Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association

The Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) is a non-profit trade association representing the interests of open access journal publishers globally in all scientific, technical and scholarly disciplines. Along with promoting open access publishers (particularly open access journals), OASPA sets best practices and provides a forum for the exchange of information on and experiences of open access. OASPA brings together the major open access publishers on the one hand and independentoften society-based or university-basedpublishers on the other, along with some hybrid open access publishers. While having started out with an exclusive focus on open access journals, it is now expanding its activities to include matters pertaining to open access books too.[1]

Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association
Formation14 October 2008
TypeInternational professional association
Scholarly open access publishers
Official language
Paul Peters


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 Open Access journals 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] The following organizations are founding members:[4]


OASPA organizes an annual Conference on Open Access Scholarly Publishing.[5] 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),[6] which is in line with most definitions of "open", e.g. the Open Definition by the Open Knowledge Foundation.[7] The organization also engages beyond Open Access journals, e.g. for free access to scholarly works that have been awarded Nobel Prizes.[8]


OASPA members fall into the following groups:

Professional publishing organisations – Organisations that include at least one full-time professional who manages the publication of OA scholarly journals or books. These organisations may be for-profit or nonprofit, and they may own journals or books or manage the publication on a contract basis for societies or other groups of scientists or scholars. Members of this class may also include organisations such as academic/research libraries, university presses, or other organisations in which the primary focus is other than publishing scholarly journals but still employ full-time professionals who manage the publication of OA scholarly journals.

Scholar publishers – Individuals or small groups of scientists/scholars that publish usually a single scholarly journal in their field of study. The publication process is often largely subsidised by volunteer effort.

Other organisations – Other organisations who provide significant services and/or support for OA publishing.

In order to join OASPA as a member organization, a publisher must meet set criteria established to promote transparency and best practices in scholarly publishing. These criteria were set in 2013 and revised again in August 2018.[9] There are seven categories of OASPA membership:[10]

  • Professional Publishing Organisation (Small)
  • Professional Publishing Organisation (Medium)
  • Professional Publishing Organisation (Large)
  • Professional Publishing Organisation (Very Large)
  • Other Organisation (non-commercial)
  • Other Organisation (commercial)
  • Scholar Publisher

As of September 2018, OASPA has 134 members.[11]


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 voiced concern is the fact that OASPA has been founded by BioMed Central and other open access publishers, which would cause a conflict of interest in their "seal of approval".[12] OASPA has also been criticized for promoting gold open access in a way that may be at the expense of green open access.[13] One member organization, Frontiers Media, is included on Jeffrey Beall's list of predatory open access publishing companies;[14] at least two members, Hindawi and MDPI, were once called predatory by Beall, but have since been removed from his list.[15]

Response to the Science sting

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.[16] 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.[17] Sage's membership was reinstated at the end of the review period following changes to the journal's editorial processes.[18] Dove Medical Press were also reinstated in September 2015 after making a number of improvements to their editorial processes.[19]

See also


  1. This article incorporates material from the OASPA website, which is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License.
  2. "Mission". Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association. OASPA. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  3. "Announcing the launch of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association, OASPA". EurekAlert!. AAAS. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  4. "Founding Members". Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association. Retrieved 2015-01-06.
  5. COASP homepage, accessed Feb 13, 2011
  6. "General Comments from the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association, OASPA to The Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Federal Government, the United States of America" (PDF). White House Archives. February 1, 2010. Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  7. Open Definition, accessed February 13, 2011
  8. Open Access to Nobel Prize awarded work – a pilot project, accessed October 18, 2018
  9. "Membership Criteria". Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association. OASPA. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  10. "Membership Dues". Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association. OASPA. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  11. "Members",, Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association, retrieved 26 September 2018
  12. Salo, Dorothea (February 26, 2010). "OASPA: act now or lose credibility forever". ScienceBlogs. Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  13. Harnad, Stevan (December 12, 2009). "Critique of Criteria for "Full Membership" in OASPA ("Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association")". Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  14. Beall, Jeffrey (July 4, 2018). "Beall's List of Predatory Journals and Publishers". Weebly. Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  15. MDPI (28 October 2015), , Update: Response to Mr. Jeffrey Beall’s Repeated Attacks on MDPI
  16. 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.
  17. Gamboa, Camille. "Statement by SAGE on the Journal of International Medical Research". Sage. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  18. Shaffi, Sarah (29 April 2014). "OASPA reinstates Sage membership". The Bookseller. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
  19. Redhead, Claire (23 September 2015). "Dove Medical Press reinstated as OASPA Members". Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
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