Knowledge Rights 21 – 21st Century Access to Culture, Learning & Research

“The programme Knowledge Rights 21 (KR21) is focused on bringing about changes in legislation and practice across Europe that will strengthen the right of all to knowledge. It is built on a conviction that knowledge is essential for education, innovation and cultural participation, and that everyone should have the possibility – in particular through libraries, archives and digitally – to access and use it….

New project for SPARC Europe to reform rights retention and open licensing policies in Europe – SPARC Europe

“SPARC Europe has been selected to deliver the first project sponsored under the Knowledge Rights 21 (KR21) programme. KR21 seeks to strengthen access to knowledge in particular through libraries and archives. It is focused on bringing about changes in legislation and practice across Europe that will strengthen rights to knowledge.

This is aligned to the SPARC Europe strategy and speaks to four of our strategic goals: 

Strengthen Open Access, Open Scholarship / Open Science and Open Education policy in Europe and align where possible;
Advocate for open in research and education;
Strive to enable more equity in Open so that all those who wish to publish and share research and education resources openly are better enabled to do so; and 
Promote diversity in publishing Open research and education.

SPARC Europe will lead research to develop a stronger understanding of rights retention and open licensing policies in Europe, with an ambition to reform the way institutions and authors manage their publishing rights to enable Open Access and access to knowledge for all. A key goal is to simplify the rights retention procedures, encourage the adoption of open licences, and better empower authors so that they and their fellow researchers, teachers and students can further benefit from the research they share. …”

OPERAS’ Assembly of the Commons

In classical governance schemes, there is a separation of powers that leads funders and policy-making authorities to discuss and make decisions on their side with no or just indirect consultation of the community. We, at OPERAS, did not want that. The OPERAS AISBL governance scheme traverses the different layers of the organization, such as management, strategy, policy, and support. Furthermore, it establishes the levels of engagement of the different types of stakeholders in the development of the OPERAS Research Infrastructure. 

The Assembly of the Commons (AoC) is one of OPERAS’ governance bodies and it gathers all Ordinary Members of the infrastructure. It is convened at least once a year and the OPERAS’ second Assembly of the Commons took place virtually on May 11th, 2022 from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM CET. It had a double objective of discussing the work completed in the Special Interest Groups over the course of the previous year and electing the two representatives of the OPERAS community: Vanessa Proudman and Mark Huskisson.

You can find more information about the meeting, the vision and the representatives below.

Participants of the Assembly of the Commons (May 11, 2022)

Pierre Mounier, OPERAS’ coordinator, opened the Assembly of the Commons by giving a short overview of the meaning of the AoC and its place in the governance of OPERAS.

As a multi-stakeholder organization, OPERAS is governed through several assemblies that represent the diversity of stakeholders engaged in their development. The Executive Assembly (EA) gathers the core members of OPERAS. These are the organizations that are more committed than others to the development of the infrastructure, and they are responsible for (1) organizing their national communities, (2) leading the Special Interest Groups, and (3) taking the decisions related to OPERAS on a monthly basis. The General Assembly (GA) gathers the national authorities such as the ministries and research communities and the supporting members. It convenes once a year and approves the budget and global strategy of the infrastructure. The Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) advises us on scientific matters. The Coordination Team (OCT) manages the infrastructure on a daily basis.

The Assembly of the Commons (AoC) represents the community in its entirety and gathers all Ordinary Members. At the same time, the AoC is the addition of all the Special Interest Groups and their participants. We named the AoC as such in reference to the theory of Elinor Oström. According to her, goods are better governed collectively by a community than individually as private property. Those goods that are better governed as commons are some material goods such as forests, fisheries, and grazing lands, but also immaterial goods such as knowledge and its infrastructure. Therefore, we see the AoC as the assembly of all those people who take care of the tools, services, and platforms, and have the know-how that enables product sharing and knowledge dissemination.

After this highlight on the importance of the Commons for the infrastructure, the participants of the meeting had the opportunity to choose their delegates. The two candidates, Vanessa Proudman and Mark Huskisson, introduced themselves and engaged in a debate with the participants.

Vanessa Proudman is Director of SPARC Europe with 20 years of program management experience in facilitating access to knowledge in Europe and advocating for change to increase more equitable access to knowledge. 

Over the years her focus has been on Open Access, Open Science, Open Culture, and Open Education working with many leading universities and libraries worldwide. Research and knowledge exchange are her vehicles to inform, connect and advocate for change in these areas. Her focus has been to increase Open international, national and regional policy-making and practice in Higher Education in Europe. She has extensive experience in setting policy with a view to put this into action whilst connecting the specificities of policymaking with OS practitioners and vice versa to ensure effective OS implementation. Creating a more level-playing field in Europe to enable more equal opportunities to engage in Open Science and Open Education is also key to her work. By gaining an understanding of the needs of the research and OS support community through research activities and knowledge exchange, Vanessa Proudman will seek to ensure that an evidence-based approach is used to support the SSH community on its road to making open the default. 

Mark Huskisson is responsible for Business Development at the Public Knowledge Project (PKP), the developer and stewards of OJS, OMP, and OPS. PKP develops open-source software systems that manage the complete scholarly publishing workflow for journals, monographs, and preprints, and conducting scholarly communication research on questions of open access and open science.

Having worked in academic and scholarly publishing for thirty years, Mark Huskisson has developed and nurtured a collaborative and supportive network in commercial publishing houses, libraries, learned societies, and the rapidly growing scholarly communication technology ecosystem. Working at the nexus of the huge PKP community gives insight into the challenges and huge opportunities available to the open community if successful collaboration and sustainable pathways can be identified and secured. This new post offers a strategic benefit for learning and knowledge exchange between the OPERAS network and global OJS community.

During the debate, the candidates answered some questions from the community:

How do you see OPERAS in the open access landscape? (Pierre Mounier, OPERAS)

What is really unique about OPERAS is that it is a comprehensive and interconnected infrastructure community for the SSH, which does not exist in such a form for other subject domains. This is a great strength. OPERAS can and needs to inform the broader OA community and its decision-makers about the importance of the SSH domain so that we don’t dance to the tune of STEM and larger commercial publishers. There’s a lot of diversity and innovation in scholarly communications going on in this domain. And OPERAS can concretely demonstrate this to the whole community by presenting the work done by its various Special Interest Groups.

Vanessa Proudman

How do you see the European landscape? (Pierre Mounier, OPERAS)

There are a number of challenges across the continent and one is that there is not a single Europe in terms of access and ability to participate in academic publishing due to a number of barriers that the OPERAS Interest Groups are tackling. With large publishers dictating the narrative toward profit and focusing primarily on the wealthier, more powerful economies, the commercial STM sector has often defined models and development within the community despite the needs and demands – and often to the detriment – of SSH researchers and longform research outputs. So, to identify sustainable pathways in SSH across Europe, we need a more coordinated response to the OA challenge that is specific and tailored to research and publishing in the humanities and social sciences. And whilst there has been a huge development of open access and open science initiatives across the continent, they are often undertaken in national, regional, or commercial contexts. OPERAS offers a way to connect and coalesce the energy and drive of these initiatives, continually informed by the working groups (SIGs) to potential enormous effect.

Mark Huskisson

Regarding the multilingual dimensions of SSH, how might we defend and promote this dimension in OPERAS? (Olivier Bouin, RFIEA)

I have an international background and personally do not value any language over another. I believe that it is important to ensure that we share our knowledge in different languages particularly to embrace and respect the wide cultural and multilingual offering in Europe . In SPARC Europe, we created a tool that was translated into 16 languages by the community. Within OPERAS, perhaps we could create such multilingual resources, too.

Vanessa Proudman

What’s your vision about OA books in the global landscape? (Agata Morka, Sparc Europe)

I spent many years working with monographs in publishing and with leading libraries around the world and – as we transitioned from print to electronic media – the expereinces learned with Journals transitioning more easily and rapidly to digital influenced and determined the conversation around books. Even though the cases and contexts were not entirely analogous. And this has slowed the ability to foster and nurture a succesful and flourishing OA book ecosystem. One core challenge, which OPERAS members are solving and improving, is discovery and it is important for SSH in Europe and beyond that we share learning and solutions for the community and society as a whole. To bring a cohesive solution for different organizations that deal with OA books.

Mark Huskisson

The election counted with the participation of 23 organizations-member. Each organization voted once and anonymously. They could vote for both candidates, for one of them or for neither. With 83.33% and 54.17% of votes, respectively, Vanessa Proudman and Mark Huskisson became co-chairs of OPERAS’ Assembly of the Commons. Besides chairing the AoC during their 2-year mandate, the representatives shall also participate in the General Assembly once a year to represent the voice of the community. Otherwise, the General Assembly is composed of representatives of national councils and ministries of the European Countries and supporting members.

During the second part of the AoC, the leaders of the different Special Interest Groups presented the work done and some perspectives for the future.

  • Advocacy

Sona Arasteh (MWS), leader of this SIG, explained the meaning of advocacy, focusing on how it is a broader concept than lobbying. This SIG works as a kind of mediator, advocating for other SIGs. Currently, the group is advocating for the Tools and Platforms SIG.

  • Best Practices

The Best Practices SIG, led by Jadranka Stojanovski Zadar University), is currently working on a White Paper that will focus on the following topics: diamond journals, repositories altering scholarly publishing (preprints), research data in SSH, editorial and publishing policies, peer review, metadata quality, rights and licensing, research assessment, accessibility, and usability.

  • Common Standards and FAIR Principles

Iraklis Katsaloulisfocus (EKT), leader of this SIG along with Haris Georgiadis (EKT), explained that focusing on Common Standards & FAIR Principles is important as it offers a framework for collaboration, convergence, and integration towards enabling interoperability in SSH. Regarding future perspectives, this SIG intends to act as a bridge between the technical and procedural aspects of open science.

  • Multilingualism  

Delfim Leão (University of Coimbra), leader of the Multilingualism SIG, focused on some challenges regarding this topic: perceive multilingualism as a strong manifestation of bibliodiversity in SSH; avoid the risk of turning English, broadly used as a lingua franca, into lingua unica in terms of scientific and scholarly communication; enhance balanced multilingualism in innovative solutions. On the horizon, this SIG plans to achieve a full design and feasibility study to support the development of a translation service for OPERAS.

  • Open Access books Network

OABN is a new OPERAS SIG coordinated by Agata Morka (Sparc Europe), Lucy Barnes (Open Book Publishers), and Tom Mosterd (OAPEN/DOAB). The SIG advocates for open access book publishing, collates news, views, and developments specifically relevant to OA books, and connects a global community in the form of blogs, events, workshops, and other activities.

  • Open Access Business Models

 Graham Stones (Jisc) and Frank Manista (Jsic) lead this SIG that is currently working on focusing on collaborative models in OA book publishing. The previous White Paper (2021) presented an initial analysis and early observations of the study. The next step is to produce an in-depth analysis (a new version of the White Paper). Future questions to be explored include a better understanding of the publishers who do not take part in collaborative funding models and identifying the recommendations for OPERAS and other stakeholders.

  • Tools and Platforms

Formerly called Tools Research and Development, this SIG is coordinated by Céline Bartonat (CNRS) and Arnauld Gingold (CNRS). The SIG has focused on defining tools according to their functions, users, and nature. It deals with challenging issues such as a variety of functions and usage, the diversity of contexts and users, and its dynamic and chaotic environment.

Following this presentation, the participants joined breakout sessions for each of the Special Interest Groups.


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CoNOSC Member needs report published

SPARC Europe took on the facilitation of the Council for National Open Science Coordination (CoNOSC) late last year. To kick-start its efforts and plan the work ahead, it investigated the needs of CoNOSC members. We are pleased to publish this report today. 

The report investigates the needs of national policymakers, presenting key takeaways from interviews with CoNOSC members’ representatives – national OS coordinators, ministry officials, research funders and other policymaking decision-makers.

SPARC Europe conducted interviews with 30 representatives from 18 different European nations during January and February 2022, as well as with the Deputy Head of the Open Science Unit from the European Commission, which attends CoNOSC as an observer. The interviews were designed to identify what activities and areas would provide the most significant value through collaboration at CoNOSC without duplicating any current efforts. 

Based on responses, the report identifies the priority areas for CoNOSC as follows:

Data management
Policy monitoring
Research assessment
Copyright and licensing
Open Access funding
Bibliodiversity

 

Equity and diversity in Open Access. National and regional OA publishing platforms Webinar

This SPARC Europe’s webinar brought together voices from Croatia, France, Finland, the Netherlands, and Spain. Experts from these countries talked us through their initial influences and motivations for establishing national and regional platforms. They shared their perspectives on building and running national and regional OA publishing platforms and spoke about how they had evolved over time through presentations. A panel discussion touched upon challenges they had encountered and shared the lessons they had learned when joining forces and collaborating. They also talked about their future plans to increase collaboration be this locally or internationally. This webinar focused on the following topics: 1. What community-governed, publicly-funded not-for-profit national and regional OA publishing platforms are already set up in Europe 2. Which opportunities and challenges come with setting up a national or regional OA platform and collaborating with smaller publishers 3. What the best practices for national and regional OA platforms are, as seen by experienced experts in the field

See the slide deck here: https://zenodo.org/record/5776490

Open Education in European Libraries of Higher Education (2021 report). | Zenodo

“This report summarises the results of a survey of European libraries on Open Education (OE) and Open Education Resources (OER) prepared by SPARC Europe. It was done in consultation with the European Network of Open Education Librarians (ENOEL). 

Launched in May 2021, the survey, which targeted academic librarians across Europe, garnered over 230 responses from 28 countries. This report is the 2021 version of the 2020 report under the same title, which was the first of its kind. The 2021 report is framed by the UNESCO Recommendation on OER.

The survey questionnaire can be found here: https://zenodo.org/record/4892450

The survey dataset can be found here: https://zenodo.org/record/5734988 …”

SPARC Europe’s Report on Open Education in European Libraries of Higher Education

SPARC Europe has just released a long-awaited report Open Education in European Libraries of Higher Education. This report is the 2021 version of the 2020 report under the same title, which was the first of its kind. The 2021 report is framed by the UNESCO Recommendation on OER.

The report, authored by Gema Santos-Hermosa, Vanessa Proudman and Paola Corti is a result of research conducted earlier this year. The authors analyzed responses to a survey of European libraries of Higher Education on Open Education (OE) and Open Educational Resources (OER). The survey focused particularly on the work being carried out by academic libraries in Europe to implement the UNESCO Recommendation on OER. It saw over 230 responses from 28 European countries.

Equity and diversity in Open Access. National and regional OA publishing platforms. Dec 02, 2021 @ 3pm (CET) | SPARC Europe

When? Thursday, 2 December 2021, 3-4.30PM CET

Where? Please register here.

For whom? This webinar is open to all, including RFOs and other funders, RPO, including universities and other academic institutions, societies, infrastructure providers, OA advocates, and researchers.

It is crucial that we help community-led Open Access (OA) Diamond publishing to flourish in the coming years, also since diversity, inclusivity and equity are at the heart of this publishing model. This webinar will raise awareness of some of the community-governed, publicly-funded not-for-profit national and regional OA publishing platforms. 

In recent years we have seen a growing number of national OA publishing platforms being set up across Europe. Some countries are centralising OA publishing efforts, from well-established projects like Croatian HRCAK and the Finnish Journal.fi to newcomers like Openjournals.nl in the Netherlands. This session brings together voices from Croatia, France, Finland, the Netherlands, and Spain. Experts from these countries will talk us through their initial influences and motivations for establishing national and regional platforms. They will share their perspectives on building and running national and regional OA publishing platforms and speak to how they have evolved over time through presentations.

A panel discussion will touch upon challenges they have encountered and share the lessons they have learned when joining forces and collaborating. We will also ask them about their future plans to increase collaboration be this locally or internationally. There will be a good time for questions from the audience during a Q&A session.

SPARC Europe to facilitate high-level European OS policymaker group CoNOSC – SPARC Europe

“SPARC Europe is honoured to support the Council for National Open Science Coordination (CoNOSC) in their efforts to advance national European Open Science policies. The CoNOSC mission is to help countries create, update and cooordinate their national open science policies by sharing valuable insights from the network.

SPARC Europe will work with the CoNOSC group at least until the end of 2022. We will investigate the needs of today’s national Open Science (OS) policymakers and organise strategic OS policy meetings with high-level national OS Co-ordinators and ministry representatives to determine priorities for the coming year. We will facilitate discussion around important OS policy topics and showcase policy developments and outcomes to help resolve common challenges and stimulate synergies. We will also help build and expand the CoNOSC network….”

Jisc has joined Sparc Europe – Jisc scholarly communications

“Earlier this year, Jisc became a member of Sparc Europe, which may come as a bit of a surprise since Jisc and Sparc Europe have collaborated on various things over the years, such as the Research Data competition with the University of Cambridge, and Jisc provided founding support for the organisation back in 2003, along with Research Libraries UK (RLUK) and SURF in the Netherlands. Jisc is also a supporter of The Global Sustainability Coalition for Open Science Services (SCOSS), and Sherpa Romeo, the Jisc service which aggregates and analyses publisher open access policies, is a direct beneficiary of the crowd sourcing initiative.

Part of the reason Jisc joined now, arguably, is precisely because of those engagements, as well as that during COVID, many organisations like Jisc, continue to see the value of promoting open access and open research as much as we can. Sparc Europe was one of the main contributors to the recently published Diamond OA Study, which included an in-depth report and associated recommendations arising from a study of open access journals across the world that are free for readers and authors; the other major contributor to that study was OPERAS, which stands for “open scholarly communication in the European Research Area for Social Sciences and Humanities”, of which Jisc is also a member. Jisc is also active in LIBER, the Association of European Research Libraries; even though we’re not members of Liber, there is much overlap in how both entities support libraries, and Sparc Europe again is actively engaged in that space. Jisc also has a representative who sits on the board of Sparc Europe. Therefore, it increasingly became obvious that both Sparc Europe and Jisc were working so closely together that it made perfect sense to be even more closely connected….”

Open Education in European Libraries of Higher Education Survey 2021

“This survey was developed in consultation with members of the European Network of Open Education Librarians (ENOEL). Whilst some Higher Education libraries have taken on the OE challenge, others are still to do so. The aim of this survey is to explore and collect information about the work done by academic librarians to implement the UNESCO OER Recommendation, published in Nov 2019. The survey is designed around the five areas of action of the Recommendation.

We plan to use the collected data to organize our activities going forward to provide you with Open Education support in the future….”

International and national copyright policy action for OA – SPARC Europe

“A joint webinar between SPARC Europe and EIFL

Target audience
Open Science policymakers, Research Funding Organizations and Research Performing Organizations managers, librarians, repository managers and academic institutional copyright experts.
We will organise a separate event for publishers….”