Barricading an open access website – reflections on the attack on DOAB

As many of you might have noticed, last week the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) website was unavailable for several days. Sadly, the reason for this was not a technical glitch as we first suspected, but an actual attack on DOAB.

During the weekend of 21 January, someone decided to flood the Domain Name Server (DNS) of our registrar with requests for the DOAB record – a DDoS attack.

A short explanation: when you type in, your browser looks up this address in a Domain Name Server, which translates it to an IP address (that looks like, e.g., However, when an attacker overloads the DNS with these lookups, this does not work any more. The result is that the website is working fine, but it can’t be reached.

Sadly, we were not immediately able to understand what was happening, as we did not have any previous experience with this kind of situation. Once the reason was clear, we could take measures. We moved our domain name registration to Cloudflare, a company that specialises in the protection against these kind of attacks. At the same time, we have done this for the OAPEN and the OA Books Toolkit websites as well.

Thank you for your patience with us as we navigated these new circumstances and please accept our apologies for the inconvenience caused. We hope that our explanation was clear, but of course, please contact us if you have any questions or remarks.

OAPEN open access books toolkit


In June 2020 OAPEN announced the development of an open access books toolkit: an open and easy to use toolkit to help authors better understand and trust open access book publishing.


Editorial Advisory Board

Over the past months, work on a community-built open access books toolkit continued and we are pleased to introduce the Editorial Advisory Board. This Board is a global and multi-stakeholder group, including authors, publishers, research support staff, funders and other key stakeholders:


Editorial Advisory Board Members

Andrew Joseph, Digital Publisher, Wits University Press

Christina Emery, Open Access Books Marketing Manager, Springer Nature

Claire Redhead, Executive Director, OASPA

Dylan Law, Head of Cultural Value and Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, UKRI AHRC

Eelco Ferwerda, Director, DOAB Foundation & OAPEN Foundation

Graham Stone, Senior Programme Manager Open Access Monographs, Jisc

Hannah Hope, Open Research Coordinator, Wellcome Trust

Jan Bergstra, Guest Researcher, University of Amsterdam

Jeroen Sondervan, Project Leader Open Access & Open Science Programme, Utrecht University

Kevin Hawkins, Assistant Dean Scholarly Communications & Interim Head, University of North Texas

Koen Leurs, Assistant Professor Media & Culture, Utrecht University

Lucy Barnes, Editor, Open Book Publishers

Lucy Montgomery, Assistant Professor Internet Studies, Curtin University

Margo Bargheer, Head of Electronic Publishing, Göttingen University Press

Mithu Lucraft, Marketing Director Open Research, Springer Nature

Ros Pyne, Director Open Access Books, Springer Nature

Sotiria Psoma, University Lecturer BioScience and Technology, The Open University

Tom Mosterd, Community Manager, DOAB Foundation & OAPEN Foundation

Valerie McCutcheon, Research Information Manager, Glasgow University


Schedule & launch

By now, the Editorial Advisory Board has collectively written 42 articles, as the collaborative writing phase for the toolkit is coming to a close.

Over the summer, the toolkit website will be further developed and additional reviews shall take place for the toolkit and its contents. We look forward to sharing this new public resource with you shortly after the summer. 

If you would like to stay informed and receive project updates about the toolkit, please sign up to the OAPEN Open Access Books Toolkit newsletter here.

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