WP4: Community Governance

stylised image of hands meeting

WP4 is exploring community governance with a view to designing the policies and procedures for community oversight of the infrastructures and models that the COPIM project is developing. Our aim is to create durable organisational structures for the coordination, governance and administrative support of the project’s community-owned infrastructures. This includes developing new avenues of outreach, communication and partnership with diverse stakeholders in open research with a shared interest in this infrastructure, creating genuine community involvement and collective control. This also involves ensuring the infrastructures won’t be governed by a particular commercial interest. To aid our research and development work we have assembled a community governance working group (consisting of publishers, librarians, and researchers) on Humanities Commons for: (a) the long-term management of consortial library funding programs, and (b) the identification and fostering of library-publisher experiments and projects that emphasise horizontal and cooperative knowledge-sharing between librarians, publishers, and researchers. We are also conducting research on best practices for governing collaborative community-based book publishing projects of various scales, in line with professed needs of new and upstart publishers. 

Aims and research questions
  • Conduct research on collectively managed infrastructures and organisations.
  • Conduct research on best practices for governing collaborative community-based book publishing projects of various scales, in line with professed needs of new and upstart publishers.
  • Determine the values and ethos that should underlie COPIM’s governance procedures. How can we enable equitable, horizontal relationships in scholarly communication? How can we formalise COPIM’s governance structure to guarantee accountability to the consortium’s (future) members (presses, libraries, and infrastructure providers)?
  • Determine the kind of durable organizational structures for the coordination, governance an administrative support of the project’s community-owned infrastructures and projects.
  • Develop official policies and procedures for self-governance and administrative management of the infrastructures and projects.
  • Establish a working group to continue development of COPIM’s governance structure, creating genuine community involvement and collective control.


Community Governance Workshop (UCSB Library, May 01, 2020)


This community-workshop brought together governance experts, key stakeholders in OA book publishing, and representatives from allied large community-led projects, to collaboratively explore what the governance procedures of COPIM’s open publication ecosystem for monographs should look like and to develop models to sustain the governance of the infrastructure as a community-based OA service organization. The emphasis was on horizontalist and cooperative knowledge-sharing endeavours between communities of professional-public academic practice.    Workshop reports:

Internal Governance Workshops

In collaboration with the COPIM partners and the Humanities Commons Governance Working Group members, we have organised a series of workshops to get a better idea of the project’s governance needs and requirements. The findings of these workshops have amongst others fed into COPIM’s mission and vision statements and Code of Conduct and the development of the OBC’s governance model:

Workshop 1 (March 2021): Mission, Vision, Values, and Principles

Workshop 2 (April 2021): Resources, Objectives, Community, Narrative

Workshop 3 (May 2021): Organisational Structures

Workshop 4 (July 2021): Presentation of first draft governance model for the OBC

Workshop 5 (November 2021): Feedback on second draft governance model for the OBC

In these workshops our focus was on establishing a methodology of co-desing and co-development of COPIM’s governance elements, a focus on intervention/friction and antagonism (instead of smoothing out all differences) and establishing governance models that are processual and situated, community-led and inclusive and based on knowledge exchange with allied projects and communities. An example of how we have applied this co-design in our methodology can be found in our Code of Conduct and mission and vision statements.

COPIM. (2021). COPIM Code of Conduct. COPIM. Retrieved from https://copim.pubpub.org/pub/code-of-conduct

Articles and Research Reports

Adema, J. & Moore, S. A., (2021) “Scaling Small; Or How to Envision New Relationalities for Knowledge Production”, Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture 16(1), p.27-45. doi: https://doi.org/10.16997/wpcc.918

Drawing on our work with the Radical Open Access Collective, the ScholarLed consortium, and the Community-led Open Publishing Infrastructures for Monographs (COPIM) project, this article outlines an alternative organisational principle for governing community-led publishing projects based on mutual reliance, care, and other forms of commoning. Termed ‘scaling small’, this principle eschews standard approaches to organisational growth that tend to flatten community diversity through economies of scale. Instead, it puts forward the idea that scale can be nurtured through intentional collaborations between community-driven projects that promote a bibliodiverse ecosystem while providing resilience through resource sharing and other kinds of collaboration. Following Anna Tsing’s recom­mendations to keep in mind how reimagining our knowledge practices requires we pay particular attention to articulations between the scalable and the nonscalable (Tsing, 2012), what is needed to enable this is, first and foremost, a rethinking of existing systems and infrastructures and how they currently function – systems that have historically developed and been continuously remade to encourage fur­ther scalability.

Moore, Samuel. (2021). Exploring models for community governance (1.0). Zenodo. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4730687

This report presents initial work on the various models that already exist for community governance (looking more generally to frameworks relating to cooperativism, the commons, and community rule and how they can be applied) and discusses their pros and cons for COPIM’s open access monograph infrastructures, particularly its consortial funding programme. It does this through 1) a landscape study of forms of governance within scholarly communication and 2) an exploratory study of the theoretical literature on alternative forms of governance appropriate for community-led organisations.


International Conference

In 2023 at the end of the COPIM project an international conference will take place to showcase the work that has been done within COPIM, with a particular focus on community-led governance and scaling small.

  • Janneke Adema
  • Eileen Joy
  • Lidia Uziel
  • Judith Fathallah
  • Samuel Moore (emeritus)
  • Patrick Hart (emeritus)
  • Sherri Barnes (emeritus)

Key Collaborators

  • Next Generation Library Publishing Project