The OAPEN Library and the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) were two of the first new services to participate in Infra Finder. IOI’s Lauren Collister sat down with Niels Stern, Managing Director of OAPEN, to review the experience of joining Infra Finder and to learn about their current initiatives. 

Yellow stylized globe with text "Find OAPEN in Infra Finder",

Lauren: What was your experience in creating the Infra Finder entries for OAPEN Library and DOAB? 

Niels: This was a real opportunity to do a 360° survey of all of the different initiatives and projects that we are doing. We had been through a similar process during the Principles of Open Scholarly Infrastructure (POSI) self-audit the previous year, which was a thorough process, so we had some experience with doing an inventory like this. For the Infra Finder intake form, the questions overlapped with the POSI self-audit in some ways, but asked some new questions as well. I experienced it as a big task, but one that gave us the opportunity to showcase some of our work that we don’t normally get a chance to share. It helps us be as transparent as possible about what we do, and we really want to demonstrate that transparency to funders and to institutions who want to work with us. 

Lauren: Was there anything you worked on because of the questions asked in the intake form?

Niels: Since it was kind of an x-ray of our operations and way of working, it certainly revealed some areas where we could improve. For example, there is a question about the open product roadmap. We share this with our library supporters during our annual meeting, but it’s not yet on our website. If that is something of interest to the community, then we can consider making it available more broadly. 

Yellow stylized globe with text "Find DOAB in Infra Finder",

Lauren: How is Infra Finder useful to you and the OAPEN community? 

Niels: We find it useful because it provides us with a means to disseminate a lot of information in a very concise way. Furthermore, we can use it to gather information about community partners that we could engage with. It’s also useful for us to share with those who are interested to learn about our work: they can look at our entry in Infra Finder and get an abridged version of what we do, and if they want to know more they can contact us.

Lauren: What advice would you give other infrastructure providers who are interested in being part of Infra Finder, and developing their own resources in these areas? 

Niels: It's worthwhile to be thorough and put as much effort into it as you can. When I first looked at the questions, I knew it would be a lot of information to put together. If you put the time into it, it’s time well spent. Once you see yourself listed, you can be proud to be part of the catalog and the community of infrastructures, and you would also immediately see what is missing. Then you can consider the follow-ups: what to improve and provide more documentation on your own website. 

Lauren: What news can we watch for from DOAB, the OAPEN Library, and the community? 

Niels: We have an exciting collaboration with CERN where they will be hosting the OAPEN Library and DOAB servers in their Data Centre. It’s a fantastic opportunity for us because it provides us with bandwidth and technical capacity to an extent that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. It’s also a collaboration that builds on our successful partnership with SCOAP3 for Books, and shows that the largest players in the world can work with the smaller players in the field. This provides institutions and funders with clear evidence that our infrastructure is reliable and resilient because of CERN being the backbone of the operation. 

We are also part of a European funded project called PALOMERA where we among other things are building  a knowledge base of policies for open access books. We have documents from 39 different countries, currently focused on the European Research Area and expanding globally. In the autumn we will present evidence-based and actionable recommendations for all stakeholders engaged in OA book publishing. Furthermore, we are looking forward to onboarding new publishers to participate in our Book Analytics Service in collaboration with COKI at Curtin University in Australia. This project is primarily publisher-facing, and could be of interest for research funders as well. 

Lauren: Besides checking Infra Finder for updates, how can readers learn more about this work and keep up with the other news from OAPEN and DOAB?

Niels: We encourage readers to sign up for our newsletter and see some of our latest writing on our blog. You can also check out our stakeholder reports, with 2023’s being published in two weeks’ time. 

This post is part of our “Infra Finder Spotlight” series. To stay updated on posts from this series and more from Invest in Open Infrastructure, please sign up for our newsletter. If you’d like to see an organization in the spotlight, let us know in our Infra Finder Feedback Form

Posted by Lauren Collister