In today’s episode we feature an interview with Stephen Barr, President of SAGE International. This interview is part of the popular “Views from the Penthouse Suite” series and was conducted by Tom Gilson, Associate Editor, Against the Grain, and Matthew Ismail, Director of Collection Development, University of Michigan.
In the interview, Stephen talks about his presentation at the 2020 Charleston Conference titled “What Would It Really Take to Achieve The OA transition: An Open Take from a Publisher, a Librarian and a Funder.” Stephen gives his take on the Open Access Transition and what this could mean for the scholarly communications system as a whole, and whether a massive, systemic change is inevitable. Stephen discusses his view of transformative agreements, the potential benefits and limitations involved and what may happen to those who don’t do transformative agreements in the future, whether by choice or due to funding restrictions.
In a space which can be quite polarized, Stephen says it is important to think of how we got here (the focus on journals) and how do we move forward? How do we change a system where publishers are perceived as restrictive, reluctant and self-seeking? He likens the current state to “changing the engines on a plane as it is flying. None of us wants to sort of stop the system, land, slow down and do a big transformation and then take off again. We’re trying to re-engineer the whole process mid-flight.” Stephen gives his take on the actions that librarians and publishers can take to help the industry moving forward with OA transition and transformative agreements.
Stephen says it is important to not just represent your own interests, and he feels that his position at SAGE, a distinctive player in the scholarly communications space, enables him to do this as their primary goal is dissemination of knowledge. Stephen is also on the Board of Directors at Manchester University Press in the UK. This allows him to view the issues and challenges through the lenses of both a large publisher and a small university press.
Listen to the full Podcast HERE!