OAPEN Project News - March 2009

Project in brief
The scholarly book in the digital age faces challenges such as economic constraints, changing attitudes of readers using the internet and new possibilities offered by electronic media. Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) as book-oriented sciences therefore are especially effected. This refers to their respective publishers, often organised as not-for-profit presses or small and medium size enterprises. At the same time the mentioned scholarly fields and publishers could benefit especially from Open Access publishing with its potential to reach new audiences and limit publishing costs.

OAPEN is a Targeted Project co-funded by the EC within its eContentplus Programme. 
OAPEN aims to develop and implement an Open Access publication model for academic books in HSS. Our goal is to achieve a sustainable European approach to improve the quantity, visibility and usability of high quality academic research and foster the creation of new content by developing future-oriented publishing solutions, including an open access library for peer reviewed books in HSS. The 30-months project started in September 2008. 
Learn more about OAPEN by visiting the website: www.oapen.org

Activities
In September 2008 the project started with a number of kick off meetings for the first work packages, held in Göttingen, Germany. Our first activities included the development of the overall architecture and standards for the e-publishing platform, setting up the research into user needs and existing Open Access models, and the promotion of OAPEN among stakeholders in scholarly communication. 

Architecture and Standards
OAPEN's infrastructure encompasses a publication platform for e-books and an online library, which will be open to academic publishers, libraries and researchers. 
The overall design of the production process in OAPEN will be based on a common architecture and international open standards to ensure easier cooperation between the partners and to make seamless integration of new partners possible. The vision for the architecture was described in an Architecture Standards Report. For further information on the technical aspects of the project please contact  JLIB_HTML_CLOAKING

Research into user needs
The research into user needs and existing Open Access models will be an important foundation for OAPEN's OA publication model. The research includes a number of round table discussions with stakeholders. The first two have already been conducted: one at the APE conference in Berlin (January), another at the APM conference in Florence (March).
Currently, a number of face to face interviews are being held in six different countries. These interviews are with the main stakeholders for the project: representatives from academic presses, research libraries, research councils and individual scholars.
In addition, an online survey is being prepared, which will be sent to a large number of scholars in several European countries, and will also be presented on OAPEN's website

Raising awareness
Different members of the consortium have presented OAPEN at conferences, among them 'Published Word, Public Pages' (September 2008, Copenhagen), 'Rethinking the university after Bologna' (December 2008, Antwerp), the 'Open Books' panel at Academic Publishing in Europe (APE, January 2009, Berlin) and most recently as part of a session on the role of University Presses, 'Strength in Numbers', at Academic Publishing in the Mediterranean Region (APM, March 2009, Florence).
OAPEN was also present at the Frankfurt Book Fair to talk with publishers and will be present at the London Book Fair in April.

We are pleased that OAPEN was regularly mentioned in the many articles on OA publishing and e-Monographs (a selection will be listed on oapen.org), and proud to be mentioned as one of the highlights of Open Access developments in 2008 by Peter Suber. 

First meeting of the Scientific Board
The OAPEN project has installed two external bodies (External stakeholder Group and Scientific Board) to ensure that the needs of scholars, publishers, funders and universities are met by the project's findings and developments. The Scientific Board of OAPENconsists of several international renowned scholars known for their expertise in publishing. Among them are scholars promoting Open Access such as Jean Claude Guédon (University of Montreal) or Gerhard Lauer (University of Göttingen), publishers and editors making electronic publishing come true like Charles Henry (Rice University Press) or Siggi Jöttkandt (Open Humanities Press), but also representatives from funders and university associations like Sarah Porter (JISC) and Sijbolt Noorda (EUA). 

The first meeting constituted the Scientific Board as an active part of OAPEN. The board members will serve as a consulting and inspiring body for OAPEN during the funding period and hopefully beyond. Conclusions from the first board meeting were for instance to account for widespread conservative publishing attitudes among HSS scholars and at the same time the need to promote new modes of publishing such as more fluid media forms. The board members emphasised the importance of publisher-organised quality control and Open Access experiments for the mentioned fields and encouraged the project partners to conduct OAPEN as planned. 
For further information on scientific information please contact  JLIB_HTML_CLOAKING