TAKE 5 With PALOMERA partners – Hanken School of Economics

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. In April, we talked with Mikael Laakso, Associate Professor at Hanken School of Economics.

5 questions

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself as an organisation and your role in the PALOMERA project?

I have been researching scholarly communication and open access publishing for more than ten years, so the topic area of PALOMERA aligns very well with my previous research activities. Hanken has been heavily involved in the planning and execution of the data collection processes for PALOMERA. In addition, we are also leading the ongoing work package focused on analysing the comprehensive data collected throughout the project. Our small 3-person team at Hanken, consisting of myself, Lisa Matthias, and Nataliia Bazeliuk brings together a diverse set of competencies that are well suited to tackle this challenging task.

I believe that with the combined strengths of our Hanken team and the exceptional collaborators within the project work package, we are well-positioned to conduct what I consider some of the most comprehensive and ambitious research on open access policies to date.

2. As the leader of the work package that provides the analysis methodology for the gathered OA book policies, could you tell us a bit more about the methodology used? 

The PALOMERA project has collected a wealth of data from various sources, including interviews, policies, existing literature, web survey, and bibliometrics.

This rich and complex dataset offers valuable insights from different perspectives, but also presents the challenge of integrating and synthesising information from these varied data sources, while remaining sensitive to the distinct stakeholder perspectives and the unique national contexts across the 39 countries within our scope. 

To help us navigate the vast amount of data we anticipated collecting, we decided from the very beginning of planning the project to implement PESTLE analysis as a foundational perspective. This approach guides our data collection processes all the way through to analysis and outputs, focusing on studying the key political, economic, social, technological, legal, and environmental factors and how they relate to the OA book publishing landscape.

To my knowledge, this is the first time PESTLE has been applied to research concerning science policy, and the experiences with this approach have been very promising so far.

Mikael Laakso
Mikael Laakso. Photo: Private

3. What do you hope to achieve by applying this methodology?

By considering each PESTLE factor individually, and exploring how they interact, we gain thematic control over the data, making it much easier to extract insights. The PALOMERA project is also very practical in its goals and approach, so having a relatively lightweight theoretical lens that provides a suitable way of abstracting the data to an appropriate degree is beneficial. Moreover, we hope to provide new knowledge on how PESTLE could be used in future projects within the domain of science policy. We have already made some observations that would have been helpful to consider from the start of the work. By sharing these insights, we aim to present a new comprehensive methodological approach in this field.

4. What was the number one thing that struck you so far while working on this?

I would have to say the heterogeneity of the collected OA policies, as they are all so very different in almost every aspect: their formulation, update frequency, cross-referencing of related documents, and the extent to which they address books.

I believe there are some low-hanging fruits to be harvested in promoting alignment and best practices for presenting OA policies, even without considering the actual policy implications.

Encouraging a more standardized approach to content presentation would benefit everyone active in this space. By making OA policies more predictable in their structure and format, perhaps even machine-readable, both individuals and organisations interacting with the policies would have an easier time understanding and working with them.

5.   How do you see things evolving after the project finishes?

I think we’re doing some really important foundational work in the PALOMERA project that can be leveraged through the findings and recommendations that will emerge. However, there are also numerous ways to build upon this work directly and cumulatively.

As an example, a future project could utilise the hundreds of OA policies that we’ve collected, broken down, and analysed in the project, to develop a “policy generator” web service.

Such a web page would allow various stakeholders to easily and interactively select the policy elements they would like to include in their own policies. The policy generator could then offer a range of options for expressing these provisions,  drawing from real-world examples and best practices identified in the PALOMERA project. Such a service would likely help reduce the heterogeneity of OA policy documents, and perhaps encourage policy renewal by offering straightforward recommendations for increasing the strictness and comprehensiveness of policies alongside more conservative alternatives.

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! 

Cite this blog post
ursularabar (2024, April 4). TAKE 5 With PALOMERA partners – Hanken School of Economics. OPERAS. Retrieved May 19, 2024, from https://doi.org/10.58079/w5yv

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