Open research

Come together, right now! Building a community around open access books with the Open Access Books Network

This post is written by Silke Davison, Community manager at the Directory of Open Access Books and the OAPEN Foundation.

The Open Access Books Network (OABN) is a space for anyone with an interest in open access (OA) books. We bring together people who are interested in OA books for the purposes of knowledge-sharing, discussion, and exploring new ideas through events, workshops, blogs, resources, discussion boards and more. Our global community includes publishers, researchers, librarians and other stakeholders.  

assorted book lot

Photo by Jessica Ruscello on Unsplash

We began as a community passion project when a group of OA book experts attended the ElPub conference in 2019 and realised the need for a space to talk about all things OA books on a more regular basis. We officially launched in 2020 with time donated on a voluntary basis by staff from SPARC Europe, ScholarLed, OPERAS and the OAPEN Foundation. We are currently coordinated by Agata Morka (SPARC Europe), Lucy Barnes (Open Book Publishers) and Silke Davison (OAPEN Foundation) and you can get in touch directly via 

In 2022, we became an OPERAS Special Interest Group (SIG), and as such are now formally supported by OPERAS (the European Research Infrastructure supporting open scholarly communication in the social sciences and humanities (SSH) in the European Research Area). We receive administrative support to help us better serve our communities, and the link with OPERAS allows us to form stronger relationships with people and organisations in the European open research landscape, including other OPERAS SIGs

people holding shoulders sitting on wall

Photo by Duy Pham on Unsplash

What we do

Since launching, we have run a wide range of activities. Highlights from the last few years include:

  • The “OA Mythbusters” video series that sought to dispel a number of key myths around OA books
  • OA Books Workouts” events, run by Jeroen Sondervan, featuring different scholars talking about publishing OA books
  • A workshop series called “Voices from the OA Books Community covering policy developments for OA books from quality assurance to licensing and rights retention
  • And more recently, the Publisher Spotlight blog series where publishers talk about the platforms they use to publish their OA books

We actively seek collaboration with other like-minded organisations, projects, and individual members of the wider network, and invite these groups to use our platform to share news and updates, or co-run events. We have joined forces with PALOMERA to work on a series of engagement sessions on OA book policy and are working with Jisc on a webinar series entitled ‘Collective funding models for Open Access books’. 

assorted-title book lot placed on white wooden shelf

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Jisc and the OABN

Jisc has been active within the OABN since its launch. We were delighted to work with the OABN in the planning and delivery of our series of OA myth busting webinars in 2022, and to collaborate again on the webinar series ‘Collective funding models for OA books’.

The new UKRI Open Access policy on monographs, edited collections and book chapters commences on 1 January 2024, and, we highly recommend any of our members who support OA books at their institution (as well as researchers who are curious about OA books) to engage with the OABN by joining the network and helping direct its activities.

What’s next?

You can join the OABN via Humanities Commons. We have grown a lot over the last three years, and are about to launch a summer survey to get to know the existing network more closely, to better plan events and content most relevant and useful to the OA books community. This means that now is the perfect time to join and get involved! 

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