What should a Plan S for books look like? This is a question we’ve been thinking about at the Open Access Books Network (OABN) — and we want to hear from as many members of the OA books community as possible as we seek to answer it.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably familiar with Plan S, the policy developed by a group of funders in the form of cOAlition S to ‘make full and immediate Open Access to research publications a reality’. It currently applies only to journal articles based on research funded by its signatories, but books will be included in the near future: ‘cOAlition S will, by the end of 2021, issue a statement on Plan S principles as they apply to monographs and book chapters, together with related implementation guidance.’
The academic book publishing community is a broad, diverse and complex landscape. If we look only at the UK’s national research assessment exercise, the REF, in 2014 there were 1,180 unique publishers associated with the books submitted to Panel D (Arts and Humanities), and the top 10 publishers made up less than 50% of submissions — which gives an indication of the breadth and variety of academic book publishers operating today, and the extent to which the publication of long-form research depends on a large number of different presses rather than one or two dominant players. Academic book publishing varies across countries and continents — compare, for example, the strong university press culture in the US with the more distributed network embodied by SciELO Livros in Latin America.
At the OABN, we believe it is important that a range of perspectives should feed into a Plan S for books, reflecting the varied nature of the academic book community: its different approaches, range of business models, multiple ways of working and diverse contributions to the dissemination of long-form scholarly work.
How can we achieve this?
To contribute to this goal, we are planning a series of free-to-attend virtual workshops over March, April and May. These discussion-based events are open to all and will bring together as many members of the OA books community as possible, via the Open Access Books Network, to analyse different areas of policy for Open Access books. These discussions will feed into a policy document that will be created by SPARC Europe, and presented to cOAlition S as they consider a Plan S for books.
Session 1: March 30th 2-4pm BST/3-5PM CEST: Introduction to the Series & Scope Sprint (lead: Agata Morka) (sign up here)
Session 2: April 13th 2-4pm BST/3-5PM CEST: Quality assurance and transparency (lead: Jeroen Sondervan) (sign up here)
Session 3: April 27th 2-4pm BST/3-5PM CEST: Green OA for books (lead: Niels Stern) (sign up here)
Session 4: May 11th 2-4pm BST/3-5PM CEST: Discoverability and metadata (lead: Rupert Gatti) (sign up here)
Session 5: May 25th 2-4pm BST/3-5PM CEST: Rights retention and licensing (lead: Vanessa Proudman) (sign up here)
Each event has a different theme — from rights retention and licensing, to Green OA, discovery and metadata, and quality assurance and transparency. Based on a successful workshop that took place in November 2020 the events will combine discussion with a ‘doc sprints’ approach in which different views are recorded on an open document, which will also be circulated after the event for comments from anyone who could not attend the event itself.
This feedback will then be synthesised into a single document in a process led by SPARC Europe, and submitted to cOAlition S for their consideration when developing a policy that focuses on OA books. The open documents generated at the doc sprints will also be openly available for consultation.
Our objective is to provide a platform to allow a broad range of academic book publishers and stakeholders to make their views heard on a range of policy questions related to Open Access books. We don’t anticipate that everyone will agree on all questions, but we think it is important to bring together a number of voices from within the Open Access book publishing community to discuss these issues together, so that we can supply a document for the consideration of cOAlition S that has been developed after exploring a range of perspectives.
Please share the details with anyone you think would be interested: we are keen to include as many members of the Open Access books community as possible.
What do I need to know?
Who is organising this?
These events are being run by the Open Access Books Network (OABN), which is coordinated by members of OAPEN, OPERAS, ScholarLed and SPARC Europe. The OABN is free to join and open to anyone interested in Open Access books, although you don’t need to be a member of the Network to join these events.
When and where will the events happen and how can I find out about them?
Details about the events can be found on the Open Access Books Network website. You can sign up to attend any or all of the sessions via Eventbrite, which will ensure you receive email reminders about the events. They will all be held online and they will all be free to attend and open to everyone.
How can I contribute at the events?
There will be discussion sessions at the events, as well as the opportunity to contribute to notes made during the session.
How can I contribute if I can’t attend the events?
The notes from each session will be openly available for additional thoughts and comments for a period of at least two weeks after the event has taken place. The link to the notes will be available via the OABN.
What will you do with our input after the events?
The notes will be synthesised into a single document in a process led by SPARC Europe, and submitted to cOAlition S for their consideration when developing a policy that focuses on OA books. The open documents generated at the doc sprints will also be openly available for consultation.
Sign up to the events and share the details as widely as possible — we hope to see you there!
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.