Adding a Digital Humanities bit to the OA book funding landscape: DARIAH is launching an annual OA monograph bursary for Early Career Researchers in Digital Humanities

This post, written by Dr. Erzsébet Tóth-Czifra, the Open Science Officer at DARIAH-EU is an introduction to the next event in the ‘BoOkmArks: Open Conversations About OA Books’ series. A live session, open to all, will be held via this Zoom link on Tuesday 23rd March at 16:00 CET/ 15:00 GMT/11:00 ET, when we will interview Erzsébet about the DARIAH bursary for OA monographs for ECRs in Digital Humanities. If you have questions for Erzsébet, please add them to the comments section below so they can be included in the conversation on 23rd March — and join us at the event if you can! A recording will be available afterwards via our YouTube channel.

I went to a ‘publishing in the humanities’ day and the panel of academics were very keen on saying that they didn’t rely on impact factors but no one could answer a PhD student in the audience who wanted to know how you knew where to publish apart from ‘you just find out’.” (Em Nunn 2019, tweet)

Exploring and supporting pathways to the open research culture for Arts and Humanities scholars is among the strategic commitments of DARIAH, and therefore we do our best to sufficiently address questions like the one above, and find solutions that fit best the specific circumstances of those who ask them. One of the most complex and most challenging scenarios that we regularly encounter in our open research and Open Access advocacy practice is finding pathways for publishing one’s first monograph Open Access.

One source of difficulties is that in the current European OA funding landscape, we see a big gap that disproportionately and seriously affects those who wish to publish their first monograph Open Access. Although there is an increasing support from science funders to extend their OA mandates to books, and to cover the costs of Book Publishing Charges as parts of research grants, first monographs typically come from PhD dissertations, not externally funded research projects. Likewise, even though some of the research institutions have transformative agreements and/or institutional Open Access funds in place, these are not always available for non-permanent (or non-tenured) faculty members and even if so, they usually do not cover the whole publication charges (BPCs) of a monograph published in the book series that is topically the most relevant to Early Career Researchers (ECRs).

Early Career Researchers under double pressure

This gap in the OA funding structures is not the only difficulty ECRs are facing when they wish to publish their first monograph Open Access. A well-known and frequently voiced challenge is that due to the very strong influence of the  prestige economy on the current academic tenure and promotion criteria, in most cases, young scholars still need to choose between their academic career prospects vs. publishing in fair Open Access venues (and all the societal, economic and scholarly benefits that come with it). Therefore, it is clear that in parallel to our ongoing efforts and commitments of different kinds to change this situation for the better and enable the full transition of scholarly communication to responsible and community-driven means of Open Access on a systemic level,  we also need to provide immediate help to ECRs to enable them to start from a strong position in terms of formal assessment but also to practice their ethical devotion and establish themselves as scholars who significantly contribute  to the fair and open research culture.

The DARIAH OA monograph bursary aims to serve as a modest but immediate contribution to ease the current anomalies and support those who are the less privileged in this respect but could possibly achieve the biggest change in academic culture and beyond. 

The planned bursary is a very small step to this direction as we are planning to fund one monograph per year but hopefully in the future, other actors will be willing to form a coalition to support the initiative and make it bigger. 

Small but immediate help with safeguards for fair Open Access

To help scholars balance these conflicting expectations, we also need to strive for a balance between giving them freedom to publish their work OA at a venue of their choice based on topical relevance (e.g. in the book series their work would most naturally belong)  vs. preventing the DARIAH OA monograph fund from feeding profits of big, commercial players. To achieve this.

  1. We decided on a price cap of 7000 EUR per book that clearly keeps publishing service providers operating with huge profit out of eligibility  but does not exclude venues that are interesting for scholars due to the topical relevance. Detailed funding conditions and eligibility criteria will be discussed during the OABN meeting and will be published afterwards in early April.
  2. We need to prepare recommendations, advocacy materials (e.g. blog posts with both scholars and publishers reporting their own experiences) to connect scholars with innovative and fair players as well as a white list of fair and scholar-led publishers whose operation and pricing is transparent. Innovative publishing solutions, eg. networked monographs, data sharing, XML format, the integration of TEI encodings etc. will also be encouraged.

Opening the discourse and coordinating with allies

It is important to highlight that DARIAH’s efforts to help optimizing Open Access publishing to Arts and Humanities scholars’ needs are not becoming realized in an isolated space but instead, are embedded in a support network where sister infrastructures like OPERAS and actors from different sectors are joining forces and coordinate to make the most from both their individual and collective contributions to the responsible and open scholarly communication in the Social Science and Humanities.

In a dedicated OA Books Network meeting, we would be honoured to lend the rich expertise of the OABN network and open up a consultation about specific details of the bursary to make sure that we do it right. In the broader context of challenges around publishing first monographs OA we wish to discuss:

  1. The best possible implementation of the bursary (e.g. how to define fairness in the context of OA monograph publishing; whether the price cap is sensible; whether our implementation framework is sensible and is close to publishing realities; which advocacy materials and infrastructural components that might be worthwhile to refer to in the campaign (such as the OAPEN toolkit)
  2. Exploring other, complementary support structures (e.g. if publishers have special offers to ECRs in place, or landscaping other funding frameworks)
  3. If time allows, it might be worthwhile to continue the ongoing discussion taking place in the OA Books Network about openness and PhD theses.

Implementation plan and the eligibility criteria of the funding program is expected to be published with the official call, to be launched in early April 2021.

 

 

A platform for inclusivity

This post, written by Dr. Reggie Raju (Director Research and Learning Services) & Jill Claassen (Scholarly Communications & Research) both from the University of Capetown Libraries, is an introduction to the next event in the ‘BoOkmArks: Open Conversations About OA Books’ series. A live session, open to all, will be held via this Zoom link on Tuesday 2th March at 16:00 CET/ 15:00 GMT/10:00 ET, when we will interview Reggie & Jill about a continental platform for open research in Africa. If you have questions for Reggie & Jill, please add them to the comments section below so they can be included in the conversation on 2th March — and join us at the event if you can! A recording will be available afterwards via our YouTube channel.

Continue reading “A platform for inclusivity”

mediastudies.press: A conversation with founder Jeff Pooley

This post, written by Jeff Pooley (professor of media & communication at Muhlenberg College and director of mediastudies.press), is an introduction to the next event in the ‘BoOkmArks: Open Conversations About OA Books’ series. A live session, open to all, will be held via this Zoom link on Tuesday 26th January at 16:00 CET/ 15:00 GMT/10:00 ET, when we will interview Jeff about the founding and first year of mediastudies.press. If you have questions for Jeff, please add them to the comments section below so they can be included in the conversation on 26th January — and join us at the event if you can! A recording will be available afterwards via our YouTube channel.

by Jeff Pooley

I’m looking forward to joining the BoOkmArks conversation next week. In advance of the discussion, I thought I would introduce the main project that I’ll be talking about, mediastudies.press. Continue reading “mediastudies.press: A conversation with founder Jeff Pooley”

Open Access Tracking Project (OATP) – Tagging help by OABN

Background

The Open Access Tracking Project (OATP), is a crowd-sourced social tagging project that runs on open-source software. It harnesses the power of the community to capture news and comment on open access (OA) in every academic field and region of the world. We want to help expand its coverage of OA books — and you can help! Continue reading “Open Access Tracking Project (OATP) – Tagging help by OABN”

2020 with OABN

We have come a long way from what started as a post-conference conversation in a bar in Marseille back in the summer of 2019, where the idea of creating a network for the OA books community was first discussed. The Open Access Books Network was formally launched in September and, as this strange year comes to a close, we wanted to have a look back at some of the OABN 2020 highlights. 

Great expectations

The Open Access Books Network officially launched in the fall and it did so with fireworks (well, we tried to be as festive as possible under the circumstances). On September 15th we cut a symbolic ribbon live on screen, welcoming our virtual guests in the OA books community. It was great to see so many familiar and new faces at the event!  Continue reading “2020 with OABN”

Financing change: KU Leuven’s Fair OA Fund

This post, written by Demmy Verbeke (Head of KU Leuven Libraries Artes), is an introduction to the next event in the ‘BoOkmArks: Open Conversations About OA Books’ series. A live session will be held via this Zoom link on 8th December at 16:00 CET/ 15:00 GMT/10:00 ET, when we will interview Demmy about KU Leuven’s Fair OA Fund. If you have questions for Demmy, please add them to the comments section below so they can be included in the conversation on 8th December — and join us at the event if you can!

by Demmy Verbeke

If you want change, try something new.

This seems comically simple advice, but it is advice that universities, worldwide, seem unable or unwilling to follow when it comes to building and maintaining the infrastructure for scholarly communication. The first reason to want change is the cost of this infrastructure, which has been considered problematic since the beginning of the twentieth century, and which has only risen since, high above the rate of inflation.

Secondly, concerns have been raised over and over again about how research output (and particularly how an individual scholar or an institution making use of scholarly communication infrastructure) has become intertwined with research assessment, and that the methods used for this assessment do not align with scholarly values. One example: assessing an individual scholar by the press where he or she publishes, which, in essence, equals outsourcing judgment to an external party who is not focused on assessing the quality of the work but its commercial potential. Continue reading “Financing change: KU Leuven’s Fair OA Fund”

Reassembling Scholarly Communications. Histories, Infrastructures, and Global Politics of Open Access. BoOkmArks session with Martin Paul Eve on November 23rd.

This post, written by Prof. Martin Paul Eve, is an introduction to the next episode of the ‘BoOkmArks: Open Conversations About OA Books’ series. A live session will be held via this Zoom link on November 23rd at 16:00 CET / 15:00 GMT/10AM ET, when we will interview Martin, the co-editor of a newly published book on open access: Reassembling Scholarly Communications. Histories, Infrastructures, and Global Politics of Open Access. If you have questions for Martin, please add them to the comments section below so they can be included in the conversation on November 23rd — and join us at the event if you can! 

by Martin Paul Eve

It can be easy to forget, in the maelstrom of policy compliance, that open access is, at its heart, about the fundamental good of scholarly communications. Too often, we lose sight of why we are doing open access as we are bogged down in the how. Indeed, the ‘how’s of funder mandates, article processing charges, embargo periods, and other procedural elements have frequently led to a situation where the first encounter that researchers have with open access is negative, a mere demand for conformity, rather than a celebration of the possibilities of free-to-read and free-to-reuse, peer-reviewed knowledge. Continue reading “Reassembling Scholarly Communications. Histories, Infrastructures, and Global Politics of Open Access. BoOkmArks session with Martin Paul Eve on November 23rd.”

OPERAS: the European Infrastructure for Research in SSH. BoOkmArks session with Pierre Mounier on November 10th

This post is an introduction to the next episode of the BoOkmArks: Open Conversations About OA Books series. A live session will be held via this Zoom link on November 10th at 16:00 CEST / 15:00 BST, when we will interview Pierre Mounier, OPERAS Coordinator, OpenEdition Associate Director  and the DOAB Co-Director, about the OPERAS project. If you have questions for Pierre, please add them to the comments section below so they can be included in the conversation on November 10th — and join us at the event if you can! 

OPERAS (Open Scholarly Communication in the European Research Area for Social Sciences and Humanities) is a project funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, aiming at advancing open scholarly communication in the SSH area. A project of considerable scale, OPERAS is governed by three Assemblies, has over 40 members, with the core members responsible for developing the project’s strategy representing different countries across Europe: France, UK, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Greece, Croatia, Slovenia and Portugal. Continue reading “OPERAS: the European Infrastructure for Research in SSH. BoOkmArks session with Pierre Mounier on November 10th”