OASPA Comes of Age

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Joint authors: Claire Redhead (Executive Director, OASPA) and Jennifer Gibson (Chair of OASPA Board of Directors; Executive Director, Dryad)

At the end of this month, as the new OASPA Board’s annual term begins, Caroline Sutton will step down from the OASPA Board after 14 years of service. Caroline has been involved with OASPA since a shared idea became reality back in 2007.  She was our founding President and is the last of the founding members to leave the board. For us, her departure offers a chance to reflect on both the end of a critical, formative stage in open access, and to look forward ambitiously to a new and incredibly exciting phase, secure in the knowledge that Caroline, in common with all of our founding members, has helped create a robust foundation on which to build towards realising our mission. 

There really is no area of the organisation that Caroline hasn’t helped to shape, and OASPA extends our enormous thanks for all the time and effort she has devoted. She has held a position on the Board continuously, having been re-elected several times, and has held the role of Chair twice. She has served as Secretary and Treasurer at different points, as well as on the committees for the OASPA conference and membership. Caroline, thank you. Your dedication and insight will be missed. 

As we’ve said farewell to each of our founder members over the last few years, it was clear that OASPA was maturing. The organisation set up to represent the interests of open access publishers has evolved a great deal, as open access has itself. OASPA has found a place within stakeholder discussions as a trusted organisation, working to encourage and enable open access, and bringing the perspectives of a diverse range of publishing-focussed organisations together with a growing number of essential infrastructures. 

Our community has also changed. We’ve grown in number as well as diversity, and now represent a wider swathe of agencies and stakeholders committed to open access to all scholarship. So, in 2020, we changed our trading name from Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association to Open Access Scholarly Publishing Association to better reflect our members.

And, we now have a vibrant and talented executive team, including Bernie Folan and Lulu Stader as well as Claire Redhead – who was appointed Executive Director in 2016 after having served as our first staff member from 2012. Under Claire’s leadership, the team has assumed responsibility for keeping OASPA focused and implementing a wide breadth of programs that help achieve our mission. The team’s passion and commitment to quality, collaboration and community are clear from their work. 

Looking ahead to 2022 and beyond, we are excited about the expansion of open scholarship and our community’s role as a driving force. OASPA is well-equipped and well-poised to take significant strides toward our mission: to encourage and enable open access as the predominant model of communication for scholarly outputs.

We are so grateful for the hard work and dedication of the founding members whose efforts in particular, from 2007 to 2021 ,have helped bring us to this point. Of course we are also indebted to all of the board members who have served in these years, helping OASPA to evolve and change in response to the times. And, we look forward to welcoming a new cast of colleagues this fall. 

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