The first day of our Conference on Open Access Scholarly Publishing (COASP) at the University of Vienna back on September 17th this year dawned bright and clear, marking the beginning of three beautiful sunny days and a series of rich, paced discussions on open access publishing with countless superb speakers for our 10th anniversary conference. Our Program Committee this year – Caroline Sutton (Taylor and Francis), Liz Ferguson (Wiley), Lucy Oates (Oxford University Press), Eelco Ferwerda (OAPEN), Stuart Taylor (Royal Society), Xenia van Edig (Copernicus Publications), Catriona Maccallum (Hindawi), and Lars Bjørnshauge (DOAJ) – had done an excellent job of developing conferences themes in the months leading up to the event, and we were all excited to see the results.
After a warm welcome from Paul Peters (OASPA’s President and the CEO of Hindawi), Falk Reckling (Head of Strategy, FWF) and Guido Blechl (Head, Open Access Office Department, University of Vienna), who all highlighted the importance of collaboration and cooperation between publishers, libraries, and funders, we kicked off conference proceedings on Monday with an illuminating group discussion with ‘early movers’ of the open access movement: Caroline Sutton (Director of Editorial Development, Taylor and Francis, who was chairing), David Prosser (Executive Director, RLUK), Susan Murray (Executive Director, AJOL), Jean-Claude Guédon (Professor, Université de Montréal), Paul Peters (CEO, Hindawi), and Lars Bjørnshauge (Managing Director, DOAJ). The group treated the audience to an historical overview of the movement, debating issues of commercial publishing, impact factors, and competition.
Following on from this were our annual Show and Tell presentations, which were this year chaired by Lucy Oates (Publisher, Oxford University Press) and showcased opportunities and challenges arising from the Revised Recommendation on access to and preservation of scientific information (Daniel Spichtinger, Independent EU Research Policy Expert), preprints versus traditional journals versus open access journals (Salvatore Mele, Head of Open Access, CERN and SCOAP3) and Alexander Kohls (Operations Manager, CERN and SCOAP3), Scilit (Martyn Rittman, Publishing Services Manager, MDPI), FREYA for Publishers (Christine Ferguson, Information Scientist, Project FREYA, Literature Services Team, European Bioinformatics Institute), TRANSPOSE (Tony Ross-Hellauer, Senior Researcher, Know-Center), and World Bank Open Publishing (Mayya Revzina (Rights Manager, World Bank Publications).
Finishing off the day with a presentation on OASPA’s future, Paul Peters discussed the challenges facing such a diverse association, but added that this diversity reflects the complexity of the scholarly ecosystem and is our best hope for finding solutions to the problems we face in open access publishing. A networking drinks reception at the top of the University of Vienna with stunning views of the city wrapped up the day nicely.
The first of our conference presentations on Tuesday began with a keynote from Iryna Kuchma (Open Access Programme Manager, EIFL) on designing equitable foundations for collaborative open access publishing, which offered an excellent reflection on what forms publishing should take in the Global South, and in Eastern and Southern Europe. Later that morning, our poster lightning talks highlighted the important work being done to map APCs at the University Library in Gothenburg (Pauline Jönsson and Karin Henning, librarians at Gothenburg University Library), create value from open research data (Rob Johnson, Director, Research Consulting), provide new training opportunities for Open Access and Open Science through the FOSTER portal (Helene Brinken, Project Officer, University of Göttingen, State and University Library and Iryna Kuchma, Open Access Programme Manager, EIFL), analyse the benefits and risks of open access in the Global South (Tom Olijhoek (Editor-in-Chief, DOAJ), publish open access academic books in Ibero-America (Elea Giménez Toledo, Tenured Scientist, Spanish National Research Council, and Juan Felipe Córdoba Restrepo, ASEUC), and publish from the library beyond the campus (Lauren B. Collister, University of Pittsburgh, and Emma Molls, University of Minnesota).
Our first panel on Tuesday centred around Transformative Agreements, featuring Xenia van Edig, Business Development, Copernicus Publications) as chair, and panelists Wilma van Wezenbeek (Programme Manager, Open Access, VSNU), Kamran Naim (Director of Partnerships & Initiatives, Annual Reviews), and Kathleen Shearer (Executive Director, COAR). Panelists considered how it was possible to re-think the publishing world rather than recreate it, how to redistribute subscription funds, and the global inequities and imbalances within open access and authorship. In the first of our afternoon keynotes, Rebecca Kennison (Principal, K|N Consultants) passionately reflected on ideas and realities in the open access movement, calling for collaboration across perspectives and approaches. She called for the aims of the 2002 Budapest Open Access Initiative to come fully to fruition ‘neither with a bang, nor a whimper’, and argued that making a lot of money out of open access publishing is perhaps not the right approach to progress.
In a timely and highly anticipated discussion on new models and players in open access publishing, chair Stuart Taylor (Publishing Director, Royal Society) moderated panelists Janneke Adema (Research Fellow, Coventry University), Jeroen Sondervan (Open Access Publishing Consultant, Utrecht University Library) and Robert-Jan Smits (Open Access Envoy, EPSC, European Commission) to discuss radical scholar led approaches to open access by academics, challenges and opportunities with non-APC models and DIY-publishing, and the potential of Plan S to make open access a reality by 2020.
Our last keynote of the day saw Kristen Ratan (Co-Founder, Coko Foundation) exploring pitfalls along the way to open science with regards to publishing infrastructure. As publishers begin to control their own infrastructures, Kristin continued, they have the opportunity to imagine what they might be. In this spirit of celebrating change and looking to the future, we headed to the Natural History Museum of Vienna for our 10th Anniversary Drinks Reception, where we toasted to ten years of OASPA in gorgeous surroundings and listened to reflections from Paul Peters and Caroline Sutton on the past, present and future achievements of OASPA and the open access community.
Our final day at COASP began with a keynote from Sven Fund (Managing Director, Knowledge Unlatched), who spoke to the importance of publishers using the technology available to them to develop new types of open access books, and arguing that despite books currently making up less than 10% of the open access market, open access is the ‘only chance for long tail academic journals and monographs to survive.’ In conjunction with Sven’s keynote, and with Eelco Ferwerda (Director, OAPEN) chairing, panelists in our Open Access Monographs panel advocated for more transparency in peer review, with suggestions for a peer review system to highlight peer review in the same way as creative commons licences are indicated (Mark Edington, Director, Amherst College Press), along with considerations, challenges and opportunities for increasing open access for books (Ros Pyne, Head of Policy & Development, Open Research, Springer Nature).
The final panel of our conference this year was a discussion on ‘FAIR’ open access, with chair Catriona MacCallum (Director of Open Science, Hindawi) moderating an excellent discussion between panelists on how the Belmont Forum is developing and enacting policy for its grantees (Fiona Murphy, Independent consultant/Belmont Forum on FAIR), what the publisher’s role is in enabling FAIR data (Iain Hrynaszkiewicz, Head of Data Publishing, Open Research, Springer Nature), the argument that publications lacking underlying data are incomplete (Martin Fenner, Technical Director, Datacite) and calls for enhancing open data through partnerships (Elizabeth Hull, Operations Manager, Dryad). The variation between disciplines was highlighted by Hrynaszkiewicz as he asked for the audience to consider before asking ‘what is FAIR’, that others in some disciplines may be asking ‘what is data.’
Our last keynote was a real highlight for the conference: Geoffrey Bilder (Director of Strategic Initiatives, Crossref), in his talk ‘There, I fixed it’, delighted the audience with reliably energetic reflection on the fact that ‘the bulk of scientific communication does not happen in publications… it happens before that, at the pub, in the lab.’ Rules need to be introduced in order that commercial publishers can’t lock up outputs or infrastructure, he argued, controlling decentralisation and promoting innovation and start-ups.
Closing the conference, Mark Patterson (Executive Director, eLife) cautioned that the industry musn’t sideline smaller publishers or those who are grappling with their transitions to open access – and that when collaboration works in the publishing community, it’s extraordinary.
We look forward to seeing you for the 11th COASP next year in Copenhagen! Get a taster of what this year’s conference felt like on YouTube here.
The full set of recordings and slides from the conference are available via our conference microsite here. More discussion can be found on the conference Twitter hashtag #COASP10