Report Open Access

Community-led Open Publication Infrastructures for Monographs (COPIM): Annual Report - Year 2 (2020-2021)

Steiner, Tobias; Adema, Janneke

Project member(s)
Barnes, Miranda; Bowie, Simon; Cole, Gareth; Deville, Joe; Fathallah, Judith; Gatti, Rupert; Grady, Tom; Hall, Gary; Hart, Patrick; Higman, Ross; van Gerven Oei, Vincent W.J.

COPIM is committed to exploring solutions to some of the most pressing barriers currently preventing small publishers from interfacing with large-scale organisations and processes. As a result, COPIM is developing a significantly enriched, not-for-profit and open-source ecosystem for open access (OA) book publishing; one that will support and sustain a diversity of publishing initiatives and models, particularly within Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) publishing.

The adoption of alternative infrastructures, business models, preservation structures, and governance procedures, all to be scoped and developed through COPIM, will enable increased economic resilience and enhanced capacities for the publication and dissemination of open access books at smaller and larger scales. COPIM's approach offers Higher Education institutions and HSS researchers sustainable publishing models that they control, increased publishing options, and new revenue streams and cost reductions, designed to help build a more equitable horizontal and co-operative knowledge sharing community.

During the second year of the project, COPIM has continued its work in the areas of collaborative research, infrastructure development, project management and outreach and community building. Further evolving its approach to cope with the continued and compounding challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit have offered to the Higher Education sector and beyond, the project has succeeded in meeting the vast majority of its deliverables and milestones across all work packages, in some areas even outperforming the initial goals set.

The list of key output and activities delivered includes the:

  • publication of six new major scoping reports;
  • successful organisation and documentation of 15 workshops overall with more than 190 national and international high-profile stakeholders representing 22 countries
  • set-up and iterative extension of an Outreach and Dissemination network that is combining a variety of channels including social media and open community platforms;
  • beta launch and continuous further development of Thoth, COPIM’s Open Dissemination System. Thoth now makes open access book metadata available in an open, transparent, and participatory way. It will see further integration into the larger context of the Open Book Collective, among other outlets, to be developed in Year 3 and beyond.

The COPIM project has continued and deepened its engagement with the work packages’ variety of stakeholders (i.e., librarians, publishers, researchers, technology providers, and the general public), bringing together key experts and those interested in learning more about scholar-led, not-for-profit, OA book publishing. Alongside its own event organisation and outreach activities, COPIM has been involved in the Open Access Book Network, while COPIM team members have been invited to participate in a variety of external conferences, events, and networks by organisations and projects such as Invest in Open Infrastructure, OASPA, OPERAS, LIBER, the Next Generation Libraries Publishing project, OpenAIRE, The British Library, COAR, EIFL, and the European Open Science Cloud.

The sustained progress against the original plan during this second year is particularly noteworthy as the project had to work with the continued and compounding effects of the various challenges that COPIM saw in its first-year set-up. As already outlined during the first year Brexit and the pandemic – and the systemic effects these events continue to have on the Higher Education sector as a whole – governed much of the project work on COPIM. As a result, the project had to accommodate further delays in staff recruitment and an increase in pandemic-related limitations to availability of staff members due to extended care duties and the toll on health of all involved.

Despite these challenges COPIM, together with its stakeholders, is now well positioned to implement the open infrastructures and systems of governance conceptualised over its first two years, while continuing to develop its research and project management structures. COPIM has requested a six-month no-cost extension from its funders to make effective use of budget underspend accrued during the project’s lifetime because of the pandemic, and to enable the team to continue its work on the envisioned open infrastructures for monographs.

Community-led Open Publishing Infrastructures for Monographs (COPIM) is supported by the Research England Development (RED) Fund, and Arcadia—a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin.
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