Open Access Barcamp 2022: Where the Community Met

by Hannah Schneider and Andreas Kirchner

This year’s Open Access Barcamp took place online once again, on 28 and 29 April 2022. From 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on both days, the roughly 50 participants were able to put together their own varied programme, and engage in lively discussions about current Open Access topics.

Open Access Barcamp 2022 Agenda

What worked well last year was repeated this year: The innovative conference tool Gather was again used to facilitate online discussions, and the organisers prioritised opportunities to have discussions and to network when designing the programme. They integrated a speed-dating format into the programme and offered an open round at topic tables. In the context of the project, the Communication, Information and Media Centre (KIM) of the University of Konstanz once again hosted the Barcamp. While interactively planning the sessions on the first day, it became clear that the Open Access community is currently dealing with a very wide range of topics.

Illustration 1: tweet about the topic tables

The study recently published by the TIB – Leibniz Information Centre for Science and Technology University Library entitled “Effects of Open Access” (German) was presented in the first session. This review of literature examined 61 empirical papers from the period 2010-2021, analysing various impact dimensions of Open Access, including aspects such as attention garnered in academia, the quality of publications, inequality in the science system or the economic impact on the publication system.

The result on the citation advantage of Open Access publications was discussed particularly intensively. Here, the data turned out to be less clear than expected. However, it was also noted that methodological difficulties could occur during measurement in this field. The result of the discussion was that a citation advantage of Open Access can continue to be assumed and can also be cited in advisory discussions. “All studies that show no advantage do not automatically prove a citation disadvantage,” as one participant commented.

Tools and projects to support Open Access

Various tools to support Open Access publishing were particularly popular this year. With “B!SON”, a recommendation service was presented that is helpful for many scientists and scholars in finding a suitable Open Access journal for articles that have already been written. The title, abstract and references are entered into the tool, which then displays suitable Open Access journals on this basis, and awards them a score which can be used to determine a “match”. B!SON was/is developed by the TIB and the Saxon State and University Library Dresden (SLUB).

Another useful service with a similar goal was introduced in the form of the “oa.finder”, developed by the Bielefeld University Library in the context of the project. Authors can use this research tool to find suitable publication locations by entering their own role in the submission process, as well as the scientific institution where they work. It is possible to tailor the result to suit individual needs using different search and filter options. Both tools are currently in the beta version – the developers are still particularly keen to receive feedback.

A further session was dedicated to the question of what needs to be considered when converting from PDF to PDF/a in the context of long-term archiving, and which tools can be drawn upon to validate PDF/a files. This provided an opportunity to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of tools such as JHOVE, veraPDF and AvePDF.

The KOALA project (building consortial Open Access solutions) showed us which standards (German) apply for journals and publication series that participate in financing through KOALA consortia. Based upon these standards, the project aims to create an instrument that contributes to safeguarding processes and quality in journals and publishing houses. The project is developing sustainable, collaborative funding through scientific libraries, in order to establish an alternative to the dominant APC model.

Illustration 2: Results on the User Experience of the website

In addition, the project gave the Barcamp participants the opportunity to give feedback on its services. On the one hand, they evaluated the range of information and discussed the newly designed website. On the other, they focussed on the project events, discussing achievements and making suggestions for improvement. Here, the breadth of the different formats received particular praise, as did the fact that offers such as the “Open Access Talk” series have become very well established in the German-speaking countries.

Open Access communication: Reaching the target audience

Many members of the community are still working on how best to bring OA issues to different audiences. One of the sessions emphasised that, although the aspect of communication in Open Access work was regarded as very important, the required skills are often lacking – not least, because it has hardly played a role in library training to date. One of the central challenges in reaching the individual target groups is that different communication routes need to be served, which in turn requires strategic know-how. In order to stabilise and intensify the exchange, the idea of founding a focus group within the framework of the project was proposed; this will be pursued further during a preparatory meeting at the end of June 2022.

Illustration 3: Screenshot of MIRO whiteboard for documenting the Barcamp

Another session also considered the question of communicative ways to disseminate Open Access. Here the format of low-threshold exchange formats was discussed. The Networking and Competence Centre Open Access Brandenburg relocated its own “Open Access Smalltalk” series (German) to the Barcamp – very much in the spirit of openness, and initiated a discussion on how to get interested people around the table. In particular, it was argued that virtual formats offer a lower barrier to participation in such exchanges and that warm-ups can really lead to mobilising participants.

Challenges faced by libraries

The issues and challenges of practical day-to-day Open Access at libraries were also discussed a great deal this year. The topic of how to monitor publication costs found great resonance, for example, and was discussed both in a session and in one of the subsequent discussions one of the topic tables. Against the backdrop of increasing Open Access quotas and costs, libraries face the urgent challenge of getting an overview of the central and decentral publication costs. Here they are applying various techniques, such as de-centrally using their own inventory accounts, but also through their own research and with the help of the Open Access monitor.

A further session explored the topic of secondary publication service, specifically looking at which metadata can be gathered on research funders in repositories, and how. The discussion covered specific practical tips for implementation, including recommendations for the metadata schemata Crossref and RADAR/DataCite, for example.

One of the final sessions at the Barcamp explored the issue of how libraries can ensure that they provide “appropriate” publication opportunities. In doing so, reference was made to the “Recommendations for Moving Scientific Publishing Towards Open Access” (German), published by the German Council of Science and Humanities in 2022. To find out which publication routes researchers want and need, it is necessary to be in close contact with the various scientific communities. The session considered how contacts could be improved within the participants’ own institutions. Various communication channels were mentioned, such as via subject specialists, faculty councils/ representatives or seminars for doctoral candidates.

Illustration 4: Screenshot of feedback from the community


We can look back on a multifaceted and lively Open Access Barcamp 2022. The open concept was well received, and there was considerable willingness from the participants to actively join in and help shape the sessions. The jointly compiled programme offered a wide range of topics and opportunities to discuss everyday Open Access issues. In this virtual setting, people also joined in and contributed to the collegial atmosphere. After the two days, the community returned to everyday life armed with new input and fresh ideas; we would like to thank all those who took part, and look forward to the next discussion.

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Open Access goes Barcamp, Part 2: How to organise networking online

by Hannah Schneider (KIM), Andreas Kirchner (KIM) und Maximilian Heber (KIM)

You normally get together for a Barcamp event on site in a relaxed atmosphere, write ideas on whiteboards, pinboards or flipcharts and switch back and forth between the sessions as you see fit. You also naturally get into conversations with others in the kitchenette, in the corridors, during breaks or when having dinner together. All these elements enliven Barcamps and make them what they are. So how do you succeed in transferring a physical setting of this kind into a virtual space while staying true to the character of a Barcamp event?

Choose the right tools for the online Barcamp event

As we wanted the virtual Open Access Barcamp to reflect not only the exchange of information and ideas but also the networking character online, we decided to use as the technical basis. In our opinion, this tool is better than other videoconferencing software, such as Zoom or BigBlueButton, at facilitating quick conversational exchanges and the independent formation of small groups. A special feature of is that it offers users the option of moving around freely as a small figure in a space specially created for the respective event. As soon as you approach others, the camera and microphone are activated. This helps participants make a variety of contacts – just like at real meetings. We also considered using, but since it does not provide for flexible room design, we ultimately decided against it.

Screenshot 1: The room (CC BY 4.0)

We also used the online whiteboard Miro to collaboratively collect topics and for documentation purposes. This gave participants the opportunity to catch up on the contents of the sessions they could not attend. We chose Miro because it offers both a voting function and enough space for different groups to work in different corners at the same time.

Since technical issues and problems are to be expected when using such interactive tools, there were also two people in the conference room who provided technical support throughout the event, in addition to a central helpdesk email address. This proved to be very helpful, especially at the beginning of the event. An illustrated guide on how to use the tools was sent out in advance to help participants prepare for the event.

Screenshot 2: The Miro whitheboard (CC BY 4.0)

A central point of the programme at the beginning of each Barcamp event is the session planning to collectively set the agenda. The aim was to fill the five 45-minute sessions with up to three parallel events. To do so, we first collected topics on Miro and then presented each topic for one minute in an elevator pitch. A vote integrated into Miro then determined which topics should be included in the agenda. Care was taken to ensure that they did not overlap in order to allow as many people as possible to participate in the most popular sessions. The scheduling preference of the people giving the sessions was also taken into account.

Illustration 3: Session planning (CC BY 4.0)

To sweeten the break for the participants while the organisation team finalised the programme, a conference bag containing Open Access items and chocolates was sent to their home office in advance as a “care package”. For this purpose, we had asked the participants to provide their addresses on a voluntary basis during registration and most of them accepted the offer.

Illustration 4: Carepaket (CC BY 4.0)

How to create networking opportunities online

Since networking with other people is often more difficult at online events than at on-site meetings, and brief conversations during the coffee break usually don’t happen during virtual events, we specifically scheduled times for socialising.

Participants were given time to get to know each other better on the first day. For this purpose, three organisational questions were asked, according to which everyone in the room was asked to line up (for example, “I have already been to a Barcamp event” ? line up in ascending order from never to very often). The resulting groups were then given the opportunity to chat.

A kind of “speed dating” activity also took place allowing participants to talk to one person for five minutes, after which the interlocutors changed partners in order to ensure that each participant could have several different conversations.

We also deliberately left a time slot open on the second day for topics that either had not made it onto the agenda or required more extensive discussion. During this time slot, everyone could gather around “topic tables” to discuss aspects that concern them personally in their everyday work with Open Access. In keeping with the motto “bring-your-own-problem”, this facilitated practice-oriented discussions in smaller groups, for example on the topics of secondary publications, publication funds or Open Access consulting services.

During the evening programme, likewise held in, the participants were first given the opportunity to put their general knowledge to the test in a pub quiz. They then also had a chance to make or consolidate contacts with other Open Access enthusiasts in an informal setting. Although all the participants had spent the whole day sitting in front of the screen, about 25 people met up again in in the evening. Even though the quiz could have been a little shorter according to the feedback from some participants, it was a relaxed get-together despite the virtual setting.

The online Barcamp thrived on the active participation

We feel that the virtual Open Access Barcamp was a successful experiment all things considered and are pleased that the community had a lively exchange of ideas in our innovative setting. The two-day online event thrived on the contribution and collaboration of everyone and the active engagement of the participants. Numerous practical aspects and challenges in the everyday work with Open Access were addressed and discussed, and participants looked for solutions together.

We would like to point out that the vast majority of participants saw the video conferencing tool as very suitable, despite initial technical difficulties. It not only challenged and supported participants with their activities, but also facilitated conversations in the virtual kitchenette or socialising time slots. The combination with an online whiteboard such as Miro has also proven successful for session planning as well as for collaboration and documentation during the Open Access Barcamp. It should be noted, however, that the technical performance of online events is highly dependent on the internet connection and other technical conditions that are difficult to influence as an organiser. The virtual format nevertheless offers all interested parties the opportunity to exchange ideas easily with the Open Access community, regardless of location and without having to travel far or implement other logistical planning measures.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all participants for their active and lively engagement in the programme. We would also like to thank them for their openness to the unconventional online format and their patience with technical problems. A big thank you also goes out to the entire project team for their great teamwork. We are looking forward to #OABarcamp22 next year!

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This text has been translated from German.

The post Open Access goes Barcamp, Part 2: How to organise networking online first appeared on ZBW MediaTalk.

Open Access goes Barcamp, Part 1: A new networking opportunity for the Open Access community

by Hannah Schneider (KIM), Maximilian Heber (KIM) and Andreas Kirchner (KIM)

The first Open Access Barcamp took place on 22 and 23 April 2021 – virtually, owing to the pandemic. However, the approximately 80 participants were very enthusiastic about the unusual format. Between 9:00 and 14:30 each day, the participants focussed on a varied programme which they had put together themselves in animated discussions about Open Access topics.

Alongside the annual Open Access Days (German) – a central German-speaking conference on the topic of Open Access – this year’s Open Access Barcamp, which was organised by the Communication, Information, Media Centre (KIM) at the University of Konstanz , also offered the community the chance to exchange ideas, network and learn from each other. The Barcamp format is designed to be more open than a classic conference and deliberately does not use a pre-determined programme. Instead, the participants can suggest topics and hold sessions on issues of their choice. This means that everyone can discuss the topics that they find the most interesting.

Screenshot #1: Session-Voting (CC BY 4.0)

Great interest in legal topics

During the session planning it became clear that the Open Access community is currently concerned with many diverse topics.

The great majority of participants were interested in legal topics. One of the sessions included a workshop on legal issues in Open Access consulting in which three groups in parallel worked on two typical consulting cases. The first case was the critical evaluation of a publishing house contract. The issue was broached that contracts like these could entail problems such as substantial cost risks or a restrictive transfer of rights. Regarding service offers, participants discussed how to recognise these disruptive elements and the best way of proceeding in a consultative capacity. The second case was a discussion on the topic of image copyright. The topics of who has rights to an image, how the quotation law applies here and how images are regulated in a publishing house contract were discussed.

During one session on Creative Commons licenses, an intensive discussion developed on the extent to which these were suitable for Open Access books. Using the example of the Saint Philip Street Press publishing house, participants critically discussed the aspect of how publishing houses publish again an Open Access book because open licenses allow reuse and editing of the work. Everyone agreed that this problem exists not only for books but also for all works with open licenses. The group came to the conclusion that honesty and transparency are important for Open Access consulting despite this circumstance: “We’re not sales people, we want to help scientists”.

Exchange about the design of secondary publication services

The topic of secondary publication took up a lot of space owing to the considerable interest of the Barcamp participants. Practitioners met for a major discussion session that dealt with the concrete implementation of secondary publication services. In doing so, they not only discussed the services institutions offer for green Open Access but also how these can be implemented at technical, organisational and legal levels. Together, they discussed challenges in the daily dealings with secondary publications such as automatised imports, publishing house requests or legal checks. Google Scholar alerts, data imports from the Web of Science and the integration of Sherpa Romeo into the institutional repository were mentioned as solution approaches. The scope of secondary publication services for scientists in the individual institutions was also discussed. It became clear that the institutions differ very strongly in their activities but also in their capacities.

Publication data management and establishment of a digital focus group

Another topic that was discussed was how the publication data management is implemented in the different institutional repositories. Here the role of the Open Access Monitor (German) of the Forschungszentrum Jülich in measuring the publication occurrence was mentioned, but also the problem that metadata are used very inconsistently and must sometimes also be entered later by hand. The discussion on the topic of secondary publication was continued in depth after the session and ultimately led to the establishment of a new digital focus group.

Screenshot #2: Session room in (CC BY 4.0)

A discussion on the support possibilities of Diamond Open Access and an exchange of ideas about Open Access advocacy as well as promoting Open Access services at one’s own institution also enticed many people to the session rooms. The sessions spanning the publication of research data and the further development of existing Open Access policies as far as suitable Open Science policies all demonstrated that the Open Access community is also interested them. The technical perspectives of publication software were examined as well as the requirements placed on them

Swarm intelligence on the further development of the information platform

The collective know-how of the participants was used to gather recommendations from the community for the further development of the information platform into a skills and networking portal. For this purpose, not only was it determined how the current site is used, but also what demands and expectations are placed on a skills and network portal. Among other things, the provision of materials to support Open Access consultation cases and a clearer and more intuitive site structure were mentioned here. These and other ideas will flow into the further development of the website.

Discussion about special publication topics

Concrete publication topics were also discussed: For example, there was a session about the Gender Publication Gap in Open Access. The general issue of the impact of gender in science was taken up and participants discussed whether this effect would be increased or reduced by Open Access. The discussion came to the conclusion that this is a very multi-faceted topic and the data situation is still very thin.

Communication of Open Access transformation

The topic of scholar-led publishing in the field of Open Access books was examined and the project COPIM was presented. Participants also discussed the topic of transformation, including the aspect of how the project DEAL and the Open Access transformation could be communicated at one’s own institution. Challenges mentioned here included the reallocation of budgets as well as the difficulty of convincing authors to choose always the Open Access option for DEAL publications. The group agreed that active communication within subject departments and committees as well as information material on the website are currently the most promising methods.

Screenshot #3: Collaboration and transcripts of the sessions on MIRO (CC BY 4.0)

Diverse opportunities to chat about the everyday challenges of Open Access

The programme’s flexible design offered the participants in the Open Access Barcamp a variety of possibilities to chat about current and everyday Open Access topics. Everyday challenges and issues were discussed in direct dialogue with other practitioners, both in the big sessions and in smaller groups.

Even though, as mentioned at the beginning, the Open Access Barcamp took place in a virtual setting, the readiness of the participants to get actively involved and help shape the event was considerable. Our organisational team found that it was important to create an appealing virtual environment to enable an exchange of ideas and networking to take place online too. In the next blog post we describe the chances and challenges that planning such a dynamic event as an online format brings with it. Stay tuned!

More blog posts about the Open Access Barcamp

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This text has been translated from German.

The post Open Access goes Barcamp, Part 1: A new networking opportunity for the Open Access community first appeared on ZBW MediaTalk.