On October 16-17, 2018, University of California (UC) libraries hosted a working forum in Berkeley, California, called Choosing Pathways to Open Access (CP2OA). Sponsored by the University of California’s Council of University Librarians (CoUL), the forum was designed to enable North American library and consortium leaders and key academic stakeholders to engage in action-focused deliberations about redirecting subscription and other funds toward sustainable open access (OA) publishing.
More than 120 participants arrived from more than 80 institutions, nearly 30 states, and four Canadian provinces. The goal was for everyone to leave with their own customized plans for how they will repurpose subscription spends within their home organizations or communities—and more broadly, through collective efforts, move the OA needle forward.
CP2OA was admittedly a gamble: Could library stakeholders spend two days immersed in a design thinking process, wrestling with the nitty-gritty of numerous OA funding strategies, then depart with actionable steps for making OA a reality? When CoUL approved the forum, they charged the Planning Committee (that’s us) not only with putting the forum together, but also with reporting back to them about whether this grand experiment worked. We have followed up with participants and analyzed the data, and the results are clear: Through CP2OA, the UC libraries have helped to inspire meaningful change.
With that, we hereby announce our Planning Committee’s report to CoUL analyzing forum outcomes. To keep CP2OA momentum going, our report also synthesizes forum outcomes into recommendations for further collective action by CoUL to advance OA. The report’s recommendations reflect our personal opinions as Planning Committee members, and are not an official statement by CoUL, nor should publication of this report be seen as CoUL’s endorsement of our recommendations. We are thrilled that CoUL will be considering our recommendations at its upcoming June meeting, and further note that some of our recommendations reflect efforts already underway within various UC libraries.
We encourage you to check out the full report to see why the format of CP2OA was so successful, and to learn more about everything it inspired. We also understand you may just want the highlights, so … without further ado:
CP2OA Forum Outcomes
Two months after the forum, we surveyed participants about their perceptions of the forum, and any actions they had taken as a result of having participated. Our survey response rate was approximately 48% (58 responses), and revealed the following:
- Perceptions of the forum were almost universally positive, with some participants describing the forum as “exceptional,” “highly effective,” “energizing and motivating,” and a “model for how we should be engaging professionally.” Participants found the forum structure particularly conducive to enabling action.
- Though just two months had passed between the CP2OA forum and the time when we polled participants, more than 75% of responding participants reported having taken action toward advancing open access. Fifty percent (50%) of those who took action embarked upon what we categorized as “concrete” actions—that is, express steps such as starting pilots, undertaking publishing data analyses, and negotiating with publishers. The remaining 50% undertook at a minimum conversations and outreach within or external to their libraries.
- Some examples of concrete next steps included: (1) formation of a group providing consultations and support for transitioning society publications to open access (http://www.tspoa.org); (2) first OA investment by an institution that had not yet formally engaged with OA; (3) commitment to requiring OA in upcoming license negotiations with a STEM publisher; (4) formation of OA values statements to guide institutional investment; (5) pursuit of transformative (e.g., offsetting or “read and publish”) agreements through which an institution’s publications are made OA as part of an overall subscription license agreement; (6) building OA publishing into promotion and tenure considerations; and (7) increased institutional repository deposits and outreach.
Planning Committee’s Recommendations to CoUL
In advance of considering our recommendations this summer, CoUL has already approved some right off the bat, including:
- Making available the CP2OA Planning Committee’s report and all CP2OA public-facing documentation so that other institutions can have a blueprint for replicating or tailoring CP2OA to their needs. CoUL also approved a second round of CP2OA reporting so the Planning Committee could check in on forum participants’ progress later in the year.
- Continuing CoUL’s efforts to develop a public toolkit to support other institutions seeking to engage in “big deal” (large subscription journal package) re-negotiations that include OA components, and/or to engage more generally in transformative (e.g., offsetting/read-and-publish) agreements.
In June, CoUL will be addressing the other proposals in our report, including:
- Engaging the UC academic senate with OA in promotion and tenure
- Expanding institutional staffing and support for identification and evaluation of, and decision-making relating to, OA publishing investments and transforming the scholarly publishing landscape
- Dedicating collections funds across campuses to be used for supporting OA publishing
- Funding new data analyst positions to provide further inward-facing support for data-driven OA investments by UC libraries as well as outward-facing consultative support to the community beyond UC
- Collective investment in UC Press OA publishing
- Increasing support for monograph subventions for UC authors
- Collective investment in transformative cooperatives or non-APC approaches to OA publishing
- Committing to enhancing eScholarship, including expansion of OA publishing services
- Exploring opportunities for collective investment in open source infrastructure to support OA publishing
We will keep the community updated about how CoUL responds to these recommendations, as well as any UC collective next steps.
In the meantime, we hope you will share in some of the excitement that CP2OA has generated and continue your own journeys toward helping to transform our scholarly publishing ecosystem.
Onward to open access!
- Rachael Samberg (UC Berkeley; CP2OA Co-chair)
- Donald Barclay (UC Merced)
- John Renaud (UC Irvine)
- Lisa Schiff (California Digital Library)
- Allegra Swift (UC San Diego)
- Anneliese Taylor (UCSF)
- Mat Willmott (California Digital Library)