The Open Access Books Network (OABN) is pleased to share that it has become an OPERAS Special Interest Group (SIG), and as such it is now formally supported by OPERAS, the European Research Infrastructure supporting open scholarly communication in the social sciences and humanities (SSH) in the European Research Area. 

The OABN will continue to organise ourselves and plan our activities independently, but thanks to this affiliation with OPERAS we will receive administrative support to help us better serve our communities, and we will be able to form stronger links with people and organisations in the European open research landscape.

The OABN was officially launched in 2020 as a bottom-up initiative seeking to bring together a global open access book publishing community. It was begun by members of SPARC Europe, ScholarLed, OPERAS and the OAPEN Foundation and it is coordinated by Agata Morka (SPARC Europe), Lucy Barnes (ScholarLed) and Tom Mosterd (OAPEN). 

The OABN runs a wide range of activities, including:

To date, the OABN has run these activities thanks to staff time donated by the founding organisations, the ingenuity and dedication of our coordinators who make it all happen without a budget, the infrastructural support of Humanities Commons, and the engagement, knowledge and enthusiasm of the international OA books community who take part in our activities. We hope that our participation in OPERAS as a SIG will enable us to access additional support and to develop new relationships with OPERAS members, as well as to take the time to think more deeply with the OABN community about how the network might develop over the coming years.

Although our coordinators and founding organisations are based mostly in the UK and Europe, the OABN has always seen itself as part of a global OA network and through our events and collaborations we have links with the United States, Brazil, South Africa and New Zealand. We aim to develop this international approach further as an OPERAS SIG, and look forward to broadening our global network while we also strengthen our relationships with our European colleagues. 

The OABN Special Interest Group will meet once every 4 to 8 weeks. OPERAS members who are interested in joining this SIG are invited to do so. For non-OPERAS members interested in participating in the SIG, please get in touch with one of the coordinators at for details about how to do so.

The OABN is currently:

  • engaging with smaller university presses that are publishing OA books, and exploring whether the OABN might be a useful forum for them to meet and discuss the challenges and successes they are facing in their work;
  • interested in finding out more about developments within the Open GLAM community and how these might affect OA books, for example in unlocking more openly licensed images for publication, but also in thinking through issues such as the ethics of openness and how to achieve public engagement through open access;
  • continuing to publish new Mythbusters videos and we continue to be on the alert for interesting initiatives to highlight in our boOkmArks series of events;
  • keen to explore how the OABN might be more multilingual, and particularly how we might run bilingual events.

We look forward to participating in OPERAS as a SIG, and we warmly invite you to join us in our activities.

A graphic showing the different outputs of the OABN around a growing plant (as detailed in the blog post) with an invitation to join the OABN.
By Agata Morka, CC BY.

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