Open Publishing Awards: Answering Your FAQs

While we ready some major announcements about the Open Publishing Awards over the coming weeks, here’s a little reminder of what they are about and how you can get involved…

What are the OPAs? After a year’s hiatus, the Open Publishing Awards are back for 2021. We’re bringing the open publishing community together and celebrating the contributions of great people, innovative projects and thriving organizations that advance knowledge sharing in the world. 

Who can I nominate? Anyone – even yourself! – and make as many nominations as you like. As long as your selection uses an open license, it’s eligible. It can be a person, a piece of work, a collection, or a project. It could be software, systems, or infrastructure. In short, it can be anything linked to publishing and content that demonstrates or articulates the real-world power of open. See this post for more detail, or dive right in and nominate now.

How does it work? We want to bring the whole community together and celebrate the fantastic diversity of openness in publishing. To this end, we’ve made it a simple and accessible process. You make a nomination – or more than one – and our judging panel selects projects deserving of a special mention in each category. This is not a competition, and we aren’t choosing ‘winners’. The focus is on shining a light on everyone, taking new ideas away, and improving the quality and impact of all our work. This list from the 2019 event will give you an idea of what to expect. 

Who are the judges? Watch this space – we are very close to announcing this year’s panel! In 2019 we were lucky enough to host a fantastic selection of people from the worlds of open publishing and open content. For 2021, we’re expanding the roster to diversify the panel’s perspective. It will also lighten the workload for these awesome folks who are making a truly generous commitment to give up their precious time. All judges agree to recuse themselves from nominations for projects where conflict of interest comes into play. Cameron Neylon will chair the awards and facilitate the shortlist creation once again – much gratitude, Cameron! 

What are the categories? This year, the categories fall into three (very broad) categories. In Open Source Software, we’ll recognize the open development projects enabling shared knowledge. Open Content celebrates great content in any format while the Open Publishing Models category highlights the systems, workflows and processes that advance open in publishing. We think this covers most projects but please use the categories as a guide, not a rule. Just nominate anything and everything and we will work it out!

What’s new? In 2019, we conceived, planned, organized and held the Open Publishing Awards within the space of a few months. With more time, we’ve been able to reflect on the positives of that event and consider areas for improvement, particularly around promotion. We’re looking to invite shortlisted projects to present their work at the Open Publishing Fest 2021 later this year and, if we can find the resources (contact if you can help) we’re hoping to make short promotional videos to help increase awareness of the amazing ideas we celebrate at the awards. 

What is Coko’s role? You can call us the hosts, facilitators, or anything similar. But that’s all. Our role is to organize logistics, enable the event to happen, and, most importantly, preserve the awards’ neutrality. Projects founded by Coko or by Coko staff are ineligible for nomination. 

Who is sponsoring the awards? We were thrilled to receive a sponsorship offer from our good friends at Crossref and OASPA, and hoping to announce further partnerships for the Open Publishing Awards soon. Think you can help? Contact to talk about sponsorship and promotion, or just to chew the fat about ideas to help us shine a brighter light on the projects advancing open in publishing.

What do I do now? That’s easy: tell us about your favourite open publishing projects right now. Nominate early, nominate often, nominate here! There’s more OPA info here, and stay tuned for more news; coming your way very soon…

How do I keep up to date? You can sub to the Coko general newsletter. All updates regarding the awards are included in this regular mail out.