SCOAP3 Governing Council meeting (remote) on November 03rd-04th 2021

The Governing Council (GC) of the SCOAP3 Collaboration–the world’s largest disciplinary open access initiative—held its annual meeting on October 03rd-04th 2021.

Organized virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a total of 46 participants (representing 26 countries and 3 international organizations) from across the SCOAP3 collaboration met to discuss major strategic issues for the program towards advancing its mission to provide open access to the research literature in particle physics at no financial burden to authors. 

The meeting of the 2021 GC was focused on two major strategic initiatives. The first day of the meeting was focused on an initiative to expand the content made available Open Access beyond journal literature to include important monographs and textbooks in high-energy physics and related disciplines—the SCOAP3 for Books Program. The Open Books Working Group (appointed by the Governing Council in 2019) provided attendees of the meeting with an update on the status of the initiative, informing them that in the first phase of the program,102 books from 6 publishers would transitioned to Open Access. The book tiles made available were the result of direct negotiations between the SCOAP3 team at CERN and the publishers of important texts relevant to the field. In the first phase, partnerships were secured between Cambridge University Press, Elsevier, Oxford University Press, Springer-Nature, Taylor & Francis, and World Scientific. Members were also informed of the hosting partnership secured between SCOAP3 and the OAPEN Library, where a dedicated collection has been created to host copies of each of the titles funded under the SCOAP3 for Books initiative. Niels Stern, Director of the OAPEN Foundation, presented the variety of services delivered through this partnership to SCOAP3 members: including dissemination to major library systems and search engines worldwide, usage reporting and analytics, long-term preservation, and more. The update on the SCOAP3 for Books program was warmly received by the SCOAP3 Governing Council, and the acquisition of additional titles for the initiative was agreed.

The second major strategic effort under discussion at the meeting was the appointment of a Second SCOAP3 Tender Working Group (2STWG). GC members were reminded that given the dramatically different conditions in scholarly communications compared to when SCOAP3 was first conceptualized (in 2012/2013), it was considered necessary for the next Phase of SCOAP3 to be based upon a re-designed tender. Paricipants were reminded of the efforts of the first SCOAP3 Tender Working Group, appointed in 2020, who, In faithful execution of their mandate and in light of the financial uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 crisis, recommended a two-year extension of the existing Phase 3 until December 2024. With the extended Phase 3 now in place, it was now time to appoint a Second SCOAP3 Tender Working Group (2STWG) with the mandate to develop the strategy for the next procurement process beyond 2024. The motion to appoint the 2STWG was unanimously approved by the Governing Council, and nominations have now been solicited from across the SCOAP3 Consortium for members to participate in this Working Group. A strategic roundtable discussion held at the Governing Council meeting on key issues related to the future of SCOAP3 was conducted in order to seek initial input from across the consortium on factors to be considered by the 2STWG in the development of the next tender strategy. 

During the 2021 meeting, specific motions were voted on relating to the governing entities of SCOAP3. Anna Vernon from the JISC in United Kingdom was elected to her second 2-year term, and Stefan Hohenegger from CNRS in France elected to his first 2-year term, on the SCOAP3 Executive Committee (ExCo). The Chair of the SCOAP3 Governing Council, Clare Appavoo of CRKN (Canada) thanked Natalia Grygierczyk of Radboud University Nijmegen (The Nethelands) for her strong and enthusiastic engagement, her creative support and ambassadorship for the benefit of the SCOAP3 collaboration. Natalia served as a member of the SCOAP3 Executive Committee since 2018 and her term expires at the end of 2021. Finally, the Chair further thanked Briggite Kromp of University of Vienna (Austria) for her strong support, guidance, and leadership in her role as Deputy Chair of the SCOAP3 Governing Council since 2018. The new Deputy Chair, Ianko Lopez, Director of the Madrono Consortium (Spain) will serve in this role until the end of 2023.