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Open Institutional Publishing Association: Introducing a New Community of Practice

This is a guest post by Dominique Walker, Publishing Officer – Scottish Universities Press, and Kate Petherbridge, White Rose Libraries Executive Manager.

We’re really excited to share information about a new association that will support open access publishing activities at UK universities. The Open Institutional Publishing Association will launch over the summer in 2023, and will be a supportive community of practice for OA publishing.

Five people jumping up in the air with the sun setting behind
Photo by Guille Álvarez on Unsplash

Why has this come about?

There has been a growing focus at UK universities on the discussion about OA publishing, what it means, and how universities can support this. In practice, this has meant an increase in open access publishing activity at the institutions themselves. Some of this is formalised, as seen in the increasing number of new university presses over the last 5 years or so. Some of it is less formal, such as providing in-house infrastructure for journals to use, or using repository tools to support publication. This range of publishing activity shows the different ways UK universities are looking to support the move to OA, all as important and relevant as each other.

This has given rise to a really diverse institutional publishing landscape. There are lots of publishing associations already, nationally and internationally, but some of the publishing activity that we are seeing falls outside the scope of these. Some emerging presses already recognised the need for a community of peers, bringing together colleagues already supporting OA publishing (and those at institutions who would like to) that share similar beliefs and motivations. This community could share best practice, support each other with shared experience, and also bring different perspectives.

What has happened so far?

An initial group of presses and institutional publishers, supported by Jisc, has been working together on the initial setup phase of the association. This group includes:

Logos of UK university presses participating in the Open Institutional Publishing Association
Open Institutional Publishing Association members

So far, we have drafted initial Terms of Reference, explored potential membership criteria, and discussed the roles and infrastructure needed to support an association of this type. We’ve also started putting together a website for the association, supported by some funding from the School of Advanced Study at the University of London, to help provide information on what we might focus on and how to get involved.

What are the advantages of joining the association?

The association aims to establish a community of practice to share knowledge, foster collaboration and so we can support and learn from each other. We would like the association to act as a central hub for exchanging knowledge and training, and some of the activities we have discussed so far include:

  • Sharing resources, such as documents, templates and publishing workflows
  • Sharing publishing experiences, from a wide variety of different publishing activities
  • Providing shared training opportunities for members
  • Collective conference attendance and marketing initiatives
  • Developing joint funding opportunities
  • Building relationships with key open access organisations

This is also an opportunity to build a collective voice that is large enough to give weight to discussions across the sector, such as with funders, sector-wide organisations and other publishing groups. This is particularly important for smaller publishing operations, allowing them to get more involved in the national and international scholarly communications conversation.

The association can also advocate for the expertise and value of institutional OA publishing, and help raise awareness of OA publishing among the academic community. New and emerging publishing operations will also benefit from the association, with the ability to learn from more established peers, through advice and guidance and from a wide range of different experiences, as well as from best practice in policy and documentation.

There is a lot of OA publishing happening at institutions, in many different forms. This association hopes to bring these groups together so that we can all learn and develop together.

What are the next steps?

We have developed a timeline to establish some of the key deliverables for 2023. One of the first will be a website that will provide more information about the association, with the aim to launch this in July. Marketing and branding, including a logo, will also be developed.

The association will then launch with the first meeting in July 2023. At this meeting we will confirm the Terms of Reference, elect formal roles such as Chair and Vice-Chair, and start to discuss the main priorities for the group for the rest of the year.

It is important to note that nothing is yet set in stone, we are looking forward to new members joining and contributing to the development of the association.

How can I get involved?

We encourage any open access publishing operations at UK institutions, or those interested in moving into this area, to consider joining the association. We are now welcoming expressions of interest using this short form:

If you would like to be involved with the association from the first meeting in July, we ask that expressions of interest are submitted by 30 June 2023.

Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash

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