Membership of OASPA is only granted following an in-depth review process, details of which are provided below.
People who wish to apply for membership should first ensure that they meet the OASPA membership criteria before applying.
- Open access (OA) professional publishing organisations – Organisations that include at least one full-time professional who manages the publication of OA scholarly journals or books. These organisations may be for-profit or nonprofit, and they may own journals or books or manage the publication on a contract basis for societies or other groups of scientists or scholars. Members of this class may also include organisations such as academic/research libraries, university presses, or other organisations in which the primary focus is other than publishing scholarly journals but still employ full-time professionals who manage the publication of OA scholarly journals.
- OA scientist/scholar publishers – Individuals or small groups of scientists/scholars that publish usually a single scholarly journal in their field of study. The publication process is often largely subsidised by volunteer effort.
- Supporting Services and Infrastructure (Commercial and Non-Commercial) – Other organisations who provide significant services and/or support for OA publishing.
Details of fees for each membership category can be found here.
Assessment of New Applications
One of the goals of OASPA is to promote best practices for maintaining and disseminating OA scholarly communications, and ethical standards of publishing. Applicants must be judged to meet a set of OASPA Membership Criteria and all new applications are screened by the Membership Committee in an effort to determine whether the applicant operates with integrity and is genuinely committed to open access publishing.
The Membership Committee is comprised of 5 of the OASPA Board members (supported by the OASPA Secretariat), with a minimum of 2 Committee members screening new applications in detail and all information being shared with the full board during the course of the review, giving them opportunity to comment with any supporting information. The screening process involves reviewing the applicant’s web site, and assessing whether there is sufficient evidence that the applicant meets the standards laid out in the OASPA code of conduct.
We also frequently ask new applicants to make adjustments to the information on their web sites with regard to some of these issues, to improve their licensing arrangements, for example. We have also had to decline applications for membership on occasion.
From 7th August 2018 onwards: Given the overlap in the screening criteria between the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and OASPA, and that DOAJ is primarily an index of reputable open-access journals, we have agreed with DOAJ that, with immediate effect, all single journals that apply to OASPA will now be first referred to DOAJ if the journal is not already listed in DOAJ. More details can be found in our full announcement of this new agreement here.
We look to the broader community to help us maintain and improve standards. Serious concerns about potential misconduct by one of our members can be submitted to the OASPA board according to the following procedure.
- Complaints should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be as specific as possible and provide as much objective evidence as available. The person making the complaint must be willing to be identified to OASPA and supply a valid contact email address.
- Complaints will be reviewed by at least two members of the OASPA Board of Directors within 30 days of receiving a complaint. The member for whom the complaint has been lodged will be notified and given 14 days to respond to the complaint. Additional time to respond to the complaint will be provided if the request is felt to be reasonable by the reviewing Board members.
- Based on the evidence provided by both parties, the Board will make a good faith effort to determine if the complaint is valid. If the complaint is determined to be valid, actions may include appropriate revision of policies or practices by the publisher, or termination of the publisher’s membership of OASPA. If a complaint results in an investigation, that investigation will be conducted in accordance with the OASPA Member Investigation Procedure. The member and the person making the complaint will be notified via email of the decision and given the opportunity to appeal the decision to the full OASPA Board of Directors. The decision of the full Board of Directors will be final.
Member Investigation Procedure
OASPA encourages the highest standards of publishing amongst its members. Before a publisher joins OASPA they must satisfy a number of membership criteria. Occasionally, however, evidence comes to light that an OASPA member might not be meeting these standards. In such cases, and without any implication of impropriety, OASPA will work with the member to explore the evidence and take any necessary action. With regard to all complaints and investigations, we adhere to the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing and abide by the OASPA By Laws in fulfilling the OASPA Mission and Purpose.
The following steps provide a guide to the actions that OASPA will take:
1. Initial assessment of evidence:
- Evidence might come directly from the member, a third party or be public information.
- The membership committee assesses the evidence.
- The OASPA board is contacted by the membership committee before any approach is made to a member.
2. If appropriate, the member is contacted and asked for a response to the information that OASPA has learned.
3. The Committee discusses the response, and asks further questions as necessary:
- If the Committee judges that the responses are satisfactory, then no further action is required and the member’s status is unchanged.
- If the Committee judges that the answers are not sufficiently complete or satisfactory then a recommendation is put to the OASPA Board to terminate membership.
- If the Committee feels the response is adequate, but that actions need to be taken by the publisher that are likely to take a period of months to implement, a recommendation is put to the board to place the publisher’s membership under review, usually for six months from the date when the member is first informed.
4. If approval is given by the OASPA board to place a member under review, the OASPA website is updated to show the member is ‘Under review’. A statement is drafted by Committee and is posted on the OASPA blog.
5. During the review period, OASPA works with the publisher with the aim of reinstating full membership once sufficient evidence of improvement to procedures is demonstrated. If such improvement is not made within six months, then the Publisher’s membership is terminated (with Board approval).
6. Where there is a dispute between two or more members of OASPA, concerns or questions should be addressed to the Membership Committee, who will then communicate with the relevant members independently. Any subsequent investigation will follow the guidelines outlined in points 1-5 above. Any decision taken to review or terminate a membership will be taken by the OASPA Board and communicated with the members involved before being made public on the OASPA blog.
7. Where a member of the Board of OASPA is involved in a complaint or dispute, OASPA’s priority is to ensure that the issue is investigated thoroughly and that all members are treated equally. In the event of a complaint or dispute about the publishing operation of or by an OASPA Board member, we ask the individual to recuse themselves from all OASPA meetings, discussions and investigation of that issue so that any decision by the Membership Committee or Board is taken independently. The investigation is documented and the decision is communicated to the relevant Board member in writing by the Executive Director of OASPA.
8. All details about any membership application or dispute is confidential to OASPA Board and not communicated with any external party except through the official public communications of OASPA (e.g. a blog post), where appropriate.
Member Investigations will only relate to scholarly publishing activities but may not be restricted to open access publishing.
Current OASPA Membership Committee Members:
- Xenia van Edig (Copernicus Publications) Chair
- Peter Binfield (PeerJ)
- Eelco Ferwerda (OAPEN Foundation)
- Mark Patterson (eLife)
- Claire Redhead (OASPA)
- Caroline Sutton (Taylor & Francis Group)