About the Open Publishing Awards

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.

Please make as many nominations as you can. We appreciate thoughtful answers to the questions.

This year we will also be looking for opportunities to promote the selected projects as much as we can, this will include an invitation to each short listed project to be part of the 2021 Open Publishing Fest to present their work.

Adam, Coko Founder

How Judging Works

We aim to 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. Judges are yet to be announced for 2021. The awards are again chaired by last years chair Cameron Neylon.

Once nominations close Cameron will facilitate the creation of a short list. Judges will then review the shortlist in their own time. Coko staff will be on hand to help research any issues that may come up on an as-needed basis.

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.

Cameron will compile the reviews from the judges and facilitate the creation of the final list of recipients. These recipients will then be announced at a date yet to be announced.

Note: Coko founded the awards and pays the bills and provides all the logistics (website design, announcements etc). Consequently, to preserve the neutrality of the awards Coko projects cannot be nominated.

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?

To be announced.

How many nominations can I make?

Please nominate as many projects as you like!

When will the results be announced?

We will post the dates shortly!

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”

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