1. Introduction

Open access (OA) has become a significant part of scientific communication and academic publishing, and its importance is still growing. Research libraries are in the frontline of the open access movement because of their involvement in the management of repositories, of journal platforms and of article processing charges (APCs) but also because of their deep commitment to the promotion of open access to information as an ethical and political issue.

Much has been said and published about their role and responsibility in this new field of professional activity, such as encouraging researchers to publish in open archives or data curation; they can play a leading role in the establishment of open archives (see Accart & Réthy, 2015, p. 199). This paper shifts the focus from the institution to the human resources, i.e. to the professional development of research and academic librarians. Open access requires new knowledge and skills. Reshaping academic and research libraries means development of a workforce able not only to adapt to OA but to take leadership and become a key resource for the research communities. COAR, the Confederation of Open Access Repositories, ARL (The Association of Research Libraries), the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) and LIBER (The Association of European Research Libraries, recently formed a “Task Force on Librarians’ Competencies in Support of E-Research and Scholarly Communication” who outlined some of “Librarians´competencies for Scholarly Communication and Open Access” (COAR, 2016; Schmidt, Calarco, Kuchma, & Shearer, 2016)1. Among these “Copyright and open access advice” (ibd.) is one of four areas of competence with growing importance. But the question related to this expectation is: How do librarians and other information professionals acquire these new skills? How do they learn about open access? (Keener, 2014) Does it take place through formal channels, in which format, by which content? What kind of role have or should research libraries have in delivering continuing professional education (CPE) to librarians and other information professionals?

For the first time since its start in 2007, the Open-Access-Tage2 (Open Access Days; abbreviated as OAT), the leading conference on OA in German, organized a session on “Qualification for open access in academic studies and profession.”3 This session at the OAT 14 conference held in Cologne, Germany, in September 2014, indicated a growing awareness and relevance of qualification issues regarding OA. For almost 20 years experts have discussed developments and concepts of OA but the transfer of know-how to a wider group of colleagues involved in OA activities, e.g. by continuing professional education (CPE), has not yet been in focus.

Two contributions to the session by Schöpfel (2014) and Oßwald (2014) gave an overview on educational activities in the field of OA in library and information science (LIS) programs in France and Germany. Their main results were:

  1. Within the LIS programs and courses under survey, information about OA often is embedded in courses on digital publishing, academic skills or various other topics.
  2. In most cases the courses just comprise introductory knowledge on OA.
  3. There is a lack of knowledge about the extent, the means and the target groups of CPE in OA.

As a result and complementary follow-up research the two authors decided to conduct a study on CPE in the field of OA in France and Germany.4 CPE or further education means post-secondary vocational or workforce training as a part of lifelong learning and adult education (IFLA, 2016; Jarvis, 2010; Marcum, 2016; Richard, Koufogiannakis, & Ryan, 2009).

2. The Context

2.1. The Development of Open Access

Like in other countries OA has gained growing relevance within the academic sector in Germany. OA activists in some academic libraries and research institutions5 have been trying to establish projects, journals, procedures and structures to create awareness for and experience with OA. Since the beginning of the new millennium the national German Research funding organisation, the “Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)” and in particular its department “Wissenschaftliche Literaturversorgungs- und Informationssysteme (LIS)” has initiated and supported several programs to develop infrastructure and awareness regarding OA in Germany. Projects like “OA-Netzwerk” (network on open access repositories), “Open-Access-Statistik” (open access statistics) and “Erschließung von Zitationen in verteilten Open-Access-Repositorien“ (Distributed Open Access Reference Citation Services; DOARC)6 in connection with EU-funded projects like OAIster (OAI-Service Provider)7 and BASE (Bielefeld Academic Search Engine)8 have been conducted. As a result of these projects and other activities, partly funded by political bodies on a regional level (e.g. setting up golden OA journals9 or participation in events during the Open Access weeks), a diverse group of academic organisations and specialists active in OA has reached a high level of expertise and experience. Their reputation is accepted by the international OA community.

In France, the major research organizations CNRS (fundamental research), INRIA (applied computer science), INSERM (medical research) or INRA (agronomics), together with the universities and the Ministry of Higher Education and Research have supported the OA movement from the very beginning. CNRS and INSERM for instance were amongst the very first signatories of the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in October 2003, along with the Max Planck and the Fraunhofer Associations. CNRS launched the HAL10 repository, with 1.1 m items (40% with full text) one of the most important repositories worldwide, and hosts the OpenEdition11 platform with 400+ OA journals, 2500+ OA monographs and nearly 1500 scientific blogs. Many universities run their own institutional archives, either on the HAL platform or on a local server, often with DSpace, EPrints or ORI-OAI software.

2.2. Education

As a consequence of the developments in Germany, OA has become a topic of courses in LIS programs at universities and universities of applied sciences since about 2002. Nevertheless, OA has always been a niche topic integrated in courses on electronic publishing, acquisition and collection planning and sometimes in courses on information technology focusing on repositories, software to set them up and protocols like OAI-PMH to practice data interchange between OA repositories on an automated basis (for more details, see Oßwald, 2014).

Apart from this, OA-related education and training as well as CPE have not been topics of presentations and publications on a national level.12 In some institutions transfer of OA-related knowledge and operational know-how has been relevant for guiding hands-on sessions which intended to convince researchers to publish OA. This applies especially to libraries supporting research departments of universities and public research institutions which are financed on a national level, e.g. research organisations such as the Helmholtz Association or the Leibniz Association.13

In France, CNRS and various universities (academic libraries and regional STI services), but also other research societies, have organized OA events to raise awareness and to teach how to use the green and gold OA platforms. Yet, in most BA or Master programs in library and information sciences (in France, rather information and communication sciences), OA was (and still is) handled as part of other topics. Lectures or seminars explicitly and exclusively dedicated to OA are rather rare exceptions.

CPE for librarians is considered as a continuum of initial education (transmission) and professional practice (acculturation). “Good continuing education is the continuation by other means, of a good initial education” (Bertrand, 2007, p. 8). With its more than 25,000 librarians, CPE in the field of LIS is seen as a strategic issue for the development of librarianship in France, especially in cooperation with the Higher Education sector (Renoult, 2009).

2.3. Open Access Conferences

Professional conferences and seminars have a specific significance for library staff, as well as an exceptional opportunity for learning (“escape from the work environment”) as for their networking potential (Massis, 2004, p. 39–44). As already mentioned, education and training as well as CPE have not been special topics of the Open-Access-Tage. Nevertheless, the OAT have been educational events for the German-speaking OA community. In addition, the conferences tried to set up and improve the exchange of ideas and experiences between OA experts and researchers, publishers and politicians. Due to the relevance of OA for libraries most OA experts and activists have at least some connections or roots in the library and information science (LIS) field.

In France, the academic library consortium COUPERIN organizes annual conferences on OA which have become the main French OA events for political and official announcements as well as for news, product updates, discussions and exchange of experiences with OA since 2000. But OA is also on the agenda of other conferences, such as the annual meeting of the academic library directors, the CNRS STI days in Nancy, or the annual exhibitions of the French information industry in Paris (see Bertrand, 2015, p.252). However, except for the Nancy meetings, these events are generally not considered as formal skills trainings or CPE.

2.4. Published Concepts Regarding Education and Training on OA

Complementary to these findings regarding OA education and training on the national levels of France and Germany a comprehensive search14 for publications regarding the education and training of librarians on the international level did not bring up research publications or systematic concepts for qualifying librarians for OA. OA, for instance, is not mentioned as a specific field of interest in the IFLA Guidelines mentioned above (IFLA, 2016). Therefore the authors see justification to assume that the topic has not been under discussion until now.

3. Hypotheses and Methodology

Even if OA-minded lecturers have supported and fostered the integration of OA as a topic in the curricula of LIS programs, initial and continuing education have not been subject of systematic analyses or reflections resulting in publications or presentations. But in Germany things have changed for at least three reasons:

  1. A broader view on OA indicates a new level of maturity:
    From the beginning of the OAT conferences field reports played a dominant role at the conferences. Between 2007 and 2014 158 out of 281 presentations were OA-related field reports on a variety of aspects of OA (Lucht, 2015). Going beyond this perspective offers the opportunity to bring new topics in focus. Educational and CPE issues might be among the topics providing a broader view on OA.
  2. The gap between basic and expert know-how about OA is growing:
    Over the years experts involved in OA projects have gained very specialized knowledge in areas like OA statistics, APCs, legal regulations as well as technical issues of transformation. Those not involved in specialized projects on these issues, e.g. teaching staff at universities, can keep track of these specialized activities only selectively and focus mainly on basic OA knowledge and general developments.
  3. The new level of maturity calls for multiplication and outspreading of OA-related know-how:
    The OA community seems to be a community with a stable core group of insiders organizing the OAT conferences, being part of the program committee and speakers at the conferences. From 2007 to 2014 there were 20 speakers who gave three or more presentations, some of them up to six and seven presentations (Lucht, 2015). There has always been a core group of persons organizing the OAT together with experts of the local institutions at which the OAT took place. In general, these people are heavily involved in providing services and doing research. Besides that, their ability to provide CPE is very limited.

Altogether, the situation in France can be described in two ways:

  1. A generalisation of OA knowledge and skills in academic and research libraries:
    Because of the national OA policy in favour of green OA (HAL) and, especially in social sciences and humanities, OA journal publishing (OpenEdition), in all academic libraries and in several research libraries at least one or two librarians are committed to OA and have gained general and project-specific knowledge and skills.
  2. OA to be a continuing challenge for the French information professionals:
    Recent developments and changing priorities in the field of OA make essential continued investment into professional learning and training. Some examples: research data, legal and licensing issues, APCs, but also a better knowledge of the research environment (Battisti, 2004; Chartron, 2012). Also, the success of OA and the growing number of institutional repositories and OA journals call for more well-trained librarians, newcomers or not.

Based on these observations in the 2014 survey on OA in LIS Master and BA programs, the authors broadened their approach in order to include continuous professional education. In particular, they wanted to learn more about the following topics:

  1. To which extent is OA embedded in other topics of LIS CPE, like in university-based programs?
  2. Which is the real relevance of OA in CPE?
  3. Is there any evidence for a systematic coverage of OA-related topics in CPE based on a conceptual approach?
  4. What can be said about OA as a relevant topic of national library conferences, in terms of CPE?
  5. Which is the relation between CPE in OA and marketing activities for OA, e.g. by publishers etc.?
  6. Is CPE in OA provided only for librarians or also for (young) academics/researchers?

In order to provide some empirical proof for these questions, the authors conducted two parallel surveys in France and Germany regarding CPE in the area of OA. Both surveys put the focus on a sample of organisations and institutions providing CPE on OA, in particular for staff members of LIS institutions, mainly but not exclusively librarians. There were three objectives:

  1. Getting a state-of-the-art overview on events providing CPE for OA in France and Germany.
  2. Comparing the OA-related CPE events and selected circumstances under which they take place in the two countries.
  3. Developing suggestions to support CPE on OA.

The surveys were realized from April until August 2015. A three-year period from September 1st 2012 until August 31st 2015 was taken into focus. This period was chosen assuming that awareness of and need for CPE on OA might have increased during the last years. In addition, this period would give an up-to-date view on the state of the art in the field. The questions of the surveys were the same in France and Germany. An English translation of the questionnaire is available in annex to this paper.

Due to the small number of organisations providing such kind of CPE in Germany (twelve in total, eight within the period under focus) the questions of the survey were used to analyse the programs and websites of the organisations and activities relevant for the study. Complementary interviews (by phone or email or both) were conducted to get comprehensive answers to the questions of the survey.

In France, the sample was set up by 30 institutions identified via the national portal of CPE for academic and public librarians called BibDoc,15 funded by the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research and hosted by the National school for library and information sciences ENSSIB. Each institution of the sample (i.e. the person in charge of the CPE program) was contacted by email and invited to complete an online-based questionnaire with 22 questions or, alternatively, to answer to the same questions in an interview by telephone or via Skype. Those institutions that did not reply or complete the questionnaire received two reminders. Finally, 18 institutions participated (for more details see Schöpfel and Jacquemin, 2015).

The results of the surveys taken in both countries have been summarized with regard to five selected aspects. These are

  • the topics of the educational events provided,
  • their target groups,
  • the duration and format of the events,
  • the fees charged to participants and
  • evaluation activities (feedback, comments).

The studies have been performed by the authors of this paper and assisting staff. The questions and rationale of the survey were the same in both countries. However, because of the different situation of CPE for librarians in the two countries, the way the survey has been conducted was different – analysis of web-based content in Germany, online-based survey in France, completed by interviews for both. Therefore the findings can be compared and interpreted in an exploratory manner but should not be exploited with more sophisticated statistical tests.

4. Findings

4.1. German Sample

Most of the organisations in Germany offering or coordinating CPE for the LIS field have a regional focus but are open for participants from other regions as well.16 Most of them are part of institutions acting under public law or are public corporations, the others are registered or professional associations. In the period under focus (September 1st, 2012 until August 31st, 2015) five17 of these bodies and – in addition – at least one library (library of the KIT – Karlsruher Institut für Technologie) organized ten different types of CPE events regarding OA in the LIS field.

Figure 1 gives an overview on the organisations and institutions offering CPE on OA in the field of LIS in Germany during the period under focus.

Fig. 1: 

Bodies offering CPE on OA in the field of LIS in Germany (2012–2015).

Objectives and topics: Ten different types of CPE events related to OA have been identified. Their topics are listed here in English translation18 with duration information in brackets:

  1. Open access – an introduction and overview (1 day)
  2. Open access in libraries for the humanities and social sciences – state of the art and expectations for the future (2 days)
  3. Libraries resist the storms of copyright – lawsuits, plagiarism and pirates (1 day)
  4. Open access and copyright law in the sciences (½ day)
  5. The “3rd basket”—new regulations in copyright law (1 day)
  6. Taking it easy (easier): copyright law and information literacy (1 day)
  7. Libraries as stakeholders for open access (presentation)
  8. Peer review as a benchmark for open access: a networking model (presentation)
  9. Support for open access (90 minutes)
  10. Coffee lectures (10-minute presentations)

Some of these events have been offered repeatedly due to continuing demand. In addition, there were some CPE events identified where OA was a topic among others, e.g. events on licensing or publication services.

Target groups: These events or presentations were aimed at librarians from different types of libraries, sometimes especially to management staff. In one case researchers were mentioned as an additional target group.

Duration: Most of the events lasted just one day. One lasted two days but the part related to OA took only about 20% of the time. The other events and presentations lasted up to half a day.

Fees: Regarding the fees for the events at least three concepts are applied:

  1. Events which members of the organizing (library) associations can attend free of charge; in addition some of the regional institutions offering CPE for librarians are funded by regional ministries of the “Bundesländer” (German federal states); as a result members of selected groups of libraries located in these states take part free of charge.
  2. Funded events or events for which a library of (or as) a funding body is paying on an annual basis (in most cases the fee to be paid was €50–150, depending on the duration of the event).
  3. Cost-covering prices based on the supposed capacity of librarians as the designated target group to pay for CPE (€150 and more).

Evaluation: Evaluation procedures regarding the events, the performance of the lecturers and the satisfaction of participants are common and well established. Objective information about the evaluation results are available to insiders only and are not published. Nevertheless, the providers say that most events were evaluated positively and comments are picked up on a regular basis to improve upcoming events.

German national library conferences

During the period under focus, three national library conferences of the German library associations were held (2013: Leipzig, Bibliothekskongress; 2014: Bremen: Bibliothekartag; 2015: Nuremberg; Bibliothekartag).19 Officially, the annual national library conferences are events of continuing professional education. Based on a decision of a library’s management librarians can be released from work or get funding for taking part in the conference.

Sessions and presentations of these conferences have been analysed separately and all those regarding OA or OA-related topics such as “repositories” or “research data” have been taken in focus20.

An analysis of 71 presentations21 given at the three national German library conferences 2013–2015 which are relevant for the study are shown in Figure 2. It shows growing numbers of presentations for all three topics under focus and an increase of nearly three times for presentations on OA in general. This indicates a growing relevance of OA and related topics. The availability of research data as well as tools to provide OA data and publications to researchers and their accessibility are also in focus. But besides the general classification of the national library conferences as events of CPE most presentations at conferences do not have a comprehensive and sustainable educational effect. At least they are indicating the relevance of a topic and might give interesting insights but differ from professionally planned CPE events in several aspects.

Fig. 2: 

Sessions and presentations on OA and related topics at the German national library conferences 2013–2015.

4.2. French Sample

From the 18 institutions that participated in the survey, eleven offered CPE on OA between 2012 and 2015. Together they organized 72 events, most of them with a regional outreach; only few events were set up on a national level.

Objectives and topics: Half of the events (51%) were prepared as an introduction to OA, including raising of general awareness and promotion of OA. Nearly as many events (46%) were designed to teach new skills, related to local OA projects, new OA software, discovery and search techniques of OA resources etc. Two events (3%) dealt with the impact of OA on the development of library job profiles and skills.

Three different content levels can be distinguished:

  • General overviews on the OA movement in France and other countries, on OA models (green, gold) and initiatives, and on the change of scientific communication and the publishing landscape induced by OA.
  • Specific training courses on OA software, in particular for the use and management of the national HAL platform run by the CNRS but shared with other research organizations and the Higher Education sector (collection building, identifiers, export functionalities etc.).
  • Other special topics, such as the handling of electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs) in OA, information search and retrieval in open sources, metadata, research data etc.

Target groups: Most events didn’t require any preconditions for inscription and attendance, such as skills, experience or job profiles. One institution organized OA events for specific groups (undergraduates, PhD students, professors, scientists, academic librarians etc.); national training courses on OA to ETDs are limited to academic librarians in charge of theses and dissertations.

Duration: Most CPE events were daily courses. Some were even shorter, half a day or two hours, in particular when the focus was on OA news and updates. Except for two (preparing and implementing a local OA project), all events, including those lasting two or three days, were one-off events, without a follow-up course. At least in our sample, no CPE was proposed for distant learning.

Fees: 94% of the events were free of charge. The fees for the other courses varied from €50–100 (1 day) to €200–300 (3*2 days).

Evaluation: The CPE providers reported that the participants’ feedback was generally positive. Their own evaluation is more complex, somehow mitigated. On the one hand, they appreciate the fact that OA is a new content and that there is a real demand. They also appreciate the richness and variety of the related topics and the quality and motivation of the teachers/trainers. On the other hand, they admit the challenging nature of OA, in particular the need to keep abreast with the rapid development of the movement and services and to invent new formats and materials because there are no ready or “turnkey” programs so far. Many providers appear more or less explicitly supportive of OA as an objective to reach and to promote.

Most of the events (88%) will continue in the future. Yet, the providers announce some adjustments, e.g. more discipline-specific, tailored contents and formats, and more practical training on the OA platforms and with discovery services. Some providers think that more investigation in the scientists’ information behaviours and needs is needed in order to develop the OA curriculum. They also suggest two forthcoming topics related to OA, i.e. research data management and altmetrics. They are convinced that OA training and education needs more promotion and investment.

5. Discussion

Due to the small size of samples and different avenues of approach when surveying the results should not be over-interpreted. Nevertheless, as the surveys represent a good part of what is done in France and Germany with regard to CPE in OA, the collected information allows for some observations and comments on the above-mentioned hypotheses.

5.1. The Importance of OA as a Topic of CPE

The 2014 study on OA in BA and Master programs in Germany and France revealed that OA often remains invisible in the curriculum, somewhat hidden in contents such as scientific information, information search, economics, academic publishing or information law. The new survey confirms this observation in the field of CPE at least partly. Nevertheless most CPE events are clearly identified as a program on OA, and only some events on OA do not mention the topic OA in the title or abstract. For example, three courses have been listed above, which dealt with copyright law, lawsuits, plagiarism, pirates or information literacy. In spite of the fact that OA was part of each event, this was not explicitly brought up by the title. Yet, these events remain exceptions and in most cases CPE events clearly announce OA as (central) part of their content.

Following the results, at least in France and with some limitations also in Germany, OA has become (and obviously will remain for a while) a key element of the CPE program. Every year, several events are proposed to professionals who want or need to learn about OA, either on a national or (more often) on a regional level. Yet, as an earlier survey revealed, the “digital revolution” still remains the priority of CPE for French academic librarians while OA is just one related topic (Bouchareb, 2013).

Also, there is no evidence for a systematic coverage of OA-related topics in CPE based on a conceptual approach. Two different aspects should be distinguished. On the one hand, German CPE providers indicate that the content of OA courses often is strongly influenced by the experience and motivation of the person in charge of the event. In France, of course the content and format is shaped by the trainer, too; however, the decision on the topics and objectives are clearly institutional choices. On the other hand, France and Germany have in common a lack of national coordination of CPE for LIS professionals, in spite of the French network of regional campus-based services called URFIST. This may change in the near future as this network dedicated to training and research in scientific and technical information will reinforce its organisational structure and coordination.

5.2. Beyond CPE

The survey also confirms that formal CPE is not the only way to learn about OA and to develop OA-related skills. Complementary and sometimes even alternatively, training provided by academic libraries, seminars and workshops propose opportunities to acquire knowledge and skills about OA outside of formal CPE programs. These opportunities are not necessarily recognized as CPE.

National library conferences play a special role, in particular the conventions of the German Library Associations where OA has become a relevant topic.22

Topics like repository management, deposit procedures etc. represent only a small part of the German CPE, probably for financial reasons but also because of a limited demand. By consequence, the knowledge gap between the more general content of the CPE and the special topics of the national OAT conferences seems to increase.

In France, too, OA has become a central and crucial part of the last years’ conferences organized by the academic consortium COUPERIN and the association of the academic libraries ADBU. In France, such special topics are covered by the public OA providers of the green and gold platforms, CCSD (for HAL) and CLEO (for OpenEdition). This introduces a slight ambiguity insofar as there are no clear lines between CPE and product training and promotion.

In general, personal commitment to OA appears to be a characteristic of most if not all OA trainers and conference speakers. The respondents of the survey stated clearly that often information about OA equals promotion for OA and its platforms and servers. Obviously, there is a smooth transition from CPE in OA and marketing activities for OA. Moreover, commonly the objective of a CPE event or conference program is not only to inform about OA or to make promotion for a repository, a journal server or an OA policy, but to encourage or persuade the audience to adopt OA as a scientific and/or professional strategy of information behaviour. Not implementing OA, lacking awareness of OA or showing reluctance to sharing research results is considered as a form of “information illiteracy” which needs information, communication, persuasion and perhaps sometimes even some kind of pressure.

5.3. Target Groups

The personal commitment of “OA trainers” and the twofold objective of many events, i.e. information about and marketing of OA, appear conditioned by the fact that those events are not only CPE for librarians but for a larger audience, including scientists, scholars and PhD students who partly lack real knowledge about OA. This is especially true for those events designed as an introduction or initiation to OA, to provide a global overview on OA and raise awareness about the challenge of academic publishing, notably in France where half of the CPE was dedicated to introduction and raising awareness (and will continue to be so). This “debutant level” represents only a small part of CPE in Germany because OA has been integrated in the initial LIS education. On the other hand, special topics such as hosting and management of a repository are usually limited to a professional audience. At least in this survey, no training was proposed for university administrative staff, such as training on research management, human resources, financial management etc.

Thus, the survey confirms that CPE in OA is provided not only for librarians but also for (young) academics and researchers. This is unusual for CPE which is normally designed for specific and narrow target groups, to be efficient and in line with professional needs and objectives. In the field of OA, this larger audience creates an ambiguous situation, with its own specific pros and cons. The major disadvantage is probably the fact that librarians and scientists do not have the same needs, goals and constraints, and that they often perform different information behaviours, too. Convincing arguments for information professionals may not work with scientists. Another disadvantage is related to disciplinary differences. A disciplinary approach to OA as a part of information and publishing behaviour is surely recommended for scientists; yet, a community approach to CPE may be less important for librarians. On the other hand, the advantage of such a large audience is that librarians and scientists can learn from each other, that librarians can better understand the way scientists are usually considering (or not considering) OA, and that scientists can identify librarians as a key resource for advice and assistance in the field of open access.

6. Conclusion

The main objective of the survey was to get a state-of-the-art overview on events providing CPE for OA in France and Germany and to compare the OA-related CPE events and selected circumstances under which they take place in the two countries. In general, the actual situation seems to satisfy organizers and providers of CPE as well as trainees. However, the situation of OA is changing quickly and the global acceptance and uptake of OA in both countries is not optimal. The findings show that both countries lack a general concept or coordination of CPE on OA-related topics, without any accepted or recognized curriculum (e.g. regarding minima) and unrelated to initial education; they also reveal a sometimes blurry CPE landscape with workshops, seminars, sessions, conferences etc., without any clear distinction of what is CPE and what is not. Moreover, these events are often or at least sometimes part of promotion and marketing in favour of OA policies and/or tools.

Following the survey, three suggestions to develop CPE on OA can be made:

  1. Develop a conceptual framework for CPE on OA, for instance with reference to the UNESCO OA curriculum23 which makes a clear distinction between contents for library schools with four modules (Introduction, Infrastructure, Resource Optimization, Interoperability and Retrieval) and contents for researchers with five modules (Scholarly Communications, Concepts of Openness and Open Access, Intellectual Property Rights, Research Evaluation Metrics, Sharing Your Work in Open Access). The labelling of OA events by the European FOSTER project may be helpful, too, to identify operational programs and key topics.
  2. Create new formats for CPE on OA in order to extend the diversity of the offer and to facilitate participation and attendance, in particular through distant learning, MOOCs, webinars, tutorials etc. These new formats are “an effective way to move forward on the career track and to stay relevant in the field (without) return to school” (La Chapelle & Wark, 2014), and they may be helpful to identify and promote OA-related events unmistakably as CPE, distinctive from professional conferences etc.
  3. Separate promotion (marketing) from knowledge and skills acquisition. Linkage of CPE contents to a skills frame of reference in the field of OA, just like in other domains of library skills. This would mean an explicit definition of target groups and audiences for each event. Technical skills may be better learned in restricted professional groups while synergy and mutual learning might take place preferentially at large conferences and within (institutional) project teams.

Open science is on the agenda of the European Union. Each member state has to define its own approach to foster and develop OA to research. Academic libraries have a role to play, not only in supporting education and workforce development, but also in the dissemination and preservation of research results. Efficient CPE may be helpful to enable them to position themselves as key partners for scientists and institutions in the field of OA.