More than a research topic? Open Access in Book, Library and Information Science

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By Anna Lingnau and Linda Martin

Open Access is no stranger to researchers of book, library and information sciences. The curricula normally includes Open Science and research data management. But what about the topic of openness within the disciplines itself? What developments are shaping the studies and is Open Access a common way to publish? These and other questions were jointly addressed by the Fachinformationsdienst Buch-, Bibliotheks- und Informationswissenschaften and in an online workshop on 11th October 2022.

Dr. Nikolaus Weichselbaumer, researcher at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, sharpened the participants' understanding of sources and forms of publication, those that were "born digital" and those that were subsequently digitised. Weichselbaumer emphasised the central role of associations and small publishers, whose journals and series important for book studies, due to financial feasibility or for"publishing in good neighbourhood" (meaning publishing in series or anthologies together with colleagues) .
Esther Asef, an information scientist working in research data management at the Free University of Berlin, complemented this view with an insight into her work on publishing behaviour of library and information scientists, which she investigated in 2017. "It would be exciting if the topic were to be revisited now, after a few years, and Diamond Open Access could also be included," said Asef.

An insight into practice was provided by Laura Rothritz, who reported on her experience of publishing a proceedings volume in an open access journal. "Support for text formats that could be edited automatically (e.g. LaTex) would make the workflow easier," the speaker and the audience agreed. The organisation of the Open Access transformation of community journals requires knowledge and the existence of tools for (partially) automated preparation of texts and metadata.
After that Prof. Dr. Christoph Bläsi, book scholar at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, shed light on various stakeholders in academic publishing in the humanities and social sciences and on the results of the project "Autor:innen und Rechtssicherheit für Open Access" (AuROA). The modular model contracts created in the project are intended to facilitate the choice of an Open Access publication and encourage authors to "use their negotiating leeway", said Bläsi. Similarly, publishers, who were also consulted, could also use the modular model contracts.

The workshop was concluded by two "magic lists" on which the participants collectec their needs and existing challenges in Open Access publishing. Funding opportunities and the choice of publishers to rely on well-known, traditional publishing houses were mentioned. Valuable ideas for strengthening Open Access: Competencies around scientific publishing should already be implemented in the curricula of degree programmes. Furthermore, it would be good if "regulations for green Open Access were more uncomplicated and legally secure". Established researchers would have to contribute like a "steam engine" to increase the reputation of Open Access repositories, journals and series.  There was disagreement as to whether a repository should exist specifically for researchers in the book, library and information sciences: Some emphasised the advantage of a repository for data and texts from the community, while other participants pointed out that the number of general and subject repositories is already difficult to manage from a researcher's perspective.

The documentation of the workshop can be found on the workshop website. The series of thematic workshops will be continued in November with offers for scholars and authors in African Studies and the Arts. If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact linda.martin(at)

Report on the online workshop on 11 October 2022





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