“Over the course of the COPIM project, Work Package 2 has been in the process of developing a new online infrastructural intermediary that can sit between scholarly libraries and OA publishers and other initiatives, to deliver new and more sustainable sources of revenue. As mentioned in our last report, the organisation that will support this intermediary now has a name: Open Book Collective (OBC).
The OBC will respond to the need for new forms of collaborative interaction between publishers, researchers, universities, and scholarly libraries by offering a contextual platform that supports the promotion of open access publishing activities and facilitates collective funding support. OBC will be a non-profit incorporated entity legally founded in the UK and we expect soon to be able to confirm its precise organisational form….”
How should a collective be governed? This was the question that punctum books’ Director Eileen Joy and I took the lead in addressing, in collaboration with our COPIM colleagues and a range of workshop participants. The terms of the question seem almost contradictory: a ‘collective’ implies equity, collegiality, co-operation and a lack of organized hierarchy, whilst ‘governed’ suggests top-down management structures, or the imposition of rules and regulations by a select group over a larger majority. Obviously, the latter model would not be in line with the values of a project we are calling the Open Book Collective – i.e., a consortium that brings together publishers, librarians and other stakeholders in the future of open access monographs via a platform that catalogues, distributes and sustains OA books – yet at the same time, we needed to find a way that the different groups of stakeholders could be effectively organized to work together and get the most out of the platform in a mutually beneficial arrangement. For the purposes of the platform we are building, that means publishers, librarians, scholars, researchers, universities, infrastructure providers, authors, readers and more. The platform needs to respond to a wide range of interests, needs and requirements, even if all of us were committed to the overarching values of sustainable Open Access publishing for monographs.