The release process for OpenJPA is currently quite long and involves a lot of manual steps. When we first entered the incubator this was required, however there are a lot of new plugins for Maven which may make all our lives easier.
Ideally our release instructions would look more like Geronimo's : http://cwiki.apache.org/GMOxPMGT/geronimo-release-process.html which takes advantage of the maven release plugin and gpg plugins.
Resolving this completely may take some time. In the meantime the old release process will work and can be used if we need to cut a new release.