By Lucy Barnes and Silke Davison (OABN coordinators)

Over the summer we launched our (not a) survey to find out more about the OABN community: a huge thank you to everyone who shared and responded to it! Our first post concentrated on what we learned, and this post sets out how we’ll respond to what we found out.

The OABN’s structure

It’s useful here to briefly remind readers that the OABN receives no funding. It’s run primarily by two coordinators (the authors of this post) using a small amount of time donated by their organisations. We’re also supported by the active members of the OPERAS OABN Special Interest Group (which is open to join – just email us) with whom we meet every six weeks to plan our activities, and we sometimes work in collaboration with other people or organisations, such as our recent webinars with Jisc or the OABN Workouts series led by Jeroen Sondervan. We’re always open to discussing more collaborations like this, so if you have an idea for one, please email us

Given that we’re run on a voluntary basis, we’re delighted and proud that we’ve been able to create a network that people find useful, and we’ll do our best to keep improving what we do, but there are practical limitations on our time and resources – so please bear that in mind with what follows – and if there’s something you want to see us do, and you have the time to help us do it, please get in touch (this point will be reiterated throughout this post!). 

More international coverage

One of the key themes in the feedback we received is that many people want to learn more about what’s going on with OA books in different parts of the world, and some want to engage with us in languages other than English and to attend events in time zones other than those that are convenient for Europe and the Americas.

This has also been a longstanding ambition of the coordinators and SIG team, but without a budget for translation, and with a strong network in the UK and western Europe but weaker links elsewhere, it’s not been easy to realise. We’ve decided to start small and simple, and see if we can grow things from there, so: we’re going to begin by publishing a blog post that’s written in a language other than English (with English translation) and that’s about an aspect of OA book publishing in a region that’s not western Europe or North America. We’ll see where we go from there – this may be the start of a series, and we hope the beginnings of making some new connections in different parts of the world.

We’re also going to take advantage of being within the OPERAS network to make contact with the OPERAS national nodes and with the Multilingualism SIG, to find out whether we could extend the OABN’s reach to other places and languages this way.

And we’re keen to hear from you – do you primarily work in a language other than English? Would you be interested in delving into OA books in your region, whether via a blog post or other format? Are there resources on OA books in languages other than English that we’re missing? Let us know!  

Making connections

The OABN is a community network, and its biggest successes have come because that community gets involved to help, whether that’s speaking at events, writing blog posts, helping to create our resources (such as our OA Mythbusters series), participating in the SIG, or simply sharing the word to others that we exist. We’ve always tried to emphasise that we’re keen for people to get in touch with proposals for OABN resources, events, and activities – particularly if they include a commitment to help put these into action!

At the end of the survey, we asked anyone who might be willing to participate in the OABN in this way to give us their name and email address. We were delighted to receive a number of names from a range of countries, and also from different types of organisation – universities, commercial presses, non-profit and scholar-led initiatives, and more. We have now followed up with this group, and we hope that some of them will want to get more directly involved in what we do – and that by expanding the group of people who take an active role in the OABN, we will be able to share more about what’s going on in the world of OA books in different parts of the world and in a range of organisations. 

This call for participation is permanently open, so if you’d also like to get more involved, please let us know! It could simply be a one-off (e.g. write a blog post on a topic that interests you); it doesn’t have to be an ongoing commitment. But if you have an idea, do get in touch: if you want to see something, we can help you make it happen.

Continuing what works

And we aren’t going to stop doing what people appreciate about us! We’ll continue with blog posts on various topics (like our recent Publisher Spotlight series on OA books platforms) and events exploring new, urgent, or fascinating aspects of OA book publishing. We’re also going to look at whether we can improve our website to make it easier to follow what we do. And any new blog posts, events, or announcements will always be shared via our Mailing List – so it’s a handy digest of our activities. Make sure to sign up here!

Finally, THANK YOU for a) reading to the end of these posts and b) being a part of the OABN. We hope to keep growing the network and making it more useful to share knowledge, best practices, and advance open access for books!

Missed it? Read part one of this post.

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