The OASPA Blog: A platform for open access discussions

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The eternal challenge of representing OASPA is in the diversity of members –  the very same breadth of experiences that characterises us, and which brings such value to us as an organisation. OASPA proudly encompasses a wide variety of organisations who support open access publishing and who want to keep moving towards an open access future.

Our members are publishing a wide range of outputs, providing essential infrastructure and services, and – crucially – are approaching things in a variety of different ways.  All have different priorities and perspectives. In not being prescriptive about what the future of open access should look like, we have always welcomed any members who demonstrate a commitment to open access publishing. But the more diverse we get, the harder it is to provide a strong voice on issues where our members may not agree. It isn’t a problem if we all don’t agree on the same things – but making a meaningful contribution is much harder when we voice an opinion on only those things our members are aligned on.

For some time within OASPA we’ve been discussing giving space to issues which may only affect some of our members, and how best to go about that. OASPA has been successful at providing a stage for open, sensible and professional discussion around a range of topics relating to open access – our conference and webinars have surfaced many of the challenges that our members are facing, as well as the wider community. We want our members to feel that OASPA can provide a platform for them and to help them speak up about what is important to them. And we want to host open and honest conversations about the realities of open access, inviting the whole open access community to join in and share their views.

Today, for the first time, we have published a guest post on our blog which has been brought to us by a distinct group of our members. This post does not represent the views of OASPA as a whole organisation and is not something we are taking an official position on. But we do recognise the concerns articulated in the post are shared by a proportion of our membership and, similarly, there are issues of equal importance to other groups of our members for which we would like to offer the same opportunity.  

In posting this item today we openly invite others to comment on it, or to contact us with any interest in authoring additional guest blogs relating to this topic or others. Any suggested posts must make it clear that they are the views of those members, not the organisation. We will not publish inflammatory statements, and authors of guest blog posts must be willing to allow moderated comments on their post.  

In this new role for OASPA’s blog we therefore open up this space for thoughtful engagement and public debate. We hope this will provide a platform which works as well as our conference has in fostering a transparent exchange of views, experiences and ideas between all those working in the open access ecosystem, with the overall aim of contributing to the global advancement of open access in a way that supports scholars and their institutions, and that gives voice to the whole spectrum of models and approaches within our membership and ultimately furthers our mission to advance open access and ensure a diverse, vibrant, and healthy open access community.

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