History of BOA-S2O
The first conversation between Berghahn and Libraria takes place during the American Anthropological Association meeting. The conversation is instigated by one of our anthropology journal editors, who had learned about Libraria from Alberto Corsín Jiménez, one of its founders.
There are already a number of (non-Berghahn) journal editors signed up with Libraria, but because of varying publisher arrangements they have yet to secure actionable commitments to go OA and so have been unable to get off the ground. We leave the meeting inspired by the collective action of these scholars, who consider publishers and traditional journals an important part of the scholarly communications ecosystem that they wish to preserve. We agree to consider how this could work for Berghahn’s journals and stay in touch.
Berghahn participates in the “Move it Forward” workshop hosted by UC Davis. This is an invaluable experience that brings together publishers representing sizes that we can relate to, all of us facing the shared conundrum of what to do about OA (with relatable concerns around funding, APCs, resources, and the dominance of big publishers).
It is above all a morale boost to hear from the librarian hosts, who had spent years gauging the shifts in OA, that many librarians are supportive of helping publishers like us tackle OA. Of course, there are still tough questions asked of us and it is not an easy workshop, but we come away from this collegial group gathering feeling more educated, encouraged, and above all motivated to pick up the Libraria discussion.
In the summer of 2018 at the biennial conference of the European Association of Social Anthropologists a meeting takes place between those Berghahn journal editors attending the conference and Libraria (in this case Alberto and his co-founder John Willinsky). A model called Subscribe-to-open is presented.
It is an honest and open meeting, and the overall consensus of the editors in attendance is one of support — open access as a principle is something everyone is behind, albeit with the shared criticism that its present real-world application through pay-to-play gold APCs is exacerbating stratification in higher education and so to be avoided. However, there are also apprehensions voiced around sustainability and the risks of experimenting with something so new and before it is perhaps absolutely necessary.
So, with a sense of duty to deliver an equitable open access solution in a sustainable way so that we would all survive, we go to work with Libraria, to see how to make this happen.
MIT hosts a workshop that includes not only a diverse array across the spectrum of scholarly communications — from funders and librarians to journal editors, societies, and publishers — but represents all sizes too (with principal representatives from the largest to the smallest there to share their thoughts). It is a historic gathering and a rare opportunity for so many stakeholders to come together in such a setting.
Throughout the day there are smaller discussion groups that then reconvene as the full group to present on the findings. In doing so we all debate not only the current state of OA more generally, but also the pilot specifically. Consequently, the pilot is on the hot seat and subjected to some thoughtful and fair concerns, including our size and the timeline. But the majority re encouraging and, following some valuable pointers from Annual Reviews (who have been very supportive in our borrowing from their approach), we agree to plow ahead with our very ambitious timeline of launching for 2020.
The following day Berghahn, Libraria, and those Berghahn journal editors in attendance have a strategy session to further refine the approach and set out action points for the coming months.
Berghahn works with Libraria on the model and how best to communicate the initiative to libraries, such as email outreach and website FAQs. The drafts are presented to a library focus group, who provide invaluable feedback on all of these elements, and most importantly are encouraging that we move ahead.
Agents are notified and provided with their own FAQs on the model.
Berghahn is supported by Knowledge Unlatched in their outreach efforts to libraries at the collections level.
|Fall 2019:||Early responses from libraries, both at the collections level as well as from libraries who subscribe to select titles in the collection is very positive and extremely encouraging. Support comes from diverse array of libraries drawn by the open access ambition as well as the disciplinary approach. Commitments are made to the collection and renewals at the title level also start to come in.|
|January 2020:||Berghahn announces that it will take the step of publishing the BOA collection as open access starting with their 2020 volumes.|