Open for Collaboration

Friday, October 23, 2015

Jessica Clark, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

Another year, another Open Access Week. Time flies when you’re having fun, right? That’s certainly been the case here at the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, where a lot has happened on our Open Access file over the past year. Particularly, we were proud to release our Open Access Policy for the Awards to Scholarly Publications Program (ASPP) in April. Almost two years of work went into developing that policy, and the past six months have seen us embark on some first steps forward in implementing it.

The theme for this year’s International Open Access Week is “Open for Collaboration” and I think this theme is a perfect way to describe our policy and the work we’re doing to implement it. The policy – in which the Federation commits to “facilitate and promote” Open Access books – is firmly grounded in the idea of collaboration.  We’re currently working with different groups representing publishers, libraries and content licensors to develop some projects related to OA books. We’re committed to this collaborative approach because we believe that it is the best way to develop the still fledging conversation about OA books in this country. Our work so far has shown us that the different parties involved – scholars, publishers, libraries, universities and funders – still have a lot to learn about each other, but the willingness is there and the conversation is happening. Working together will enrich that conversation through building shared experiences.

We hope that our long-term, collaborative engagement in this issue will contribute to the sort of shift we’ve seen on OA journals – more understanding, more support and more content.

Ultimately, our goal is more books available in OA, free for anyone to use for research, teaching and practice. Hopefully not too long from now more books will be “Open for Collaboration.” But before we can get there, there are still lots of conversations to be had, lots of experiments to try and lots of research to be done. And the Federation will be there, with our sleeves rolled up, ready to help out, ready to lead. 


Open accessAward to Scholarly Publications Program