Looking ahead to 2024 and beyond

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If 2023 was a year of consolidation for OASPA – thinking about our connections with our members and stakeholders, reviewing our areas of focus and streamlining our internal structures and operations – 2024 is planned to be a year of action and intention.

So what’s new?

Our year is already off to a determined and productive start and, you may notice, we also have a new look! Though we are excited about our new appearance and hope you like it too, primarily our new website has been rebuilt to work better. That’s for us behind the scenes, to better showcase our members, and crucially to support accessibility for users. We hope you like the new design and are able to find all of the information you need about OASPA and our activities. Do help us by letting us know if anything causes you difficulty.

One of the key pieces of work for us last year was the development of a three year strategic plan which we are kicking off in 2024. The strategy is underpinned by four aims, our statements of intent:

  1. Supporting an engaged and growing membership network
  2. OASPA demonstrates a growing membership with a diversity of models and geography, needing varying types of support. We will work to help members of the OASPA network to support and learn from one another, by continuing to offer opportunities for sub-communities to engage with each other, and by developing opportunities for members to connect and share their knowledge.

  3. Promoting equity, diversity, transparency in and through Open Access
  4. We make our time and resources available to help all applicants and members equally, although smaller entities tend to need our help the most. As a result of the time devoted to these efforts we have seen growth in smaller members joining, most often outside of Europe and North America. We continue to see this as a way that we can ensure equitable participation in the organisation itself.

Our Equity in OA workshops of last year have also paved the way for a variety of activities and events, showcasing examples from the network that foster equitable participation through a diverse range of models and infrastructures.

  1. Ensuring that members and stakeholders know OASPA’s purpose and what we do
  2. We will seek regular feedback from across the spectrum of OASPA members, ensuring that there are consistent, stable mechanisms for OASPA to communicate with member organisations and receive their input. This in turn will better inform our future activities, and our work in partnerships and external fora where we represent open access publishing.

  1. Continuing to evolve OASPA as an organisation to ensure it is relevant and effective
  2. Staying abreast of developments in open access publishing is important for developing our membership, partnerships and content. It is also crucial that OASPA is appropriately resourced as a non-profit foundation to deliver meaningful work in support of its mission and membership, supported by a robust structure and sound governance.

Why these things?

The growth of open access publishing over the course of OASPA’s life to date is remarkable.

However, whilst open access may not have created most of the challenges around equity, diversity and transparency that are witnessed in the scholarly publishing ecosystem, neither has it resolved them.

In our recent strategic review of these developments, we highlighted a series of ongoing needs:

  • promoting the growth and value of open access
  • highlighting the work being done by those promoting and supporting open access, and setting standards and best practices for open access publishing
  • creating a dedicated space where all of those who value and work to grow open access can network, build understanding, share practices, create alliances and have open conversations
  • promoting equity, diversity and transparency in the scholarly ecosystem, by the spread of open access publishing, and in open access publishing itself

Vision

In implementing this strategy over the next three years, and laying the foundation for the years beyond, we want to contribute to:

  • An open access future where there is equitable participation in open scholarly communication
  • Meeting the needs of global research community with a diverse range of publishing options and infrastructures
  • Supporting the whole ecosystem through reliable information, and transparent behaviours and practices

Priorities and focus

At its core, OASPA remains a membership organisation. It provides a valued service to its members and in providing a network for the sector as a whole, as well as providing a quality signal via its members. Whilst the growth of open access means many more representative bodies and advocacy groups naturally now discuss and provide insight on open access, OASPA remains dedicated to focusing on all forms of OA, and connecting and highlighting the work of professionals whose primary focus and practice is open access publishing. We recognise this is a diverse and complex field and feedback from our members has been an important component which has reinforced the need for OASPA to convene opportunities for knowledge sharing, networking, and broad ranging discussion incorporating different perspectives.

We now have over 230 members and supporters, a number which continues to grow year on year, covering a diverse range of publishing organisations, infrastructures, service providers and others connected with open access. Each member is unique and enriches the OASPA network. All of our members are doing something to support open access publishing and have signed up to OASPA’s mission.

As an organisation we will continue to promote best practice and ethical standards in open access publishing, whilst showcasing innovation, and the diverse business models and policies that support open access publishing today. The diversity of this network may on occasion provide challenges, but it is always stimulating and enlightening. It’s important to OASPA that discussions reflect the reality of open access, and that all who are engaged in open access publishing have opportunities to hear the full breadth of perspectives.

Activities in the coming year

An important event in our calendar is, of course, our annual conference. This year, the OASPA Annual Conference will be held in person in Lisbon, Monday September 16 – Wednesday September 18. Please save the date and look out for the call for proposals and further announcements. We will let you know as soon as registration opens.

We have heard demand for the OASPA Community to meet in person once again – and this will be the first in-person conference in five years having held the conference virtually since 2020. Holding the conference in person this year was a long considered decision taking into account many factors, including what many members have expressed to us. We hope to provide a really useful, interesting and fun event for hearing about the latest in open scholarship and for networking with and learning from colleagues.

We are aware that not everyone who wishes to attend the in-person conference will be able to, which is why we have renewed our commitment to providing our high quality, well-attended series of online open scholarship seminars (webinars) throughout the year. Though these events take a significant amount of organisation, cost and time to realise, we remain committed to delivering these to all with no cost barrier. Thank you to our Webinar Committee, sponsors and all of our speakers who give so much support, time and energy to the programme.

Our work to support Equity in OA continues this year. OASPA has developed a draft of recommended practices to help publishing organisations increase equity in open access. These recommendations are currently undergoing extensive, multi-step, internal and external review. Following review and revisions, we will be sharing our proposed recommendations for wider community feedback. We also want to engage with and hear from publishers as they adopt or consider adopting these recommendations. OASPA wishes to be a partner and helper in this process of learning and improvement.

A significant factor in driving change is the willingness of organisations engaged in OA publishing to evolve practice and increase equity in OA, and throughout 2024 we will also be amplifying Wayfinders – a compendium of examples of those already increasing equity in OA in a variety of ways. There’s a recap of our previous work in this post.

We will also continue to work collaboratively with other allied organisations on things we think are important. This includes our continued support of the OA Journals Toolkit with DOAJ, participation in the European Commission-funded DIAMAS and PALOMERA projects, working on the committees for Think. Check. Submit., C4DISC, the OA books author toolkit, and our ongoing support of OA Switchboard.

As always, we welcome ideas, questions and comments either underneath this post or by email to claire.redhead@oaspa.org

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