the views of the open access publishing community and is Chair of the OA Switchboard.
Fulvio Guatelli – Firenze University Press
Fulvio Guatelli, PhD, Director of Firenze University Press (www.fupress.com), was seduced in his youth by the philosophy of Bertrand Russell, the philosophy of language and logic. With the approach of a philosopher he took an interest in the mechanisms of academic publishing and the development of new criteria for assessment and dissemination of science. Since 2006 he has been working at Firenze University Press where he has been able to experiment pioneering activities in the field of academic publishing. He has conceived the project “FUP Scientific Cloud for Books” in which the new digital book is characterized by a deep interaction between content and metadata capable of ensuring high indexes of dissemination and impact of monographs. Publications: https://www.unifi.it/p-doc2-2017-000000-G-3f2b3a30382a2f-0.html.
Graham Stone – Jisc
Graham Stone is Jisc’s subject matter expert for OA monographs. He is the lead for communications on OA monographs within Jisc and with members and stakeholders and is responsible for developing and managing strategic relationships in the UK and internationally. Before joining Jisc, he worked in the university sector for 23 years managing library resources budgets, OA services and a University Press.
Iva Melinscak Zlodi – University of Zagreb Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Jeroen Sondervan – Utrecht University
Jeroen Sondervan is the open access publishing consultant for Utrecht University. Jeroen has over 15 years of experience working in scholarly publishing. From 2007 until 2016 he worked as a commissioning editor for Amsterdam University Press. In the past years he gained lots of experience with open access monographs and journals especially in the field of humanities and social sciences. From 2015 and onwards he works as an open access publishing consultant for Utrecht University. In 2019 he was appointed as open access project leader within the UU Open Science program. He is a member of the Knowledge Exchange Open Access Group, the Dutch library consortium OA working group and LIBER OA working group.
Niels Stern – OAPEN Foundation
Niels Stern is director of OAPEN and DOAB. He began his career in scholarly book publishing in 2003 and became a co-founder of the OAPEN project in 2008. Since 2014 Niels Stern has acted as independent expert for the European Commission on open science and e-infrastructures. From 2017 to 2021 he was head of licence management at the Royal Danish Library and chief negotiator for the Danish national licence consortium.
Rupert Gatti – Open Book Publishers
Dr Rupert Gatti is a co-founder and co-Director of Open Book Publishers. He is a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, where he is a Director of Studies in Economics. His published academic work includes microeconomic analysis of competition in online markets, game theory and search theory. He has been involved in a number of UK- and EU-funded OA book initiatives (including the HIRMEOS project and the COPIM project) and sits on the OA Book advisory board for UKRI as well as a range of Open Access initiatives. Dr Gatti is also a frequently invited speaker on the OA movement.
Vanessa Proudman – SPARC Europe
Vanessa Proudman is Director of SPARC Europe; she is working to make Open the default in Europe. She has 20 years of international experience working on Open Access, Open Science, Open Culture and Open Education with many leading universities and libraries worldwide from over 20 countries. She is an experienced project and programme manager of EC projects for universities, their libraries, for foundations and led a dept of info and IT at a UN-European region research organisation for well over 10 years.
Sharla Lair serves as a Senior Strategist of Open Access and Scholarly Communication Initiatives at LYRASIS. Since 2015, Sharla’s role at LYRASIS has been to negotiate the best pricing and licensing terms for the products and services available to LYRASIS members as well as seek out new programs that demonstrate transformative influence in the scholarly communication landscape. She is particularly interested in better understanding the dynamics around making scholarly publishing more sustainable through explorations in community building, open access, and building more equitable and inclusive revenue models. Sharla serves on several working groups and committees and is Chair of the Open Access eBook Usage Data Trust Board of Trustees.