Results of the 1st OAPEN Conference, Berlin

1st OAPEN Conference, Berlin, 25 February 2011

OAPEN (Open Access Publishing in European Networks) is a collaborative initiative to develop and implement a sustainable Open Access publication model for academic books in the Humanities and Social Sciences. As a conclusion of its EU-funding term the project consortium organised the 1st OAPEN Conference on 25 February in Berlin, which took place in the Senatssaal of the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin. All presentations can be downloaded below.

Over 70 experts, practitioners and decision makers from publishing houses, universities, libraries, research funders and the European Commission gathered to evaluate the project outcomes of OAPEN and to explore specific means to promote Open Access publishing for the humanities and social sciences and other areas.

Sijbolt Noorda, chairman of the Association of the Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU), as chair of the conference stressed the importance of the meeting as means to exchange new ideas and to get energised to promote Open Access. Carl-Christian Buhr, member of the cabinet of Ms Neelie Kroes, the vice-president of the European Commission, made the opening presentation, outlining the strategy of the EC for OA. The EC performs in three roles: as policy maker, as funding agency and as infrastructure builder and will extend its support for OA within FP8 but, according to Buhr: “the data themselves become the infrastructure”. Eelco Ferwerda of Amsterdam University Press and coordinator of OAPEN, connected to Buhr in terms of OA-facilitating infrastructure and modelled through the “triangle of scholarly communication” how the publishing environment changes, what benefits and challenges are presented to the stakeholders and where the future structure is already visible.

Sven Fund, CEO of De Gruyter, accentuated the persistent importance of publishers in the process of scientific publishing and outlined the strategy of his publishing house, specifically pointing to the De Gruyter Open Library, a hybrid model with a transparent unit (publication) pricing model.  The “key for all parties involved is transparency” as Fund concluded with look at the various stakeholders in scientific publishing. Only with reliable conditions for quality assurance (peer review), and fair and transparent financial models it will be possible to involve them.

The afternoon session was configured by regional approaches to OA in Europe. Jan Hagerlid (National Library of Sweden) and Lisbeth Söderqvist (Associate Professor and Research Officer at the Swedish Research Council) presented the state of the art of OA publishing in the nordic countries, focusing on Sweden. Eloy Rodrigues, Director of the Library of the University of Minho, presented an overview down of the situation in southern Europe.

Paul Wouters, Centre for Science and Technology Studies at the University of Leiden, related OA and especially OA monographs to metrics bringing it down to the yet-to-solve desideratum for research focusing on monographs. Bernard Rentier (Rector Université de Liège and President of Enabling Open Scholarship), Gary Hall (Open Humanities Press) and Astrid van Wesenbeeck (SPARC Europe) provided their organisations’ respective views on OA and means to promote it. A recurring common denominator of their presentations was the sparse availability of direct resources for promoting and funding of OA and the look at research funders, be they national or at European level. As pointed out by Sijbolt Noorda earlier this doesn’t have to imply an increased spending for the scientific communication system but rather a rerouting of already existing budgets. Astrid van Wesenbeeck announced a collaboration with OAPEN to develop a Directory of Open Access Book Publishers, modelled after the Directory of Open Access Journals hosted by Lund University Libraries.

The discussion at the Round Table started with the results of the Berlin Declaration: grown awareness of OA by academics, policy makers and publishers and an infrastructure to enable it. Today, OA has become fairly mainstream – especially in the fields of Science Technology and Medicine. Awareness is growing in the Humanities and Social Sciences. The relevance of HSS is large outside academia, and OA may help to expand this. The future looks promising as more OA mandates in Europe and the USA are expected. Francesco Fusaro (European Commission) called free movement of information ‘the fifth freedom’.

To conclude and to provide an outlook on OAPEN’s future efforts towards OA in the humanities and social sciences we recommend visiting which makes the growing collection of peer-reviewed and standardised HSS monographs accessible to all readers and can serve as a showcase for the achievements of OAPEN. As an example for an approach to sustain OA publishing can demonstrate how the collaboration between researchers (in their role as authors) publishers, and research funders could work out on a national level. Both OAPEN-NL and OAPEN-UK, run by JISC Collections, are  examples of practical spin-offs of OAPEN designed to serve as test-beds with limited risks both for publishers and funders. We’re striving to expand these pilots to other European countries with the support of national research funders

List of Particpants

Please click here to open the list of participants as PDF.


Please click on a title to open and save the PDF.

Carl-Christian Buhr, Member of the Cabinet of Ms Neelie Kroes, European Commission, Vice-President for the Digital Agenda: "Access to Scientific Information: The Role of the EU"

Eelco Ferwerda, Coordinator OAPEN: "OAPEN – Achievements and Goals"

Bernard Rentier, Rector Université de Liège and President EOS: "Is Open Access just for articles in STM? How can OA books help Humanities? The Liege Experience"

Lisbeth Söderqvist, Associate Professor and Research Officer Swedish Research Council: "Experience of the Swedish Research Council"

Jan Hagerlid, National Library of Sweden: "Publishing of Open Access Monographs in the Humanities and Social Science in Sweden - State of the Art and Some Possible Future Directions"

Eloy Rodrigues, Library Director University of Minho: "Open Access: A Southern European Perspective"

Paul Wouters, Centre for Science and Technology Studies, Leiden University: "Can metrics play a role in open access monographs?"

Sven Fund, CEO of de Gruyter: "Open Access in the Humanities – A Case for the Future of the Book"

Gary Hall, Professor of Media and Performing Arts in the School of Art and Design at Coventry University: "Towards a New Political Economy: Open Humanities Press and the Open Access Monograph"

Astrid van Wesenbeeck, Director SPARC Europe: "Bridging the gap - OAPEN and SPARC Europe; three initiatives to promote Open Access Monograph Publishing"

Round Table

"Open Access for the Humanities and Social Sciences – New Horizons & Challenges for the Scholarly Monograph"

Sijbolt Noorda, Chair, Chairman Association of Universities in the Netherlands

Francis André, Direction de L'Information Scientifique et Technique, CNRS France

Norbert Lossau, Director Göttingen State and University Library

Francesco Fusaro, European Commission, DG Research and Innovation

Alma Swan, Enabling Open Scholarship

Text: Marnix van Berchum (SURF), Stefan Buddenbohm (OAPEN), Ronald Snijder (OAPEN)

Pictures: Jean Kempf (OAPEN)