Pondering the arrival of the Open Publishing Awards | FORCE11

“This year, Coko’s Founder Adam Hyde organized and launched the Open Publishing Awards with a stated mission to celebrate all things open and publishing. The initial ‘launch’ of the awards via social media and a website debut was in August, and somehow the organization managed to assemble a panel of judges, solicit nominations, plan an event and deliver on a shortlist of winners, all within a few weeks. After the awards ceremony last week at FORCE 2019, it is a good time to stop and think: were the awards successful? How can we assess the success, failure, or utility of awards programs, in general? Is there room for another?

First, we can take a look at the ‘why’ behind the awards. The Open Publishing Awards website makes it clear: they aim to celebrate and raise awareness about all things open and publishing. This year, that meant open software and open content, as those were the two categories that nominations were solicited within. Is it enough to “celebrate” and announce a “shortlist” – or are we really hungry to create single category “winners” the way that other awards programs tend to?

Next, who is ordained to decide a) what is open, and/or b) how open is ‘open’? This is a semantic and ideological discussion that occurs on an ongoing basis. My open may not be open enough for you or vice versa. The category descriptions offered some help, but was it enough? …”