SCOAP3 Governing Council meeting (hybrid) on 06th-07th December 2023

The Governing Council (GC) of the Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics (SCOAP3) gathered at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland, from Dec 6-7, 2023, on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the initiative. Over these ten years, SCOAP3 has achieved and sustained open access publishing for practically the entire discipline of high-energy physics.

At this meeting, the Governing Council—the principal decision-making body of the consortium—was presented with updates on the initiative’s operations over the past year: including publisher compliance, the activities of the Executive Committee, the performance of participating journals, and financial reports. Next, the GC received updates on the consortium’s major strategic initiatives, for which governance motions are customarily presented for voting. Of particular note were motions relating to the approval of the contract terms to be presented to participating SCOAP3 publishers for the subsequent Phase of the program (i.e. Phase 4) commencing in 2025. The GC voted unanimously to approve the Phase 4 contracts with the SCOAP3 publishers. The Phase 4 contracts will secure continued open access publishing for research in high-energy physics across leading journals in the discipline, and include a novel mechanism to provide financial incentives to participating publishers to improve aspects of their service, which will advance open science adoption for the discipline.

These service criteria include (but are not limited to): improved adoption of persistent identifiers (such as ORCIDs and RORs); software and dataset linking; enriched metadata; and improved accessibility standards to support the needs of those with disabilities. The publisher contracts of SCOAP3 for each Phase are funded by financial contributions from partner countries, who each aim to contribute a ‘fair-share’ based on the publishing activity of their researchers in the SCOAP3 journals across the most recent two years of funded research articles. Accordingly, the GC was presented with the results of the most recent analysis to inform members of their respective fair share contributions for the upcoming Phase 4. 

The GC was further presented with the results of the SCOAP3 for Books Program. The pilot program targeted the conversion of existing (backlist) textbooks and monographs, and resulted in the conversion of more than 85 titles to open access, all of which have been made available through their respective publisher websites and through a dedicated SCOAP3 collection on the OAPEN Library. The GC received a report on how open access availability has impacted the geographic use and visibility of the titles: the analysis showed that the content, which was previously only available for reading at institutions in 14 countries, is now being accessed at over 160 countries with usage increasing by 10000%, following their conversion to open access (from a sample of 19 titles converted in open access by SCOAP3). In 2022 the GC voted to shift the focus of the program in future years towards supporting the publishing of born open access books. The SCOAP3 team reported that the 2023 offering has resulted in the funding of 19 titles. These books, selected by a panel of expert researchers, will be made available in the coming months, upon publication. 

Finally, the GC voted on the appointment of members to key governance positions.  Stefan Hohenegger from CNRS in France was appointed as  Chair of the GC for a three-year term beginning in January 2024. The GC further voted to add two new members to the Executive Committee of SCOAP3: Mehmet Mirat Satoğlu from ULAKBIM, Türkyie, and Jiří Jirát from the CzechELib National Centre, Czech Republic, each for a  two-year term (twice renewable). Finally, on the completion of her three-year term as Chair of the GC, Clare Appavoo of CRKN in Canada, was warmly thanked by all the members for her many years of service to SCOAP3. The Governing Council concluded with a sense of enthusiasm for the future of a global approach to Open Science.

SCOAP3 is the world’s largest open access initiative, consisting of over 3,000 member institutions across 44 countries/regions and territories. In continuous operation for a decade, SCOAP3 has supported the open access publishing of over 62,250 articles across 11 leading journals in the discipline, covering over 90% of research published in high-energy physics. Since 2021, SCOAP3 has expanded its efforts to deliver open access to over 80 key monographs and textbooks to support research and teaching in high-energy physics and related fields.