TAKE 5 With PALOMERA partners: LIBER
The “Take 5 with PALOMERA partners” is a blog series featuring the members of the PALOMERA project; you can get to know them in 5 questions and a quick read!
The PALOMERA project is dedicated to understanding why so few open access funder policies include books, and to provide actionable recommendations to change this situation. PALOMERA is funded for two years under the Horizon Europe: Reforming and Enhancing the European R&I System.
For the October edition, we talked with LIBER’s new Executive Director, Martine Pronk.
1. Martine, can you tell us a little bit about yourself as an organisation and how are you enjoying your new role within it?
LIBER is Europe’s largest network for Research Libraries. Early this year LIBER launched the new 2023 – 2027 strategy to serve our mission to enable world-class research. We identify three driving factors that impact research libraries: a drive for openness, new technologies that further the digital transformation, and upholding rights and values in the digital scholarly environment. Although research libraries retain their traditional function as keepers of collections, the affects of the three driving factors are a strong focus on the role of libraries in open science. Our core activities are focused on networking, learning, training, and advocacy. The LIBER community actively facilitates 10 working groups and participates in (European) projects. Furthermore, we organize events like our Annual Conference and Winter Event, the LIBER Architecture seminar, and our flagship programmes for Emerging Leaders and Library Directors.
After actively participating in the LIBER community for several years, I am extremely honoured that I was granted the opportunity to start as Executive Director last August. I look forward to working with the European library community on providing equal opportunities for all research libraries and librarians to provide high quality services for all our users. For me, this position at LIBER feels like going from one dream job at Utrecht University Library to another. Everything I have seen and learned about LIBER so far has only strengthened this feeling.
2. Given your experience working in libraries, why do you think the PALOMERA project is relevant and timely for that community?
The primary focus in the transition to Open Access has been on articles, so far. Besides articles, books are a vital form of output for several academic disciplines, like the humanities amongst others. Until now, they are underrepresented in facilitating sustainable solutions for the transition to open access. One of the components of the LIBER strategy is to advance open science by shaping and advancing open science policies and practices. The PALOMERA project promises to table policy recommendations aimed at research funders and policymakers, to maximise impact and change. Working on recommendations to speed up the process toward OA publishing of books will help libraries to serve those academic disciplines where books form a core part of research output.
3. What is LIBER’s role within the project?
For centuries libraries have been at the centre of sharing knowledge and information, and are traditionally well connected to their research community. The transition to open access has long been embraced by libraries and, in many cases, they are the initiators in their institutes of the open access and open science debate.
LIBER adds value to the PALOMERA project by opening up our network of more than 420 national, university, and specialised libraries. With members in 40 countries, we easily tap into a wealth of knowledge from across Europe.
During the project, we are in close contact with our members to give their input and feedback. For example, we have utilised our network to organise interviews and focus groups to ensure librarians have their say in the project as a key stakeholder group. Elsewhere, LIBER uses various communication channels to inform our community on project news, results, and disseminate outcomes supporting PALOMERA communication activities. As the project begins to develop results and recommendations, these outcomes will be fed back to our community in order to enable their uptake by libraries, allowing our members to further build on services for their research communities in support of open access publishing.
4. In your opinion, what is the biggest impact PALOMERA will have within the scholarly communication sphere?
Open science is drastically changing academia, as a result of the disruptive impact of digitization. Now all forms of scholarly output are ideally shared as open as possible. However, where this practice for articles is already at a very advanced stage, other forms of research output lag behind. Every form of scholarly output has its’ own specific characteristics and standards, and when it comes to books, policy and legal frameworks are not yet in place. The PALOMERA project promises to give answers to the question of why books are rarely mandated to be published OA by research funders and institutions. By gaining insights into the reasons for this situation and providing actionable recommendations, the transition to OA books and further promoting Open Science may speed up.
5. How do you see things evolving after the project finishes?
The PALOMERA project is only one piece of the puzzle to make books and other forms of scholarly output open access available. LIBER, together with our community, European partners, and stakeholders, will keep contributing to stimulate, facilitate and co-develop and manage infrastructures and practices to take Open Science to the next level.
In May 2023 the European Council adopted conclusions on the ‘high quality, transparent, open, trustworthy and equitable scholarly publishing’, in which it calls for immediate and unrestricted open access in publishing research involving public funds. The Council also calls on the Commission and the member states to support policies towards a scholarly publishing model that is not-for-profit, open access and multi-format, with no costs for authors or readers .
This paves the way to further explore new business models and infrastructures. Libraries play a vital role as partners in building and implementing solutions to facilitate open access sharing of scholarly output. And they are ready to facilitate innovative roads to Open Access that establish a default setting of diverse, inclusive and sustainable access to scholarship and research communication.
To get to know more about the PALOMERA project: visit the project’s page.
This series is produced by the Work Package 5 team from the PALOMERA project. Stay tuned for the next posts coming soon!