Silke Davison is the newest coordinator of the Open Access Books Network. Here, she introduces herself to the OABN!

A blonde woman in a white flowery top, smiling

Hi there!

I’m Silke, the new Community Manager at the OAPEN Foundation and the DOAB. It’s my responsibility to support the development of and engagement with our library community and I’m really excited to be part of this team. I’ll also be supporting Lucy and Agata with the coordination of the Open Access Books Network.

My journey with books began from a small age and has been (thus far) a lifelong fascination. I’m a great lover of fiction and could go on for hours about my favourite novels (as I’m sure many of you could too), but these aren’t really the sort of books we’re here to talk about (although I’m sure we can have conversations about them offline instead!). 

I always had a connection to books in one way or another over the years, whether it was in school or when I started my undergraduate degree in Classics at Swansea University in South Wales (UK). I then went on to study Publishing (yes, that’s a real thing), completing a Masters at the University College London, and it’s there I received my first proper introduction into the academic publishing world, where I’ve remained ever since (disregarding a three-month travel period around SouthEast Asia before starting in the OA Books team at Springer Nature). I wrote my dissertation on open access growth in China and after my Masters, I spent a few months at Wiley on an Internship, ending up at Springer Nature, which is how I came to know about the DOAB and OAPEN. 

I took a brief hiatus from book publishing, working in operations for Springer Nature’s Transformative Agreements, and moved to Frontiers to work in their Institutional Partnerships team, but am pleased to say now I’m back to books and here to stay (it was always my intention)!

Open access and open science is the direction scholarly communication has moved in for the last couple of decades, and in all honesty, a younger, surprisingly savvy me thought it was best to start my career in that part of the business if I want to be in it for the long term. However, what keeps me drawn to open access (aside from all the lovely people, of course) is my passion for sustainability and the environment, and an equal and fair society; both topics that can be characterised through open access. 

I enjoy that through working for an open access infrastructure service provider, I’m helping contribute to the dissemination of knowledge and the advancement of society through research. (If I’d been born with a different brain maybe I’d have been on the other side but alas…).

But why OA books? I always loved the conversation around OA for books and the different challenges they face in comparison to journals, especially in the Humanities and Social Sciences where longform publications are the standard, and coming from a HSS background myself, I can identify better with this community.

I’m thrilled to join the OABN and eager to continue facilitating discussions alongside Lucy and Agata on what’s hot in the OA books world. I’m looking forward to connecting with the different groups represented in the network as we work toward making open access the norm for academic books, and putting together some super interesting and informative events and content with and for you all. 

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