The OBC is incorporated in the UK as a not-for-profit company (limited by guarantee) and we are working towards an application for UK Charity Commission registration. Once this process is complete the OBC intends to transition into a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (a CIO). The OBC adopts an ‘Association’ model, which has a wider voting membership. Currently, the OBC, as a community-led and membership-driven organisation, is governed by the views of its members and the regulations of its Articles of Association.
Values & Aims
We are a member-led, values-based organisation and operate according to the following principles:
care for and curation of high-quality open access scholarly books and long-form scholarship;
a commitment to bibliodiversity;
collaboration and resource-sharing over competition;
networked community-building over profit-driven centralization;
horizontal working relationships over exclusive hierarchization;
scaling small over scaling up; and
growing and safeguarding access to scholarly books for global readers without barriers.
Our aim is to support the production and dissemination of open access books in a rich diversity of forms, while also being responsive to, as well as driven by, the community of communities dedicated to public knowledge and the significant value of the book in researcher and reader communities. Instead of dominant approaches to organisational growth that tend to flatten community diversity through economies of scale, almost always aimed at scaling up, scaling small is nurtured through intentional collaborations between community-driven open access book publishers and open publishing service providers that promote bibliodiversity while also providing resilience through resource and knowledge sharing and other forms of mutual aid.
Our further aim is to foster and support sustainable infrastructures that enable open access book publishing ventures at smaller to medium-sized scales in order to ensure a wider diversity of actors and content in the scholarly publishing landscape, and to cultivate more spaces where scholarly book publishing will not be monopolised and gated by a small handful of large for-profit corporations.
Ultimately, our work focuses on
developing and maintaining strategies and mechanisms whereby open access books and long-form scholarship are more widely circulated and discovered;
ensuring that smaller and medium-sized open access book publishers and open publishing service providers are better represented within the knowledge systems curated by research libraries; and
enabling libraries and other knowledge institutions to have a better ability to discover and evaluate a wide variety of community-led open access publishers and open publishing service providers that are seeking financial and other support from institutions of higher learning.
Why Support Open Access Book Publishing
Open access book publishers employ the best standards of scholarly review and ensure the highest level of quality for their books, as with any other academic publisher. Open access books enable critical engagement with the wider public who otherwise cannot access nor afford academic books, the insights from which enriches reading and research communities around the globe and empowers them to build upon that knowledge and to collaborate with other scholars, thus helping to build a more equitable and democratic knowledge commons that leads to more innovation. Because open access books are available without barriers to everyone in the world, they get used and cited more often which is invaluable for scholars who want their work to have as much reach and impact as possible and this also raises the profile of the institutions who sponsor their research. Unlike traditional copyrighted books, open access books can be used for text and data mining which also contributes to the increase of knowledge. Because open access books are dispersed so widely, their long-term preservation is much better assured. Open knowledge means that whatever challenges and crises the world is facing, and there are many, more people can come to the table to help solve problems and devise solutions. Open Access book publishing, and its increase over time, stems the tide of the proprietary enclosure of scholarship by large commercial-conglomerate publishers and returns knowledge to the public who fund it. Ultimately, open access books unlock a wealth of research that should be available to all who need it and whose lives will be immeasurably improved as a result.
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