Open Scholar’s first members’ meeting held at the University of Granada

Open Scholar’s first members’ meeting was held yesterday, the 25th of June 2013 in the Centro de Investigación Mente, Cerebro y Comportamiento (CIMCYC) at the University of Granada.

The meeting began with a brief introduction to Open Scholar C.I.C. and the LIBRE project, as well as a reportback on the CERN Workshop on Innovations in Scholarly Communication (19-21 June, 2013 in Geneva) attended by co-founders Pandelis Perakakis and Michael Taylor. This was followed by a discussion of a strategic plan for the following months in the run up to LIBRE’s official public release (expected to be in October 2013). Thanks to a stimulating brainstorm among all participating members, consensus was achieved on the following points that summarize the project’s short-term needs and constitute our “to-do list” for the next few months. In general we classified these needs in three distinct categories: A) building partnerships, B) raising awareness, and C) fundraising.

A) Building partnerships:

1. By contacting like-minded colleagues and inviting them to become members by filling out the membership request form at: http://www.openscholar.org.uk/members/. It is important to clarify that we are a not-for-profit organization offering free services and that there are no economic or other obligations involved in becoming a member.

2. By creating a list of influential individuals (renowned scientists, and open access advocates) and to consider inviting them to become members of our advisory board.

3. By contacting colleagues responsible for institutional repositories and libraries as well as journal editors in order to inform them about the project and to discuss the possibility of collaboration.

4. By seeking endorsements from our own institutions (Universities, Research Centres, Foundations, Associations, etc). An endorsement consists of providing a statement supporting our cause (an endorsement statement will be provided in the desired language) and permission to use the institution’s logo on our website.

B) Raising awareness:

1. By organising meetings, workshops and other events to raise awareness about the problems of the current academic publishing model and to present our project as a promising experiment that could open the way to a faster, more efficient and transparent evaluation and dissemination system for academic publications. The events will be directed at graduate students, PhD candidates, researchers and professors and could even be offered as a free formal course (for example in the context of a masters course).

2. By contacting journal editors who could be interested in publishing a letter, review or original paper on the fallacies of the current peer review system and proposed alternatives to include the LIBRE project.

3. By writing articles in important non-academic journals and newspapers (e.g. el Pais, the Guardian, le Monde Diplomatique, the New York Times, Courier International, etc.)

C) Fundraising:

1. By contacting local institutes (Libraries, Universities, Associations, Foundations etc) to explore their interest in financially supporting our experiment.

2. By staying alert to calls and the offering of national, European or international grants that could support projects like LIBRE related to scholarly communication, alternative scientific evaluation metrics, peer review experiments, etc.

Important: Brief texts introducing our project and explaining how it can benefit  different agents (authors, reviewers, repositories, journals, libraries and librarians, policy-makers, funding agencies, etc) are already available at our website, which is constantly being updated with new ideas and arguments. We welcome you all to contribute to this effort to clarify our project’s advantages and benefits. In addition, our whiteboard animation could also be useful as a brief introduction: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25ji9-52k7c.

The meeting was held in a friendly, relaxed and very constructive manner. We tried to arrange a live broadcast via Ustream of the meeting for members unable to attend in person, but unfortunately we were forced to interrupt the connection due to technical problems in the new building at the University of Granada. We apologize to all members who tried to watch the broadcast and a new meeting will be held as soon as possible following the official release of the LIBRE application in October.

We welcome your questions, thoughts, suggestions and concerns about the running of Open Scholar C.I.C. and the ongoing development of LIBRE. We especially look forward to your feedback on ideas you may have that were not covered in the meeting. We have created a members’ mailing list so that we can all keep in touch more efficiently and we are considering developing an online forum for this purpose. We hope to meet you in person face to face at our future meetings.

— OS founders and staff

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