We recently welcomed DOAB (Directory of Open Access Books) as an OASPA member in the Supporting Services and Infrastructure (Non-Commercial) category. DOAB joins 190 OASPA members and more than 30 others in the supporting services and infrastructure category that provide significant services and/or support to open access publishing.
We asked Tom Mosterd, Community Manager, a few questions so we could learn more about the organisation and its connection to open scholarship and decision to become an OASPA member.
Tell us a bit about your organisation and the service it provides
The Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) is a community-driven discovery service that indexes and provides access to scholarly, peer-reviewed open access books and helps users to find trusted open access book publishers. The directory now includes over 40,000 open access books and chapters from about 500 publishers. DOAB is a non-profit service, vetted and deemed as an essential open science infrastructure service by SCOSS. DOAB services are free of charge and all its data is freely available with no restrictions attached.
Why did you decide to join OASPA and what do you hope to get out of your OASPA membership?
DOAB, while now an OASPA member on its own, has thus far been an OASPA member covered under the OASPA membership of the OAPEN Foundation. As of late 2019 however, DOAB officially became its own service under the auspices of the DOAB Foundation, which is jointly run by the OAPEN Foundation and OpenEdition.
By DOAB now joining OASPA on its own, we look forward to connecting with its diverse and international community of open scholarship organisations around our mission to improve discoverability and increase trust in open access books. We specifically look forward to supporting independent publication venues and bibliodiversity in academic book publishing together with OASPA.
What are the short and medium-term priorities for DOAB and how are you adapting for a future where open access publishing is the default?
As an open infrastructure service for books, our number one priority will be to sustain the free and open discovery service while continuing to increase trust in OA book publishing – to the benefit of all stakeholders. More concretely, in the short term, we are looking to adopt and work with the Principles of Open Scholarly Infrastructure (POSI) framework, to roll out a new joint peer review information service for book publishers on behalf of the OPERAS community, and to actively involve our key stakeholders – libraries, publishers and funders – in the community governance and development of DOAB.
Longer term, we will be continuing with our efforts enhancing the inclusiveness of DOAB beyond Europe and North America, connecting and firmly embedding open access books into the global scholarly communications ecosystem. We’ve introduced a new partnership with SciELO and welcomed new publishers from Costa Rica, Ecuador, Singapore and many other countries to DOAB in 2021. Still, additional and continued efforts are needed to ensure inclusiveness.
What do you think are the main challenges for the communication of scholarship generally in the near future?
The most important challenge – if not threat – that the scholarly communication sector has to face is probably the commercial concentration in the market as it has been well evidenced by Chen et al. in their communication “Vertical Integration in Academic Publishing : Implications for Knowledge Inequality” at Elpub 2018 conference. This trend constitutes a threat to the diversity of knowledge, to the capacity of scholarly communication to address the variety of needs in the research community, and eventually to innovation itself. Working with more than 600 publishers worldwide, we at DOAB are well positioned to understand the vital necessity of diversity in the publishing landscape.
How do you think OASPA can help mitigate those challenges?
OASPA should increase its effort to include and support smaller independent publication venues through diverse means such as networking, training, and facilitation and commit to support bibliodiversity more effectively. More importantly, it should not avoid addressing this important issue and organise a cross-disciplinary and international discussion around it. It is a matter of self-regulation of the sector for the benefit of all.