We have come a long way from what started as a post-conference conversation in a bar in Marseille back in the summer of 2019, where the idea of creating a network for the OA books community was first discussed. The Open Access Books Network was formally launched in September and, as this strange year comes to a close, we wanted to have a look back at some of the OABN 2020 highlights. 

Great expectations

The Open Access Books Network officially launched in the fall and it did so with fireworks (well, we tried to be as festive as possible under the circumstances). On September 15th we cut a symbolic ribbon live on screen, welcoming our virtual guests in the OA books community. It was great to see so many familiar and new faces at the event! 

A room of our own

We wanted OABN to have a virtual home. We have chosen the Humanities Commons platform to host us and we have set up the OABN group there. With its numerous functionalities, the site, among other things, enables us to maintain an event calendar, set up discussion threads, store a document library, and upload blog posts. Thank you for your engagement on the site! 

In order to make sure that we can effectively communicate with the OA books community we have also opened a Twitter account and kept the existing Slack channel. To add to that, all recordings from the OA books events can be found on our YouTube channel. 

*Do not fear, we are not planning on posting selfies on Instagram anytime soon!

The (un)bearable lightness of Zooming

2020 has forced all of us to enter the reality of virtual meetings. We tried different approaches to make the best out of this situation, organising both online conversations on specific topics and inviting people to casual virtual coffees for more free-flow discussions. 

The boOkmArks series (Open Conversation About Open Access Books) took off in October. We have run six sessions so far, talking to our guests about a variety of topics. From newly published books on OA and the future of scholarly communication, through an OA books toolkit for authors, white papers on OA book usage, OA tagging projects, European OA infrastructures for HSS, to funds for fair OA: we have discussed different aspects of OA books, seen from different perspectives. Our guests have taken us on an inspiring journey this year!

On the road 

The OABN is still a very young player in the OA books scene and more than anything else, it is shaped by the OA community itself. We very much hope that you will help us to continue developing this project. Thank you for being a big part of it so far, for showing up to the events (a HUGE shout-out to Eric!!!!!) and asking hard questions.

If you would like to share your ideas about what OABN activities you would like to see in the coming year, please tell us your thoughts in the comments section below or email us at info@oabooksnetwork.org. We would also love to hear what you consider to be a highlight of 2020 with the OABN. 

We wish you a very happy, calm festive season. 

Be merry and read books!

Be merry and publish OA!








Lucy Barnes, Tom Mosterd, and Agata Morka (the OABN coordinators)


CC BY 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.