Below are the results of the 2019 Open Publishing Awards. We present 11 amazing projects that we hope you both learn from and help us celebrate.

The intention of the awards is to bring stories to you about the amazing diversity of open projects that exist today in publishing. If you tweet, blog, or you are a reporter or researcher we hope that you will join us and use your tools to explore and amplify each of these amazing stories about open publishing to the world.

Show them some love!

Open Content

Book Dash

Book Dash is a not-for-profit, social-impact publisher of South African picture books for young children. Their vision is for every child in South Africa to own one hundred books by the age of five. The judges were simply blown away with the publishing model and how this project leverages open to achieve such an enormous impact with very few resources.

Free Tamil Ebooks

The Free Tamil Ebooks (FTE) website has existed for 5 years and releases openly licensed Ebooks in the Tamil Language (spoken in Tamilnadu, India). The judges were impressed by the very pragmatic approach Free Tamil Ebooks took to address a very real need. The project also provides educational material on open licenses, explains how to approach bloggers to re-license content as Creative Commons, and provides information on how to use free software tools (particuarly PressBooks) to make Ebooks. Free Tamil EBooks is a comprehensive ‘ecosystem’ approach to enabling the production of free content available in Tamil.

Upper Limb Anatomy Models

Robin Janson, a Clinical Assistant Professor at Indiana University Department of Occupational Therapy set herself the task of making openly licensed bone models so that teachers and students around the world can make quality, low-cost, instructional models to enhance learning. This is the story of objects as open content, and how one woman educator is working passionately to make freely licensed bone models available to help her students. The story is also a great example of how open practitioners can build on the value and works created by other open practitioners.


Wikidata stands out for its scale and its quiet development of a set of massive data resources. Specifically when we think about publishing it is allowing us to connect the millions of research outputs and concepts, organisations and individuals and to understand how they relate to each other. Openness and open content are central to Wikidata. It is fundamentally built on open data and demonstrates the necessity of clear permissions for building integrated systems at scale. The judges were impressed by the scale and the central commitment to openness the Wikidata and the broader Wikimedia community exemplifies and its power to enable a wide range of communities through open structured data. The impact of Wikidata is developing but it already underpins a range of tools and systems such as Scholia, but has also enabled the scaling of other massive datasets. The potential is significant.

Open Source Software


Recogito is a great example of an open source software project that considers ‘open’ as more than just a license. Recogito has a very open model for the ongoing development of the tool, actively involving its constituency in conversations about what they want to see in the tool. The judges felt that the tool itself is obviously impressive and has impact, but including the people that need to use the tool in the development process has undoubtedly lead to the tools successful uptake and adoption by researchers. It is an enlightened open source development process addressing a real use case.

Citation Style Language

Citation Style Language (CSL) is simply a very important project for publishing. It has widespread adoption in important platforms and plays a critical role in the scholarly publishing landscape. It is also important in that it is an open source project populated by a diverse set of skill sets and research perspectives. The judges felt that in recent discussions about publishing infrastructure important projects like CSL are often under discussed because they are so foundational to be rendered almost invisible. We would like to celebrate and highlight the achievements of this very important project.


matplotlib is versatile and powerful Python data visualization library. It has been recently used for rendering the first picture of a black hole and to illustrate the existence of gravitational waves. As with so many open source software projects, the judges were impressed not by the newness of the project, but how critical matplotlib is to the current and future open publishing landscape. If we did not have matplotlib we would simply have to invent it .

Open Publishing Models


AFRO-PWW presents a complete ecosystem approach to Open Access publishing. The project doesn’t just publish Open Access woks, it helps projects choose appropriate open source software for authoring/processing/publishing materials, plays an important role in training researchers to use these tools, and then educates their constituency as to Open Access licensing and publishing options. Further, AFRO-PWW is fully invested in exploring new digital models for scholarship and helps “scholars navigate the new opportunities presented by collaborative, multi-modal, and interim phase works. “ The judges felt that not only is AFRO-PWW interesting in itself but it is a strong model for filling important open knowledge gaps from marginalized communities. We hope the model is inspiring and useful to you and may influence open knowledge projects to come.

Open Library of Humanities

The Open Library of Humanities is a born open-access publisher which specialises in internationally-leading, rigorous and peer-reviewed scholarship across the humanities disciplines in 27 journals. The platform is 100% open-access, but unlike every other major humanities OA journal publication platform, it has no fees for authors. OLH is instead supported by approximately 250 academic libraries worldwide. The Open Library of Humanities (OLH) is a force of nature. Uncompromisingly open and collaborative. The judges were impressed about every aspect of OLH but without doubt their carefully considered Open Access economic model is comprehensive and inspiring.


WikiJournals publishes a set of open-access, peer-reviewed academic journals with no publishing costs to authors. Its goal is to provide free, quality-assured knowledge. Secondly, it aims to bridge the Academia-Wikipedia gap by enabling expert contributions in the traditional academic publishing format to improve Wikipedia content. However it is the model that the judges found most interesting. WikiJournals play in the space between mass collaborative knowledge cultures like Wikipedia and more contained, linear models that we see in peer reviewed journals.


Public Knowledge Project

Since 1998, the Public Knowledge Project (PKP) has been developing open source software for scholarly publishing including Open Journal Systems (OJS) and Open Monograph Press (OMP). The project gives academic communities, including researchers, librarians, students, and staff, opportunities to develop scholarly capacities with a global reach. PKP has made a clear and important impact on the world of open publishing over the last 20+ years and has cut a path for many that have followed. The open publishing sector, and particularly those in scholarly communications, owe a debt of gratitude to this essential and pioneering project.

The goal of the inaugural Open Publishing Awards is to promote and celebrate a wide variety of open projects in publishing.

Nominations are now closed! We had a tremendous response, many thanks for all those that nominated! Watch this space for more information. Announcements will be made on 15 October 2019. Join us at Edinburgh, Scotland for the Awards Reception! (Grosvenor Hotel, 5.30pm!)

More information about categories, judging and why we are doing this can be found below.

Award Categories

The inaugural Open Publishing Awards focus on two categories – Open Source Software and Open Content. Judges may decide to break the categories down to sub-categories upon reviewing the nominations and call out projects for special mention in each.

Open Source Software

Open source software in the publishing sector. This can include publishing platforms, repositories, curatorial management systems, peer review systems, pre-print platforms, and tools that are used further down the line by authors and researchers such as notebooks, data analyzing tools, editors etc. The only criteria is that the project uses an open source license (such as those defined by the Open Source Initiative). Nominations may be for a project or organisation.

Open Content

All content types emanating from the publishing sector are eligible, including Open Access articles, open monographs, Open Educational Resource Materials, open data, open textbooks etc. The only criteria is that the project uses an open content license (such as Creative Commons or similar). Nominations may be for a single work or group (in the form of a collection, project or organisation).

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can submit nominations?
Anyone who is enamored of a project or work that fits the criteria for either of our two categories this year. Self-nomination is welcome and encouraged. The awards are organized by Coko, so any such projects founded by Coko or Coko staff are not eligible. Explicitly this means the following projects cannot enter – Coko itself, PubSweet, Wax, XSweet, Paged.js, Editoria, PagedMedia, Booktype, FLOSS Manuals, Cabbage Tree Labs, Book Sprints PubSource, and any books / articles published by Coko and its staff.

Can I nominate my own project?
Yes! Please do!

How do I submit a nomination?
Visit our web form, select the category your submission belongs in, and answer the required questions with as much detail as possible for the judges to review.

When do nominations close?
Sept 20 (now closed for 2019).

How many nominations can I make?
Please nominate as many projects as you like!

When will the results be announced?
There will be an Open Publishing Awards reception at FORCE19 in Edinburgh, Scotland (October 15). All successful projects will be announced online simultaneously.

Can Public Domain materials be considered?
Yes. For the Open Content category we will use the Open Knowledge definition of open as a guiding principle:
“[Open Content] can be freely used, modified, and shared by anyone for any purpose



Choose a category to start your submission.

About the Judges

We are very lucky to have a fantastic panel of judges. We have listed each below followed by bios. Please note there are three people listed from the awesome Whose Knowledge? as they are participating as a collective and sharing judging duties between them. Judges listed alphabetically by first name.

Adele Vrana (Whose Knowledge?)
Anasuya Sengupta (Whose Knowledge?)
Ann Michael (PLOS)
Cameron Neylon – Chair – (Curtin University)
Danielle Robinson (Code for Science and Society)
Gimena del Rio Riande (Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas)
John Chodacki (California Digital Library)
Natasha Simons (Australian Research Data Commons)
Neil Chue Hong (Software Sustainability Institute)
Siko Bouterse (Whose Knowledge?)
Tony Wasserman (Open Source Initiative)

Adele Vrana

Whose Knowledge?

Adele Vrana is Co-Director and co-founder of Whose Knowledge?. Adele has led business development and partnerships initiatives to help build more plural and diverse communities in her native country of Brazil and globally. She is the former Director of Strategic Partnerships at the Wikimedia Foundation, and a 2015 Erasmus Prize laureate on behalf of her work to expand access to Wikipedia in the Global South. Adele holds a BA in International Relations and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Sao Paulo. When not re-imagining what the internet of the future would look like and advocating for that online, Adele spends most of her time raising two feminist boys, reading black feminists from the Global South, and spending time with her friends from close and afar. 

Anasuya Sengupta

Whose Knowledge?

Anasuya Sengupta is Co-Director and Co-founder of Whose Knowledge?. She has led initiatives in India and the USA, across the global South, and internationally for over 20 years, to amplify marginalized voices in virtual and physical worlds. She is the former Chief Grantmaking Officer at the Wikimedia Foundation, and a 2017 Shuttleworth Foundation Fellow. She received a 2018 Internet and Society award from the Oxford Internet Institute. Anasuya holds an MPhil in Development Studies from the University of Oxford, where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar. She also has a BA in Economics (Honors) from Delhi University. When not rabble-rousing online, Anasuya builds and breaks pots, takes long walks by the ocean and in the redwoods, and contorts herself into yoga poses.

Ann Michael


Ann Michael is Chief Digital Officer at PLOS charged with driving the development and execution of the organization’s overall digital and supporting data strategy. Working collaboratively across PLOS, and through industry collaboration, her team will facilitate the strategic evaluation and evolution of PLOS platforms and processes.
Prior to joining PLOS, Ann was Founder and CEO of Delta Think. 

Cameron Neylon (Chair)

Curtain University

Cameron Neylon is Professor of Research Communication at the Center for Culture and Technology at Curtin University. He is interested in how to make the internet more effective as a tool for scholarship. He writes and speaks regularly on scholarly communication, the design of web based tools for research, and the need for policy and cultural change within and around the research community.
Cameron Neylon is a one-time biomedical scientist who has moved into the humanities via Open Access and Open Data advocacy. His research and broader work focus on how we can make the institutions that support research sustainable and fit for purpose for the 21st century and how the advent of new communications technology is a help (and in some cases a hindrance) for this.

Danielle Robinson

Code for Science & Society

Dr. Danielle Robinson is a scientist turned advocate for community-centered public interest technology. In 2016, she completed a PhD in Neuroscience at Oregon Health & Science University. During her PhD, she became increasingly interested in how the influence of funders, publishers, and other forces impact how research is conducted and communicated. This interest transformed her into an advocate for globally inclusive open access policies and launched her into fellowship with Mozilla Science. She’s been the President and Co-Executive Director of Code for Science & Society, since 2017 where she focuses on bringing strategic perspective to projects looking to build, fund, and sustain open communities.

Gimena del Rio Riande


Gimena del Rio Riande is Associate Researcher at the Seminario de Edicion y Crítica Textual (SECRIT-IIBICRIT) and Director of Humanidades Digitales CAICYT Lab at the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET, Argentina). She is co-Director of the Digital Humanities Master at LINHD-UNED(Madrid) and Professor at the Literary Studies Master’s degree at the University of Buenos Aires. 
With her MA and PhD in Romance Philology (Universidad Complutense de Madrid) with a critical edition of King Dinis of Portugal’s Songbook (Texto y contexto: El Cancionero del rey Don Denis de Portugal: estudio filológico, edición crítica y anotación. Summa cum Laude), Gimena’s main academic interests deal with Digital Scholarly Edition, Open Research, free technologies and the interaction of the global and the local in the Digital Humanities. She has been working since 2013 in building different DH communities of practice in Latin America and Spain, especially in Argentina, where she founded the DH association (AAHD). She is, among others, the co-founder of the first Spanish Digital Humanities journal, the Revista de Humanidades Digitales(RHD), president of the Asociación Argentina de Humanidades Digitales(AAHD) and member of the Board of Directors of the TEI Consortium, FORCE11, and Pelagios Commons. She is vocal at Humanidades Digitales Hispánicas Association, and member of the board of editors at Hypothèses/Open Edition, Open Methods-DARIAH, Revista Relaciones (México), Bibliographica (México) and Digital Studies/Le Champ Numérique (Canada). 

John Chodacki

California Digital Library

John Chodacki is Director of the University of California Curation Center (UC3) at California Digital Library (CDL). As Director of UC3, John works across the UC campuses and the broader community to ensure that CDL’s digital curation services meet the emerging needs of the scholarly community, including digital preservation, data management, and reuse.  In addition, John represents CDL in the global research community (funders, libraries, archives, publishers, researchers) and defines and prioritizes new and improved services for UC3.  Prior to CDL, John worked at Public Library of Science (PLOS) where, as Product Director, he was responsible for product strategy and led key organization-wide initiatives in taxonomy development,  data policy, and article-level metrics. John serves on the FORCE11 Board of Directors, the DataCite Board of Directors and the Coko Advisory Board.

Natasha Simons


Natasha Simons is Associate Director, Skilled Workforce, for the Australian Research Data Commons (formerly ANDS, RDS and Nectar). With a background in libraries, IT and eResearch, Natasha has a history of developing policy, technical infrastructure (with a focus on persistent identifiers) and skills to support research. She works with a variety of people and groups to improve data management skills, platforms, policies and practices. Based at The University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, Natasha is co-chair of the RDA Interest Group on Data Policy Standardisation and Implementation, Deputy Chair of the Australian ORCID Advisory Group and co-chair of the DataCite Community Engagement Steering Group.

Neil Chue Hong

Software Sustainability Institute

Neil Chue Hong is the founding Director and Principal Investigator of the Software Sustainability Institute, and is based at EPCC at the University of Edinburgh. He enables research software users and developers to drive the continued improvement and impact of research software and his current research is in barriers and incentives in research software ecosystems and the role of software as a research object. He is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Open Research Software.

Siko Bouterse

Whose Knowledge?

Siko Bouterse is Co-Director and co-founder of Whose Knowledge?. She’s organized, localized and imagined a more plural and truly global web for over 10 years. She is former Director of Community Resources at the Wikimedia Foundation. Siko has an MA in Middle East History from the American University in Cairo, where her award-winning thesis focused on social history not captured in traditional historical sources. She also holds a BA in Anthropology from UC Berkeley where she worked at the Phoebe Hearst Museum. When not rabble-rousing online, Siko is paddleboarding in the ocean, cooking and reading about delicious feasts, making bad mixed-media art, and raising a feminist daughter.

Tony Wasserman

Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley

Anthony I. (Tony) Wasserman is a Professor of Software Management Practice at Carnegie Mellon University Silicon Valley, and the Executive Director of its Center for Open Source Investigation (COSI), focused on evaluation and adoption of open source software. In 1980, as a Professor at UC San Francisco, he released the software for his User Software Engineering research project under a BSD license. Subsequently, as CEO of Interactive Development Environments (IDE), he incorporated some of that software in IDE’s Software through Pictures multiuser modeling environment, released in 1984, making it among the very first commercial products to include open source software. After IDE, Tony was VP of Engineering for a dot-com, and later became VP of Bluestone Software, where Bluestone’s open source Total-e-Mobile toolkit allowed mobile devices to connect to JavaEE web applications. Tony is very active in the international open source research community, and served as General Chair of the 2009 and 2014 Int’l. Conference on Open Source Systems. He served on the Board of Directors of the Open Source Initiative (OSI) from 2010-16 and the Board of Advisors of Open Source for America. Tony is a Fellow of the ACM and a Life Fellow of the IEEE for his contributions to software engineering and software development environments. He received the 2012 Distinguished Educator Award from the IEEE’s Technical Council on Software Engineering and the 2013 Influential Educator Award from the ACM’s Special Interest Group on Software Engineering. Tony has been to more than 70 countries, including some that no longer exist, and posts his photos on Flickr.

How Judging Works

We have a large judging group to bring a diversity of perspectives to the process, and to split the work up a little to lessen the amount of work on any individual judge.

As nominations come in, Coko staff will load them into Loomio – itself an open source project originally made for the Occupy movement to assist in distributed decision making.

Judges can then review in their own time. The Loomio software allows for discussions around each nomination and the ability for each judge to rank the entry. Coko staff will be on hand to help research any issues that may come up on an as-needed basis. If and where necessary our Chair Cameron Neylon will adjudicate on any process issues as required.

Judges will recuse themselves from any nomination where they may be a stakeholder or have a conflict of interest of any kind. We also do not require each judge to look at all entries as they, like you, are very busy people. We do require each nomination to be reviewed by at least 5 judges.

After nominations are closed and all nominations have been reviewed, a select group of projects will be taken forward to an in-person meeting in Edinburgh chaired by Cameron Neylon and attended by several of the judges. From this meeting we will have our final list of projects to be announced at a reception in Edinburgh, Scotland on October 15 (the evening before FORCE19 begins). The reception is free for all to attend and drinks and food will be provided! Come join us to celebrate Open Publishing!


The Open Publishing Awards celebrate software and content in publishing that use open licenses but also, importantly, provide a chance to reflect on the strategic value of openness. Why is ‘open’ valuable in the publishing sector?

If you made a nomination, you may have noted the question: “What role does ‘open’ play in making this project special?” Our hope is that you will take the time to consider this question, and make the case for why open is important for the project or projects you are nominating.

Too often, ‘open’ is reduced to discussions of licenses and then contrasted against proprietary business models as a risky alternative to legacy closed models. These arguments often treat the issue shallowly as if ‘open’ is some kind of hippy dippy, lovey dovey, hobbyist pastime. These critiques miss the real-world power of open. They fail to understand that open means more than ‘non-proprietary’, that open is a powerful tool to build collaboration, trust, adoption, to share the cost and burden of creating these works, to diffuse innovations into the market, to learn from each other, and to improve the quality and impact of the works themselves.

These cases need to be articulated and shared. Not just to counter the critiques, but so we can learn from each other.

This is one of the main reasons why the Open Publishing Awards exist, along with celebrating the many amazing open projects in this sector.

Its also important to note that while we are using the framing of ‘awards’, this is not a competition. Sure, projects will be called out for special mention, but we are avoiding terminology such as ‘winners’ and ‘best of’. The Awards are a useful mechanism to hold up some of the open projects in this domain and celebrate them together. It’s about community, not competition.

I want to thank some friends and allies for their help in shaping this event. First, many thanks to Peter Cunliffe-Jones, a fellow Shuttleworth Fellow and founder of Africa Check for the original inspiration. Thanks also to Noko Makgato, Africa Checks Executive Director for the many generous insights on how their awards work. Similarly thanks to Don Christie of the New Zealand Open Source Awards for sharing what they have learned. Thanks to Tim O’Reilly who gave some crucial early feedback and helped make the awards a great deal more focused. Thanks also to John Chodacki for ongoing sage advice. I’m grateful to all the judges who have generously gifted their time to participate. Thank you also to Helen Turvey and Andrew Rens from the Shuttleworth Foundation for their assistance in creating the category questions. Finally, thanks to Coko’s Julien Taquet for the design of the logo and site and Alison McGonagle-O’Connell for helping get this all together by the deadline.

Please make as many nominations as you can. We would appreciate thoughtful answers to the questions. If you can join us in Edinburgh at the awards reception, please come. Food and drinks are free and it’s an opportunity to get as many peopleas we can together to celebrate the amazing work we are doing as a community of open practitioners.

Finally, I am very open to hearing how we may improve the awards. If you have any ideas please drop me a line (email below).

Adam, Coko