Transitioning Society Publications to OA (TSPOA) Working Group


As one outcome of the October 2018 Choosing Pathways to OA working forum (, several forum participants proposed a working group dedicated to helping society journals transition to sustainable open access (OA) publishing.

In November 2018, these forum participants convened and prepared this Charge Document to formally establish the Transitioning Society Publications to OA (TSPOA) working group. Through TSPOA, library leaders and activists will facilitate OA publishing by society journals by providing support, advocacy, and referral services within the library and scholarly publishing communities and related professional organizations.


TSPOA will:

  1. Support: Serve as a communication forum, clearinghouse, and advisory group in providing support for libraries, publishers, and scholarly societies working toward transitioning scholarly publishing from subscription-based to open access;
  2. Incubate & pilot: Engage in community discussions to assess opportunities for piloting new ventures and evaluating possible co-investment opportunities to support OA society journal publishing;
  3. Refer: Connect willing partners with resources or consultative services that support libraries, publishers, and scholarly societies interested in transitioning to open access publishing;
  4. Advocate: Advocate within research communities and professional organizations or societies for open access publishing by scholarly societies; and
  5. Report: Issue a fiscal year-end public summary of activities and projects completed or underway, with an included statement about future group directions.


Steering Committee

TSPOA will be led by a Steering Committee responsible for executing decision-making related to matters arising under this Charge Document. For year one (January 2019 – January 2020) of TSPOA, the Steering Committee is comprised of:

  • Curtis Brundy (Iowa State University)
  • Kamran Naim (Annual Reviews)
  • Rachael Samberg (UC Berkeley)


To maximize TSPOA’s cohesiveness and agility in fulfilling the Charge’s objectives, membership is limited to fifteen people during TSPOA’s first year (through January 2020).  Membership parameters will be revisited after January 2020 to evaluate potential expansion.

All TSPOA members have a voice and say in helping to shape TSPOA’s work, administration, and strategic direction. The Steering Committee will solicit members’ feedback and opinions when making decisions that affect matters described in this Charge Document. The Steering Committee will work to find common ground on issues and strive to seek consensus on key issues, but is authorized to exercise its judgment when acting on matters pursuant to this Charge.

Members’ work toward achieving Charge objectives is essential to group efficacy.  As such, membership is contingent upon active participation in achieving the objectives laid out in the Charge. The Steering Committee will develop a set of operational procedures during TSPOA’s first year to ensure membership commitments and protocols are well defined.


TSPOA anticipates that sub-committees comprised of subsets of group members will be necessary to operationalize and achieve the Charge Objectives. Members may extend calls for participation in sub-committees to a broader swathe of the scholarly publishing community.

Meeting Schedule

Full working group meetings are held every two months by conference call organized by the Steering Committee. Intervening sub-committee meeting schedules are set by chairs of the sub-committees.

A running agenda and meeting notes will be distributed to TSPOA members. Note-taking responsibilities for full-group meetings will rotate alphabetically through the membership list (based on the current membership list, below).

Principles of Collaboration

The following general operating principles guide the work and interactions of TSPOA members:

TSPOA’s objectives will best be achieved by relationships among the members characterized by mutual trust, responsiveness, flexibility, and open communication. To that end, TSPOA is committed to modeling and encouraging the following anti-harassment behaviors:

  • Using welcoming and inclusive language
  • Being respectful of differing viewpoints and experiences
  • Gracefully accepting constructive criticism
  • Focusing on what is best for the group
  • Showing empathy towards other group  members

All TSPOA group members shall work together toward the group’s common goals. Members will:

  • Commit to expending the time, energy, and organizational resources necessary to carry out the group’s objectives;
  • Be prepared to listen intently to the interests, concerns, and comments of other members;
  • Think creatively to develop solutions to address the many issues and ideas raised through group deliberations