Voices from the OA Books Community Summary: The Great Polyphony

At the end of May 2021 the most significant series of events hosted by the Open Access Books Network so far, Voices from the OA Books Community, came to an end. The series, initiated in November 2020 at the OPERAS conference, was devoted to exploring different aspects of policy for OA books, to gather thorough and wide-ranging feedback from the community that could inform the forthcoming Plan S guidance for books. We discussed funding models, policy scope, quality assurance, green OA, discoverability and metadata, rights retention, and licensing.

The OABN was thrilled to see that the series attracted a large number of stakeholders, with voices coming from different backgrounds and economic and geographical circumstances. In all, we gathered around 450 participants — publishers, funders, OA policymakers, researchers, librarians, and infrastructure providers – from Europe to the US to Latin America. This exceptional attendance proved that the research community is engaged and willing to take action when it comes to shaping a Plan S policy for OA books. 

We listened to a great polyphony of voices and recorded them in notes, videos, and automated transcripts. Based on this material, SPARC Europe collated the evidence to produce a document that we think reflects all the diverse voices we heard, whilst organising and summarising the main areas of agreement or contention. In this process, the priority was to record all the voices as truthfully as possible. 

We are happy to present you with the outcomes of these efforts today. Drafts of the summarizing document and an introduction highlighting key takeaways, are available here and will remain open until 12 August 2021. After that time, SPARC Europe will prepare the final version of the document, which will be presented to cOAlition S in early September 2021.

We would like to thank all participants for sharing their thoughts in lively discussions, for challenging each other, and trying to find a path forward for OA books as a community. We would also like to thank our invited speakers, as well as colleagues who helped us to organise the sessions and without whom they would not have been possible. It was a pleasure for the OABN to host these events.

In case of questions please contact info@sparceurope.org.