Phew, how time flies… so much has happened within the project recently, and since COPIM has just reached the 18-month mark, we wanted to provide an update on the work done and the progress made by COPIM and its seven Work Packages.
Since our last update, we have welcomed new members to the COPIM team, both to replace departing staff and to fill new roles as the project grows; we reflected on some of the lessons learned during the project’s first year, we published a wealth of new research outputs, including significant reports on library funding and infrastructure governance; and presented our work at a number of workshops and conferences. We have seen the successful uptake of COPIM’s Opening the Future model by publishers who are shifting their business models to Open Access; we have taken important steps forward in the development of COPIM’s open source multi-format metadata management service Thoth; and, and, and… it’s been very busy!
Please join us to learn more about the progress made by the various Work Packages below.
These past few weeks we have been very much focused on organising external workshops, many of which were facilitated jointly with our fellow OA communities, the Open Access Book Network, SPARC Europe, OASPA and OPERAS.
Led by Agata Morka, Lucy Barnes and Tom Mosterd, these inspiring collaborations included the “A Plan S for books: Voices from the Community” workshop series as well as the OPERAS-P and OASPA workshop series on innovative business models for OA books.
Next to that, we supported the Work Package teams in finalising research outputs, detailed below. An overview of presentations given by members of COPIM is also continually updated in our Outreach overview.
In March, we welcomed Dr. Judith Fathallah on board the COPIM ship. In her Research and Outreach Associate role, Judith is working with the WP2 team, which is continuing its conceptual work on the Open Book Collective platform — an open, community-led infrastructure that we envision will become a central information hub for libraries, hosting small-scale, scholar-led Open Access book publishers as well as information about Open Access books more broadly. A key element of this platform will be the facilitation of financial support by libraries, and the team is currently exploring how this might be put into practice together with project partner Jisc, which is focused on the UK, and library consortia in other national contexts. WP2 continues with a program of consultative outreach for the collective and platform, enabling us to meet the needs and requirements of stakeholder communities.
Building on the exploratory research conducted during the first year of COPIM, and drawing on a series of interviews and workshop discussions with US and UK librarians as well as publishers, WP2 have now also finalised their major scoping report The promise of collaboration: collective funding models and the integration of Open Access books into libraries.
In close cooperation with the OPERAS-P project, COPIM members Agata Morka and Rupert Gatti have published a comprehensive scan of the European library landscape regarding Open Access books, with, as they write, the goal of gaining “a sound understanding of how academic libraries work, how they deal with open access initiatives, and what challenges they encounter.” As well as the traditional PDF output format, we have also made a living document version of the report available to support continuous further development of this large-scale landscape overview.
At WP3, we have continued our work on getting the Opening the Future model — a collective library membership model to support legacy publishers in transitioning to an Open Access model — off the ground. With the recent announcement that the first fully OA book is scheduled for publication by our first pilot publisher, CEU Press, the team have achieved an important milestone.
But the biggest news this month is that our second pilot press is ready to go live and can now be announced! Drum roll please…
Liverpool University Press launch an Opening the Future programme this week, with 36 titles on offer in their backlist package: lup.openingthefuture.net. The monographs available to library members are all titles from two well-regarded series on hispanic and lusophone culture and literature. Anthony Cond, Liverpool University Press CEO, said
“The strategic and societal importance of understanding different languages and cultures demands evolving models of research dissemination. The Opening the Future membership scheme is forward-looking and offers a new pathway to impact in a vital field, and Liverpool University Press is well-placed to be an early pioneer. We have been a publisher of open access books for more than a decade and a publisher of high quality Hispanic Studies research for more than a century. Now in 2021 Opening the Future will renew our commitment to open access in the modern languages.”
We at COPIM WP3 are very excited to be expanding the model with Liverpool University Press and look forward to working with them and CEU Press to make the programmes a success.
As well as this progress, WP3 is continuing to scope out and make public the different elements required to facilitate the Opening the Future approach, with a crucial step recently taken together with Jisc to integrate the OtF model into Jisc’s subscription workflow.
On the level of outreach, Martin Eve and Tom Grady have been very active in promoting the Opening the Future model, with presentations at UKSG’s annual conference, the RLUK21 conference, and the Library Publishing Forum, among others.
WP4 have been very active in further co-developing their ongoing research on community governance models. A comprehensive scoping report exploring frameworks relating to cooperativism, the commons, and community rule, and with a focus on how they might be applied to COPIM has just recently been published.
The report is part of an overarching process to document COPIM’s approach, which involves co-designing our governance model and a corresponding set of values and principles together with the COPIM project team and with input from the Humanities Commons Governance Working Group that advises the WP team. We will expand this initial scoping report towards an extended Best Practices Report for others to use. Similar to other reports, this publication has been made available in the format of a time-stamped PDF, while we invite further feedback and comments via the living document version of the report, which we will further develop during the remainder of the project.
As part of this co-design approach, WP4’s team have also worked to develop a bespoke Code of Conduct for COPIM, a document that has undergone iterative internal feedback cycles, and has now been released in its first offical version.
Next to that, WP4 has been organising a set of internal workshops together with the larger COPIM team to engage in that earlier-mentioned co-design approach which — guided by the scoping report — helps us to explore the variety of governance questions that relevant on the level of Work Packages and beyond.
WP5 is very happy to welcome three new team members to COPIM: In December 2020, Ross Higman joined WP5 as a developer, and in May 2021, Tim Elfenbein started on the project. Further to that, Tom Mosterd will be joining the team from July 2021. Tim and Tom will be holding the shared role of Product Manager, and will be working towards scoping, characterising and implementing the services provided through Thoth — our open metadata management and dissemination system — for users and stakeholders. Next to that, they will explore ways to develop this into a sustainable, values-based open source infrastructure for the easy management and dissemination of open metadata for OA books.
With regards to outputs, Team WP5 has updated its “Building an Open Dissemination System” scoping report to include feedback and new knowledge as well as to integrate the Wiki that is used to collect OA book-related output formats, platforms, and other systems and stakeholders that relate to the development of Thoth.
Development work on Thoth is running full steam ahead: the team is engaging with the ScholarLed group of publishers to ingest real-life use-case data, with feedback from publishers being overwhelmingly positive, as Thoth helps them to manage their metadata records more efficiently. Next in the development pipeline, we will extend functionality to offer more metadata output formats, more granular access to publication- as well as publisher-level data.
During the first weeks of 2021, the WP6 team continued their work on scoping the landscape of experimental book publishing, which culminated in a major report titled Books Contain Multitudes: Exploring Experimental Publishing. This publication is a three-part research and scoping report that situates experimental book publishing in the context of academic research, maps current experiments as part of a typology of experimental books, and reviews existing resources on tools, platforms, and software used in the production of experimental books. The report is in itself conceived as an experimental publication, with a time-stamped PDF version made availabe as ‘traditional’ output, while a Living Book version will continue to grow over the remainder of the project.
Work on the experimental book publishing pilot projects continues to gather pace! Janneke Adema, Gary Hall and Gabriela Méndez Cota have published a three-part series of blog posts (I, II, and III) on the work currently happening on the Combinatorial Books: Gathering Flowers pilot. Run by Open Humanities Press (OHP) in collaboration with a group of scholars and technologists from the Universidad Iberoamericana Ciudad de México, this pilot focuses on collaborative (re)writing, annotation, and disappropriation.
Our collaborative work with Simon Worthington (TIB Hannover, Germany) is also progressing well, with two emerging showcase formats in development:
X-Sketchbook — Publishing and Place, an experimental project in architectural publishing, which is being conceptualised as a Jupyter Notebooks output produced in collaboration between TIB, the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL (UK), and COPIM;
and Citizen Science for Research Libraries — A Guide, a compact gateway publication for the purpose of assisting research libraries to start setting up a Citizen Science programme. The book will be published by the LIBER’s Citizen Science Working Group and COPIM will be advising on alternative forms of (open community) review.
The WP6 team have also been very active in planning and running a mini workshops series on ReUsing Sources: Texts and Data, which explore how the relationship between sources and books is shifting. Together with a broad group of invited scholars, makers and publishers, the workshops aim to develop a practice of engaging with texts and data beyond prevalent conventions of citation and quotation. The workshops have been developed in collaboration with the teams behind the Combinatorial Books and Computing the Archive pilot projects.
WP7 are in the process of recruiting a Research Associate to replace Dr Emily Bell, who left COPIM to take up a postdoctoral position in early spring. Desk research on repository platforms and presentation platforms is continuing, in preparation for the publication of WP7’s scoping report. In the near future, WP7 will also be exploring how it can support the work of WP6, to ensure the long-term preservation of their experimental projects.
Work continues apace at COPIM, and we are entering an exciting and crucial phase of the project with several of the Work Packages getting into the nuts and bolts of building their outputs, while the formation of our governance structures enters a critical stage. We have several conference appearances lined up over the summer, including at LIBER, OAI, and the Jisc and CNI library leaders conference and we hope to be successful with more proposals for the autumn — so look out for members of our team at an event near you!
Until next time…