OASPA Board Members are appointed via an annual election process and serve for a term of three years, playing a vital role in OASPA’s work to support and represent the interests of Open Access journal and book publishers globally. In the third of a series of posts highlighting the important contributions of the Board, OASPA’s Leyla Williams talked to Lars Bjørnshauge, Managing Director of the DOAJ.
Thanks for joining me today Lars. How long have you been part of the OASPA Board, and why did you join?
It’s my fifth year with OASPA; I’ve been involved with the organisation from the beginning. Way back in 2008, I started having conversations with Caroline Sutton, Ahmed Hindawi, Paul Peters, and others, and it became clear there was the need for a collective voice for dedicated open access publishers. In the months following, I helped to organise and host our first Conference on Open Access Scholarly Publishing in Lund, in 2009.
What do you see as OASPA’s role in the publishing community?
Back when OASPA was set up, open access publishing was not a particularly ‘accepted’ part of the scholarly publishing community. These days, thanks to OASPA and the open access movement, it is. But I do see the difficulties of being too inclusive of all publishing models, and I think OASPA still has some work to do to progress genuine open access further.
You founded the DOAJ in 2003. What was the open access landscape like back then, and what was your experience setting it up?
In the early days of open access, I was a host of the first Nordic Conference of Scholarly Communication, which was held at Lund University in 2002. Not long after, the DOAJ was founded thanks to a grant from the Open Society Foundations, which allowed us to make a modest launch with 300 journals. Today we have greatly grown in importance, listing 12,000 journals; we have rejected more than 20,000, and sustain ourselves entirely due to membership fees from libraries, universities and funders as well as publishers. It’s been a really wonderful 15-year journey.
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