OASPA’s membership is our global community of open access scholarly publishers and related organisations. In the first of a series of interviews highlighting the diversity, activities, and different approaches of our members to open access publishing, OASPA’s Events and Communications Coordinator, Leyla Williams, talked to Frédéric Dubois, Managing Editor for OASPA member Internet Policy Review.
OASPA was pleased to welcome the Internet Policy Review to our association as a Small Publisher member back in 2017. What made you apply to join?
We at Internet Policy Review wanted more recognition amongst our open access peers as well as within our discipline, and to network within the wider open access community. We met Claire Redhead, OASPA’s Executive Director, at an OpenAIRE conference, and applied for membership not long afterwards.
Tell us about the Internet Policy Review. When and why did you set yourselves up, and what are you seeking to achieve in the world of internet regulation?
We set up the Internet Policy Review in May 2013 in order to track public regulatory changes and private policy developments in the field of internet regulation that are expected to have long lasting impacts on European societies. We aim to act as a link between scholarship on internet regulation and stakeholders in the field, as well as the general public publics. We recently celebrated our fifth anniversary, and have been highlighting our growth from beginning as a project of the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society to becoming a full scholarly journal that, in five years, has published almost 300 articles (peer-reviewed papers, opinions and news items) across 7 volumes. We are looking to keep expanding our reach and connect with more and more of those working on internet regulation in the media, in policy, and in academia.
Why did the Internet Policy Review decide to adopt an open access publishing model for your journal? Can you talk a bit about your understanding of open access that informs your vision for publishing?
How could we not make our content open access? We’re a non-profit journal and we publish in the public interest. This means we need to make all of our research articles, op-eds, news articles, and special issue articles accessible to the public at no cost. It also means we require no APCs (article processing charges). For us, it’s important to make the way we talk about research in the journal as accessible as possible so that we’re not just speaking to ourselves. As Christina Riesenweber pointed out in one of our Q&A articles, it’s not just about making the text itself available to the public; it’s about making sure lots of people can make sense of the content.
What have been some recent highlights of the Internet Policy Review’s work?
We’ve just been accepted to Scopus, which is important to our authors and the findability of our articles. As I mentioned previously, we’ve also just celebrated five years of the Internet Policy Review; we’re really proud of the great contributions from everyone involved in this ambitious European project, of the 150 research papers published so far, and of the outstanding spirit with which our contributors work on our journal.
You can read more about our recent activities in our latest newsletter.
What are the challenges you encounter at the Internet Policy Review as a small publisher?
As a small publisher, the main challenge for us is financial. But we’re very privileged in that we are supported by research institutes who are serious about making open access sustainable. We don’t have a business model and we don’t want one; we’re in the ‘business’ of social innovation, where we’re looking to perfect a fair publishing model based on open access. Our publishing institution in Berlin believes in open science, of which open access is a fundamental building block. They, together with partners in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Paris and Glasgow, are in this (open access) for the long haul.
We do face other challenges too. We need to keep innovating on technology and content formats while we’re in a constant growth phase; we need to create ‘impact’ outside of academia with every article we publish; and we need to keep up with the complexity of the rapidly changing field of internet policy.
In 2017, you received funding from the OpenAIRE initiative to develop your technical open access features. Has this improved the Internet Policy Review’s ability to publish open access?
Yes, it has. Thanks to this funding, all of our individual articles are now accessible via the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), as well as on other repositories; we now offer an Open Abstracts service that will help emerging scholars in particular to publish early and publish often; and we provide metrics for our articles that can help readers contextualise the impact of individual articles.
You recently joined the Radical Open Access Collective along with other OASPA members African Minds, the Open Library of Humanities, and Open Book Publishers. What has been your experience of the collective?
Our experience of the Radical Open Access Collective (ROAC) has been excellent. The ROAC is pushing the agenda of uncompromising open access, which is something we are pursuing ourselves and want to encourage at a more international level. As per the ROAC’s progressive philosophy of mutual reliance and cooperation, we see the collective as political rather than just representative of members. We’re looking forward to collaborating more with the other members of the collective into the future.
Why is it important for you to be a member of OASPA? What have you gained from your membership so far?
We have gained vital recognition amongst our open access publisher peers, and we have secured important contacts of like-minded publishers who have, for example, supported us with Letters of Intent for funding applications and other activities that we have.
What’s in the pipeline for the Internet Policy Review?
In the near future, we have a special issue in collaboration with the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) conference, which is scheduled to be published early in 2019. We also have a special issue on information law and science fiction in the pipeline for 2019, and we’re also automatising our internal editorial processes; we’re currently quite old fashioned, so we’re moving to an automatic management system for submissions, amongst other things.