We recently welcomed EIFL as an OASPA member in the Supporting Services and Infrastructure (Non-Commercial) category. EIFL joins almost 200 total OASPA members and 28 others in this category.
We asked Iryna Kuchma, Open Access Programme Manager, a few questions so we could learn more about EIFL and its connection to open scholarship and decision to become an OASPA member.
Tell us a bit about EIFL and the service it provides
EIFL (Electronic Information for Libraries) is a not-for-profit organization that works with libraries to enable access to knowledge in developing and transition economy countries in Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe and Latin America. I manage the EIFL Open Access Programme in Africa, Asia Pacific and Europe. This programme advocates for open access and open science, builds open science trainers’ community, and supports sustainable open access journals and repositories.
Why did you decide to join OASPA and what do you hope to get out of your OASPA membership?
We share OASPA’s vision to encourage and enable open access as the predominant model of communication for scholarly outputs. With our Global South perspective we hope to contribute to a diverse, vibrant, and healthy open access publishing community. And we look forward to learning from OASPA members – scholar-led book and journal publishers – on best practice and ethical standards, sharing experiences, discussing problems and identifying opportunities for collective actions.
What are the short and medium-term priorities for your organisation in relation to open scholarship?
Advancing a fair and sustainable transition from paywalled to open access content and advocating for the creation and maintenance of open public infrastructures that enable the publication and sharing of research in open access journals and open repositories are EIFL’s Open Access Programme objectives. We also support enhancements of open access journals and repositories in the EIFL partner countries. This year we are working with our partner consortia on the open access journal publishing projects in five countries: Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, Kenya and Lesotho and more details are highlighted here.
What do you think are the main challenges for the communication of scholarship generally in the near future?
Article processing charges (APCs) create a barrier for researchers to publish in open access and it’s not a sustainable business model. Waivers and discounts to APCs aren’t sustainable either, unless a new model is put in place that makes APCs affordable and waivers and discounts automatic so authors won’t need to ask for them.
English language is still a lingua franca for communication research and non-English speaking researchers are disadvantaged from communicating research in the language of their research. International journals bear a flavour of prestige and are rated higher in research assessment and evaluation exercises than local journals. It would be good to build on the Helsinki Initiative on Multilingualism in Scholarly Communication and promote language diversity in research assessment, evaluation, and funding systems; and make sure that in the process of expert-based evaluation, high quality research is valued regardless of the publishing language or publication channel.
Journal editors and publishers in our partner countries would benefit from current best practices in editorial processes and open access publishing, copyright and open licensing. Over 1000 registrations for our recent webinar series for OA journal editors and publishers in Africa in collaboration with AJOL, ASSAf, DOAJ, LIBSENSE and UCT, lots of questions and insightful discussions confirmed this need and we plan to continue with the series in the second half of the year.
How do you think OASPA can help mitigate those challenges?
As a collective voice enabling solutions to support a sustainable path for open access publishing, OASPA is a perfect venue to discuss and align policies and standards and also network with scholar-led multilingual publisher members. OASPA webinars are very useful to me and I was happy to join the OASPA Webinar Committee. Looking forward to our fruitful collaborations!