OA Switchboard initiative: progress report January 2020

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The OA Switchboard aims to facilitate the fulfilment of open access strategies across business models, policies and agreements, and reduce complexity for all relevant stakeholders.

Open Access output is growing year-on-year. Increasingly, funders and institutions are paying for OA centrally. OA business models are becoming more and more diverse and complicated. Funders and institutions are tightening the requirements about how various research outputs should be published and reported. The increasingly complex network of agreements between and institutions, along with the rise in the number of policies associated with open access publications set by academic institutions and funders, poses serious implementation challenges for all stakeholders concerned.

The OA Switchboard initiative is a collaboration between funders, institutions and with the aim to facilitate the fulfilment of OA strategies across business models, policies and agreements, whilst providing a better experience for researchers/authors.

This initial project in 2020 will explore how we can build an operational solution to tackle these problems together, determine the technical requirements (which will necessitate requesting proposals for a technology provider), and then include a subsequent pilot phase. In parallel we will explore a sustainable governance and funding set-up.

After an initial meeting of key stakeholders and subsequent feedback following presentations on the OA Switchboard concept, work has been done to further explore the feasibility of this idea and gauge the level of interest in the community to participate.  OASPA’s role moving forward is monitoring the progress of the project and making sure it is managed as prudently and efficiently as possible. Throughout the course of the year we aim to regularly report to and collaborate with representatives of all stakeholder groups.  

We have a plan in place to build momentum on early discussions and achieve as much as possible in 2020.  One key step has been to appoint Yvonne Campfens to lead the initiative as Project Manager and we are delighted to be working with her on this project.  Yvonne has a wealth of experience internationally in managing large-scale collaborative projects and strategy execution within academic publishing and related service sectors. 

In the last couple of weeks, Yvonne has been developing a roadmap for the phases of work ahead in the coming year and has established a small Steering Committee to work with her in this early stage: 

  • California Digital Library, represented by Ivy Anderson
  • Hindawi, represented by Paul Peters
  • JISC, represented by Liam Earney
  • Max Planck Digital Library, represented by Ralf Schimmer
  • The Royal Society, represented by Stuart Taylor
  • UKRI, represented by Rachel Bruce
  • Wellcome Trust, represented by Hannah Hope
  • Wiley, represented by Liz Ferguson
  • OASPA, represented by Claire Redhead

The Steering Committee is intended to be a core unit that can provide oversight in this initial project phase by representing the main stakeholder groups who are facing these shared challenges. We will ensure we get effective and valuable input from a wide range of other organisations so that we work towards a truly community-wide solution. 

Indeed, a number of organisations, both OASPA members and external to the association, have already expressed their willingness to participate. We will be following up with them individually to build a picture of the support and expertise we have at our disposal as the project progresses through the year, most crucially in the development of an Advisory Board and mechanisms to allow broad community participation.

Holding a seat on the Steering Committee or Advisory Board, or contributing expertise in any other way, is not dependent on financial input.  Similarly, organisations who do make a financial contribution to support the project at this stage are donating to work to further explore the idea, the community needs and challenges, and to consider the technical requirements of an operational solution that aims to address the challenges for the whole community.

As yet there have been no decisions made about the type of organisation that would be required to support the OA Switchboard long term, nor the governance or funding models that would be most suited. Once the OA Switchboard has moved to the operational stage – with a long-term governance structure and sustainable funding model in place – participation and involvement will be open to all who meet the OA Switchboard’s purpose and criteria. 

To register your interest in participating in this initial consultation stage, if you are interested to explore participation in the pilot or in supporting the OA Switchboard financially, please contact Yvonne Campfens:


For more information on the OA Switchboard please visit www.oaswitchboard.org

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