Edizioni Ca’ Foscari – Venice University Press has recently become a member of OASPA in the small professional publisher category, further enriching the growing community of members. To gain more insight into their recent affiliation with OASPA and to learn more about their institution, we conducted an interview with Professor Tiziana Lippiello, the Rector of Ca’ Foscari University of Venice and President of Ca’ Foscari University Foundation.
Q. Tell us a bit about your organisation and the service it provides
Edizioni Ca’ Foscari (ECF) is the open access digital University Press of Ca’ Foscari University of Venice in Italy. It publishes open access journals and books in digital format in all areas of academic research, with a particular vocation for the disciplines of the eight departments into which Ca’ Foscari is divided. The aim of ECF is to promote the dissemination of the results of research carried out both in Ca’ Foscari and in the national and international scientific community, especially where these two contexts come into contact. All publications are made available online in full text and free of charge, with the aim of fostering and nurturing free access to knowledge and knowledge sharing. ECF carries out its activity in the field of scientific and academic publishing adopting the Open Access principles and following both the ‘Diamond’ and the ‘Gold’ roads, which ensure the direct and immediate accessibility of published content. Our goal is to promote the dissemination of scientific research for the benefit of all national and international universities or research institutions. Many of the titles in our series (monographs and edited books) are also published in a printed edition, both at the direct request of interested readers (print-on-demand) and for commercial distribution in bookshops and online bookstores. In addition, the e-commerce channel makes it even faster to purchase our paper versions, which are periodically selected and updated. The two media, paper and digital, are allied and complementary.
Q. Why did you decide to join OASPA and what do you hope to get out of your OASPA membership?
Edizioni Ca’ Foscari – Venice University Press joined OASPA to demonstrate its commitment to open access publishing, improve its practices, and connect with other publishers. As the open access digital university press of Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, ECF aims to contribute to the academic community by promoting transparency, accessibility, and ethical practices. Its membership in OASPA supports this mission and enables it to collaborate with like-minded individuals and organizations. By joining OASPA, Edizioni Ca’ Foscari is taking a meaningful step towards a more equitable and sustainable future for scholarly publishing.
Q. How is your organization showing its commitment to making globally equitable participation in open scholarly communication a reality?
Edizioni Ca’ Foscari is committed to making globally equitable participation in open scholarly communication a reality in publishing its content open access, making it freely available to anyone. This ensures that research and scholarship produced by Ca’ Foscari University of Venice is accessible to a global audience, regardless of financial barriers. ECF publishes content in multiple languages, ensuring that scholarship produced in non-English speaking regions is accessible to a wider audience.
ECF embraces innovative publishing practices, such as publishing multimedia content, interactive publications, and open data. Overall, Edizioni Ca’ Foscari’s commitment to open access, multilingualism, collaboration, and innovation supports globally equitable participation in open scholarly communication.
Q. What do you think are the main challenges for funders and institutions to move to incentivising open publishing practices as a positive contribution to career development?
Many researchers and academic institutions are not fully aware of the benefits of open access publishing and the impact it can have on career development. This can make it difficult to incentivize open publishing practices. Traditional publishing models, such as subscription-based journals, are still widely used and can be seen as the gold standard for career advancement.
Researchers and institutions may lack the resources and funding needed to support open access publishing, which can be seen as an additional cost. Addressing these challenges will require a collaborative effort from funders, institutions, researchers, and publishers to raise awareness, provide support, and create new incentive structures that prioritize open access publishing as a positive contribution to career development.
Parallel to a still inadequately diffused culture of open access publishing, an approach persists that pushes researchers to entrust their research work to publishers that are favoured as a consequence of their brand reputation, assuming that this is in itself a sufficient condition to give authority and impact to the published content. Instead, in a plural and egalitarian vision, the quality of publishing work should be valued regardless of the influence that brand reputation may have. We should therefore work together to rebalance the perception of the publishing brand in the institutional fora of research evaluation.
A scenario in which the financial sustainability of open access would be based exclusively and permanently on the research funds individually allocated to researchers, could lead to a progressive hegemony of the large publishing groups within a self-referential ecosystem, in which the physiological demand for publishing services immediately meets a single pre-established and standardised supply model. It might be useful to reflect on the idea of open access university publishing houses conceived as publishing and technical platforms useful for the development of the research projects themselves and thus involved directly and early on in the development of research processes. In this sense, moving the role of open access university structures to a separate level and not in direct competition with market publishing operators, and directly funded for these purposes, would thus move towards a fully structured open access diamond within the system.
Q. How do you think OASPA can help mitigate those challenges?
OASPA is a robust and authoritative entity that ensures the application and development of best open access practices, promoting collaboration and discussion among stakeholders to create new incentive structures that prioritize open access publishing as a positive practice for sharing knowledge. It also provides ongoing training and support through various activities that unite and engage different stakeholders. In a phase of change and transition, such as the one currently underway, OASPA can certainly promote one of the most valuable dynamics at a high level: that of exchanging ideas, sharing and defining common goals in a mutual collaborative approach.