We recently welcomed TIB Open Publishing as an OASPA member in the Small Professional Publisher category. The Press joins a growing list of over 210 OASPA members. We asked Xenia van Edig, Publication Platform Manager, a few questions so we could learn more about TIB Open Publishing and the decision to become an OASPA member.
Please note TIB has also made a German version of this post available.
Q. Tell us a bit about your organisation and the service it provides – and your role within it
TIB Open Publishing is a library-based open access publisher. We publish conference proceedings and journals that do not charge article processing charges (APCs) (diamond OA). TIB Open Publishing is based at TIB – Leibniz Information Centre for Science and Technology (c), Germany’s national library of science and technology as well as architecture, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, and physics. With launching TIB Open Publishing in 2021, TIB underlined its orientation towards open access and added a significant pillar to its activities in supporting the transition to open access.
Our publishing service is guided by high standards in publication workflows, technical principles, and overall publishing best practices. TIB Open Publishing is open to all academic disciplines – with a focus on science and engineering. When selecting journals and conferences, we apply a set of standards that the publications must meet. Open Journal Systems (OJS), the most used free journal management software, serves as the basis of our publishing activities. We actively participate in the further development of the software and in networking within the community. TIB is a Major Development Partner of the Public Knowledge Project (PKP).
Two publication platform managers, Dulip Withanage and myself, manage the service. Dulip is responsible for the technical side of things, i.e. software development, server infrastructure, etc., while I am responsible for the acquisition of users of our service and other editorial developments.
Q. Why did you decide to join OASPA and what do you hope to get out of your OASPA membership?
OASPA is a very important player in the open access landscape. The organisation plays a crucial role in setting standards and best practices for open access publishing through its membership criteria and initiatives like the recently updated Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing. Together with the DOAJ seal criteria, the Plan S technical implementation guidelines, and the COPE guidelines. These principles were guiding us when setting up our service.
The annual conferences as well as the webinars are excellent opportunities to learn and discuss about the various aspects of open access publishing as well as about recent trends in the OA community. We will benefit from networking with like-minded organisations from the OASPA membership. I know OASPA as a very lively community of diverse stakeholders and we like to engage actively in the organisation and the ongoing discussions.
Disclaimer: During my former employment I served at OASPA`s board of directors from 2015-2020.
Q. What are the short and medium-term priorities for your organisation/publication in relation to open scholarship?
TIB’s mission is to provide optimal access to scientific literature and information. Hence, the full transition to open access is an overarching goal. At TIB Open Publishing we try to foster fair open access publishing where researchers retain control and financial barriers (through APCs) are avoided. In terms of open scholarship, we will try to link our service to innovative building blocks like knowledge graphs, executable articles, audio-visual content, or open peer review.
Q. What do you think are the main challenges for the communication of scholarship
generally in the near future?
I think there are three main challenges in scholarly communication:
1. Financing: Working at a library, I am well aware that librarians fear a new (or already ongoing) serial crisis with regard to increasing APCs and high book processing charges (BPCs). However, APCs and BPCs are questionable not only from the library perspective. Despite waiver policies by publishers, APCs and BPCs bear a huge exclusion potential for authors lacking financial resources. Hence, we need new financing mechanisms. From the Open Access Diamond Journal Study we know that there is a large archipelago of diamond OA journals. However, we also learned that lots of them are struggling with their financial sustainability. There are successful examples of consortial funding models, e.g. the KOALA project TIB is involved in. However, we need such mechanisms at a broader scale. I sincerely hope that initiatives like the Action Plan for Diamond Open Access and Scaling Diamond OA are gaining momentum also in this regard.
2. Research assessment: Scholarly communication and research assessment are closely connected. As long as the awarding of tenured positions, grants, etc. is largely grounded on journal-based citation metrics, long-standing publications mostly published by legacy publishers, have a competitive advantage over new publications and innovative formats.
3. Prejudices and lack of OA awareness within the research community: The open access community still has a lot to do in transferring their discussions around scholarly communication and openness into the various scholarly communities. Of course, there are also initiative driven by scholars, but I have the feeling that the “bubbles” are too detached from each other and qualitative research (e.g. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7189366, (German)) shows that there are persisting reservations against open access publications.
Q. How do you think OASPA can help mitigate those challenges?
OASPA can facilitate the discussions around these topics. For example, the session on research assessment as last year’s conference was very interesting. As an organisation OASPA can take (and already takes) part in projects around the future of diamond open access publishing. Bringing together people with multiple organisational, cultural, and disciplinary backgrounds OASPA provides an excellent place to leave one’s bubble and get new insights from other perspectives.