Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association

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Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association
Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) logo.png
Abbreviation OASPA
Formation 14 October 2008
Type International professional association
Headquarters Online
Scholarly open access publishers
Official language
Caroline Sutton

The Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) is an industry association which aims to promote open access publishing (also known as Gold Open Access) and to establish best practices in the field. It brings together the major open access publishers on the one hand and independent — often society- or university-based — publishers on the other, along with some hybrid open access publishers. While having started out with a focus on open access journals exclusively, it is now expanding its activities to include matters pertaining to the open access publishing of books as well.[1]


The mission of OASPA is to support and represent the interests of open access publishers globally in all scientific, technical, and scholarly disciplines, and to advocate for Gold Open Access in general.[2] To this end, it provides a forum for professional exchange on matters of open access publishing in scholarly contexts, it engages in standardization efforts and outreach, identifies and promotes best practices for scholarly communications by open access, and supports the continuous development of viable business and publishing models.


With the growth of the open access movement, the interactions between different open access publishers intensified, as they met each other at a multitude of trade or scientific conferences, workshops or similar events. Yet open access publishing and its peculiarities with respect to traditional publishing or scholarly communication were rarely in the focus of such gatherings, which brought about the need for a dedicated forum. With the intention to provide that, OASPA was launched on October 14, 2008 at an "Open Access Day" celebration in London hosted by the Wellcome Trust.[3][4][5]

Founding members[edit]

The following organizations are founding members:[6]


In addition to the founding members, the following organizations are members:[7]


OASPA organizes an annual Conference on Open Access Scholarly Publishing.[8] The conference covers the whole spectrum of open access publishing, including business models, publishing platforms, peer review modes, and distribution channels.

OASPA encourages publishers to use Creative Commons licenses, particularly the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY),[9] which is in line with most definitions of "open", e.g. the Open Definition by the Open Knowledge Foundation.[10] The organization also engages beyond Gold Open Access, e.g. for free access to scholarly works that have been awarded Nobel Prizes.[11]


There are four types of OASPA members:[12]

  • Open access professional publishing organizations
  • Open access scientist/scholar publishers
  • Other organizations
  • Associate (non-voting) members


Criticism has focused on OASPA's self-declared role as the "stamp of quality for open access publishing", because it is apparently at odds with OASPA's application of its own criteria for membership. Another valid cause for concern is the fact that the OASPA has been founded by BioMed central, an open access publisher. This casts doubts on the "seal of approval" that they believe that they provide creating a conflict of interest.[13][14] Within the context of the ongoing debate on the relative merits of Green versus Gold open access, OASPA has also been criticized for promoting Gold in a way that may be at the expense of Green.[15] At least one member organization, MDPI, is included on Jeffrey Beall's list of predatory open access publishing companies;[16] conversely, at least one member, Hindawi, was once been called predatory by Beall, but has since been removed from his list.[17]

Response to the Science sting[edit]

As a response to the Who's Afraid of Peer Review? investigation, OASPA formed a committee to investigate the circumstances that led to the acceptance of the fake paper by 3 of its members.[18] On 11 November 2013, OASPA terminated the membership of two publishers (Dove Medical Press and Hikari Ltd.) who accepted the fake paper. Sage Press, which also accepted a fake paper, was put "under review" for 6 months.[1] Sage announced in a statement that it was reviewing the journal that accepted the fake paper, but that it would not shut it down.[19] Sage's membership was reinstated at the end of the review period following changes to the journal's editorial processes.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b This article incorporates material from the OASPA website, which is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License.
  2. ^ OASPA Mission, accessed Nov 28, 2010
  3. ^ OASPA History, accessed Nov 28, 2010
  4. ^ New Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) Launched, a report by SPARC Europe, accessed Nov 28, 2010
  5. ^ Launch of Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA). Scholarly Communications Report 12(10):5 (2008).
  6. ^ "Founding Members". Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association. Retrieved 2015-01-06. 
  7. ^ "Members". Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association. Retrieved 2015-01-06. 
  8. ^ COASP homepage, accessed Feb 13, 2011
  9. ^ OASPA’s response to the OSTP's request for public comment on Public Access Policies for Science and Technology Funding Agencies Across the Federal Government, accessed February 13, 2011.
  10. ^ Open Definition, accessed February 13, 2011
  11. ^ Open Access to Nobel Prize awarded work – a pilot project, accessed February 13, 2011
  12. ^ Further information on membership criteria is available at
  13. ^ According to Open Access linked to Alabama shooting and The OA Interviews: Sciyo's Aleksandar Lazinica by journalist Richard Poynder, several suspicious OA publishers — Dove Medical Press, Sciyo and InTech — have at some point been OASPA members. According to OASPA's list of members, none of these three are a member as of February 2011.
  14. ^ OASPA: act now or lose credibility forever by librarian Dorothea Salo, accessed February 13, 2011.
  15. ^ According to Critique of Criteria for "Full Membership" in OASPA ("Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association") by scientist and Green OA advocate Stevan Harnad, OASPA accepted Oxford University Press as a member because it publishes some Gold OA journals, while ignoring that most OUP journals are not Gold OA, and even prohibit Green OA for a year. Accessed February 13, 2011.
  16. ^ Jeffrey Beall (18 February 2014), Chinese Publisher MDPI Added to List of Questionable Publishers, Scholarly Open Access: Critical analysis of scholarly open-access publishing
  17. ^ Butler, Declan (2013). "Investigating journals: The dark side of publishing". Nature 495 (7442): 433–435. doi:10.1038/495433a. PMID 23538810. 
  18. ^ Redhead, Claire. "OASPA's response to the recent article in Science entitled "Who's Afraid of Peer Review?"". Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association. Retrieved 21 October 2013. 
  19. ^ Gamboa, Camille. "Statement by SAGE on the Journal of International Medical Research". Sage. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  20. ^ Shaffi, Sarah (29 April 2014). "OASPA reinstates Sage membership". The Bookseller. Retrieved 2 June 2014. 

External links[edit]