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OBC Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) Statement

Published onOct 21, 2022
OBC Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) Statement

The Open Book Collective works towards an open access (OA) future where OA books are freely available to a global readership, easily discoverable, free from technological and economic barriers, and easily accessible to the broadest possible readership. Thus, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility are fundamental to our work, which is grounded in our core values. We envision an OA landscape and infrastructure which is diverse in its content, forms, and participants, and encourages and supports full participation of under-supported communities. This commitment is manifested in several ways:

  1. The OBC enforces a Code of Conduct (CoC) banning behaviour that is disrespectful or that excludes, intimidates, or causes discomfort to others. We do not tolerate discrimination or harassment based on characteristics that include, but are not limited to, gender identity, sexual orientation, visible or invisible disability, physical appearance, body size, citizenship, nationality, ethnic or social origin, pregnancy, familial status, veteran status, religion or belief (or lack thereof), age, education, socio-economic status or experience level. The reporting process for breaches of this code can be found in the Code.

  2. The OBC conducts outreach to small and medium publishers serving niche and emerging disciplines in order to support the diversity of the OA books landscape through a process we call scaling small. Supporting small-to-medium publishers and helping them to transition to open access without relying on Book Processing Charges is key to our mission.

  3. In keeping with our pursuit of equity rather than equality, OBC membership costs are banded according to the supporting institution’s size and budget.

  4. The OBC actively supports the publication and dissemination of multiple alternative formats and experimental genres in book publishing. We support and disseminate works in multiple languages and encourage maximum accessibility of publications.

  5. OBC encourages, and through its metadata management system

    Thoth facilitates, the provision of open and freely accessible metadata for all books supported via the OBC - removing barriers to interoperability, discovery and accessibility.

  6. The OBC will undertake outreach to under-served readerships, publishers, libraries and communities and actively seeks to expand participation of these communities.

  7. The OBC is governed by its membership. All members have the opportunity to become involved in our governance at every level, from the General Assembly of Custodians to the Board of Stewards and its Membership Committee. We recognise that simple ‘openness to particpation’ is not enough to support under-served communities in entering structures of governance (Dunbar-Hester 2019; Hart and Adema 2022), as potential members a) need to be aware of the opportunity to be involved in governance and b) might need to be practically supported to make use of it. Therefore, we actively seek to populate our Boards for balanced representation of our stakeholders not only in terms of function (libraries, publishers, infrastructure providers) but in terms of race, gender, ethnicity, nationality and geographic location.

  8. Speakers and presenters at meetings are encouraged to make resources available in accessible formats, including large font sizes, easy-to-read fonts, captions, and contrasting colours. In scheduling meetings and events, we will attempt to be mindful of important calendar dates for multiple faiths and traditions, as well as different time zones (OpenCon 2017, 25). The OBC encourages and welcomes feedback on how to maximise accessibility at meetings and at other events.

Implementation and Accountability

‘Principles are all very well but it all boils down to how they are implemented’ (Bilder et a. 2015, 4).

As recommended by Wipperman and Skinner (2020) and Hart et. al. (2022), the OBC undertakes a regular self-audit to assess our progress in living up to our values at a concrete level. The OBC’s Board of Stewards will, as part of its commitment to regular (governance) self-assessment, analyse, amongst others:

  • the number and nature of CoC breach reports and how these were managed, and with what results

  • the demographic make-up of our Boards and Membership

  • the demographic make-up of those nominated or self-nominated to the Boards

  • the results of our outreach efforts to under-served communities

  • the geographic spread of our site visitors

  • the diversity of books we have supported

Update Log

This Statement was first published on 26/08/2022. Updates will be noted here.

• 02/09/2022: Minor updates (proof-reading, Code of Conduct link update)

  • 10/10/2022: Deleted unneccessary space

Sources used in preparation of this statement:

Antiracism Toolkit for Organizations. Coalition for Diversity and Inclusionin Scholarly Communications.

Bilder, G, Lin J., & Neylon C. 2015. Principles for Open Scholarly Infrastructure-v1,

digital Preservation Services Collaborative. 2018. Digital Preservation Declaration of Shared Values, V2.

Dunbar-Hester, C. (2019). Hacking Diversity: The Politics of Inclusion in Open Technology Cultures. Princeton University Press.

FORCE11 Scholarly Commons Working Group. (2017). Principles of the scholarly commons, version 0.1.1. Zenodo.

Hart, P., Adema, J., & COPIM (2022) Towards Better Practices for the Community Governance of Open Infrastructures (1st ed.). Community-led Open Publication Infrastructures for Monographs (COPIM).

Library Publishing Coalition Ethical Framework Task Force. (2018) An Ethical Framework for Library Publishing, Version 1.0. Educopia Institute.

OpenCon. (2017). Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. report/

punctum books. N.D. A Vision Statement for Thinking, Writing, and Publishing Otherwise in the University without Condition.

Skinner, K., & Lippincott, S. (2020). Assessment Checklist. Commonplace

Skinner, K., & Wipperman, S. (2020). Living our Values and Principles: Exploring Assessment Strategies for the Scholarly Communication Field. Educopia Institute.


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