Take 5 with PALOMERA partners – OASPA

The “Take 5 with PALOMERA partners” blog series features the members of the PALOMERA project; you can get to know them with five 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 May, we talked with Claire Redhead, Executive Director of OASPA (Open Access Scholarly Publishing Association).

5 questions

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself as an organisation?

OASPA is a not-for-profit foundation representing a diverse community of organisations engaged in open scholarship. Members of our community cover all sizes and shapes of open access publishing across all disciplines, and the infrastructures and services that support them. 

OASPA has a mission to enable open access as the predominant model for scholarly outputs and is committed to developing and disseminating solutions that advance Open Access and ensure a diverse, vibrant, and healthy OA community globally. Our vision is an Open Access future that has equity and transparency at the core. 

OASPA promotes best practices and ethical standards in open access publishing, applying rigorous criteria and in-depth review to membership and actively collaborating on important standard-raising scholarly communication initiatives. We devote time and resources, in particular, to supporting small publishing organisations in meeting best practices.

We also convene the open access community and key stakeholders to discuss and progress key issues to move open access forward through our annual conference, and by offering a program of free-to-attend virtual seminars. You can read more about the scope of our activities here.

2. What is your role in the PALOMERA project?

OASPA is involved in 2 work packages for PALOMERA, and our input falls into 3 main areas: supporting communication and outreach about the project and fostering engagement from the open access publishing community; helping to shape the discussion themes for the Funder Forum; and developing recommendations for publishers that align with the overall aims of the project. 

Essentially, our role is to drive awareness of the project for publishing organisations, and also to make sure the project stays connected to what open access publishers are doing and keeping expectations reasonable and manageable. Communication between open access stakeholders is really important, and more so for open access books because the situation is so different to that of journals. 

Claire Redhead. Photo: Private

3. Given the type of organisations you collaborate with, why is the PALOMERA project relevant and timely?

It’s no secret that the open access book publishing is growing, but it is still lagging behind open access journals publishing. Part of the the reason for this is that the production of open access books is far more intensive in terms of time and cost. However, it’s in open access book publishing that we’ve seen some of the more innovative approaches to funding open access collectively. There is some really exciting experimentation going on and initiatives that are getting people to think creatively about how open access can be supported. 

Policy has played an important role in developing open access journal publishing over the last few years, but still, policy for open access books is somewhat slower to develop. This relates to a need for a greater understanding of open access book publishing and the importance of long-form scholarly outputs.

There’s a real opportunity within the PALOMERA project to both support funders and, at the same time, to find out more about where the sticking points and challenges are for them. The project will help us all understand what policy for open access book publishing looks like across Europe, where the gaps are, and where support and guidance are needed.

4. Following the recent changes in the OA policy landscape (one example being the UKRI open access policy for long-form outputs that went live on 1 January 2024), how do you think PALOMERA can help in future policy formulation?

The UKRI policy is a good example of how one decisive action can have a much broader impact than its main target. The policy’s launch has been really important for supporting open access book publishing – not just the policy itself but the details around it. UKRI has been incredibly consultative in the development of the policy and, through this process, has fostered critical conversations and practical work to support implementation and ensure the policy is as successful as it can be. It’s a huge help to everyone when decisions and processes are shared openly. 

In this same vein, the development of the Funder Forum and the Knowledge Base through PALOMERA is crucial. They give funders a bank of resources to refer to and give the project consortium a view on aspects of policy development that can be shared to provide specific guidance to funders. Supporting that, the funder forum provides a focal point for discussions, for teasing out those key challenges, and begins to create a network specifically for open access book policy.

5. How do you see things evolving after 2024 and once the PALOMERA project finishes?

At a very basic level, the PALOMERA project puts open access book publishing and its structural support more firmly on the map. While the knowledge base will provide valuable evidence as policies develop, the most enduring thing will likely be the continuation of discussions around policy and funding that this project has triggered. 

It will be important that those of us who want to see successful open access book publishing continue to build on the momentum gathered here. Ultimately, there’s a collective responsibility to keep the spotlight on open access books beyond the end of the project and to foster understanding throughout the community on how policy, funding and publishing of open access books need to converge to ensure things move further forward beyond 2024.

To learn 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! 

Cite this blog post
Lore Caliman (2024, May 8). Take 5 with PALOMERA partners – OASPA. OPERAS. Retrieved May 18, 2024, from https://doi.org/10.58079/11nk2

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