The Open Access Books Network (OABN) is a relatively new kid on the block, but it punches above its weight. It launched in September 2020, as a bottom-up initiative focused on OA books, coordinated by representatives of DOAB/OAPEN, SPARC Europe, and ScholarLed. In its first year, the OABN has brought together the OA books community to stage numerous events, share best practices, and discuss new developments and initiatives with an emphasis on OA books. This lightning talk will explore our experiences developing the OABN, our early growth, and the lessons we have learned along the way.
Our most significant series of community events so far began in March 2021: over the span of three months, we ran a series of workshops, Voices from the OA Books Community, devoted to exploring different aspects of policy for OA books, to gather wide-ranging feedback from the community that could inform the forthcoming Plan S guidance for books. The series gathered around 450 different stakeholders, including publishers, funders, OA policy makers, researchers, librarians, and infrastructure providers from all over the world. This series demonstrated that the OABN can be a valuable vehicle in facilitating knowledge exchange in the relatively niche field of OA books.
Now that we are celebrating OABN’s first birthday, we want to look back at lessons learnt from the past twelve months. How does one build a strong network, uniting such diverse stakeholders as publishers, librarians, service providers, policymakers and funders? How do we engage and encourage community members to interact with the OABN? How does it help them and what questions do they have? This lightning talk will provide a snapshot of the first year of the OABN, answering some of the aforementioned questions and with an emphasis on the community-oriented ‘Voices from the OA Books Community’ series.