The 15th Berlin Open Access Conference (B15) was held online from 28 September to 1 October 2021, and was co-hosted by the University of California and the Open Access 2020 Initiative of the Max Planck Digital Library/Max Planck Society. UCSF is a signatory to the OA2020 Expression of Interest. The Berlin OA conference brings together key stakeholders with an interest in the ongoing transition of the scholarly publishing system to open access. This year’s theme, Adapt and Advance, placed particular emphasis on negotiation processes with publishers.
Nearly 400 participants, representing hundreds of institutions and consortia from 46 countries around the world, came together for B15, which was offered twice to accommodate several time zones. Several UC faculty and library leaders, including UCSF faculty Rich Schneider and Marta Margeta and University Librarian Chris Shaffer, played key roles in moderating plenaries and the North American preconference. Plenary descriptions, recordings, and transcripts can be accessed on the B15 web site.
Key insights from the conference
A summary of key insights that emerged from B15 as well as opportunities for action to advance transformative agreements that drive openness, sustainability and equity in scholarly publishing can be found in the B15 Executive Summary, centered on the following points:
- Open access to scholarly journals is essential for progress in science and society
- Open access is advancing thanks to transformative agreements
- Negotiations with scholarly journal publishers are a pathway to openness and equity
- Open access publishing must be enabled under equitable economic conditions
- Increasing transparency of funding flows and reorganizing just a tiny share of investments can have immeasurable impact
- Further open access developments require bold new partnerships
- Scholarly publishers are embracing open access
- Mature open access strategies include different synergistic approaches
‘Transformative’ agreements are those where the library/institution’s previous publisher subscription expenditures are repurposed to support open access publishing by authors from the institution. UC has several transformative open access agreements with publishers, including Cambridge University Press, Elsevier, and Springer Nature.