EOSC activities update and UK engagement – Research

“The European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) is a European Commission (EC) initiative to support the development of open science and the digital transformation of research in Europe and further afield. Now in its implementation phase, it aims to develop a “web” of FAIR data and services, providing a multi-disciplinary environment where researchers can publish, find and re-use data, tools and services. The EOSC is complementary to UK efforts to define and adopt open science policies and practices, and the UK contributes to development of the EOSC through participation in implementation projects and in the EOSC Association, a legal entity established to govern the European Open Science Cloud.

As part of its Tech 2 Tech series, Jisc held an EOSC webinar in March 2021 which helped to confirm strong interest in the EOSC across the UK research community. Another Jisc webinar about EOSC will be held on 15 December. This blog provides an update on the numerous activities which have been taking place as part of the ongoing development of the EOSC, and UK engagement with them….

What is the relationship between legal form, governance, and ethics? | Martin Paul Eve | Professor of Literature, Technology and Publishing

“In the world of OA publishing, there have been further (not-so)shock waves reverberating this week as Knowledge Unlatched was sold to Wiley. One of the questions this raises is: how was it possible for this sale to go through and what could have been done to prevent it?

One of the first points to raise, and one that I have already made on Twitter, is that Knowledge Unlatched had to take a corporate form that protected its founder’s investment. Now, whether it’s what I would have done is a different matter, but it nonetheless takes a lot of guts to stake a huge amount (or, even, all) of your personal pension on an idea, which is what Frances Pinter did. But if you need the money back, you have to be able to sell the asset. So the fact that KU didn’t attract the not-for-profit investment affected the choice of corporate form.

What does being a charity or community interest company actually mean, though? It means, first, that your organization has an eleemosynary purpose. That is, it must be operated for the public benefit. Education, for instance, is a charitable object. It doesn’t even, in UK law, though, have to be education for everyone (the general public). Private schools can be (and often are) charities, despite only providing education to the subset of the “general public” who pay them. Hence, academic publishing can be a charitable purpose, even if it’s not openly accessible.

Second, it means that your organization is subject to certain types of financial control, but also benefit. In the UK, charities that raise money in fulfillment of their charitable purposes are not subject to corporation tax (though they are subject to VAT, under specific circumstances, and also to other taxes). They can also be converted only to organizations that share commensurate charitable objects. OLH, for instance, can merge with Birkbeck, University of London, because they share the charitable purposes of education for the public benefit.

Third, it also means that you will probably struggle for money. Charities are not allowed just to rake in tonnes and tonnes of surplus without question. They have to operate somewhat prudently. They also don’t have the mega-bucks of the big for-profit players, which means that they can usually be out-competed by these entities, which could, to be frank, starve the not-for-profits out, Uber-style, if they wanted.”

Collective Governance: an Update from The Open Book Collective Work Package · COPIM

“How should a collective be governed? This was the question that punctum books’ Director Eileen Joy and I took the lead in addressing, in collaboration with our COPIM colleagues and a range of workshop participants. The terms of the question seem almost contradictory: a ‘collective’ implies equity, collegiality, co-operation and a lack of organized hierarchy, whilst ‘governed’ suggests top-down management structures, or the imposition of rules and regulations by a select group over a larger majority. Obviously, the latter model would not be in line with the values of a project we are calling the Open Book Collective – i.e., a consortium that brings together publishers, librarians and other stakeholders in the future of open access monographs via a platform that catalogues, distributes and sustains OA books – yet at the same time, we needed to find a way that the different groups of stakeholders could be effectively organized to work together and get the most out of the platform in a mutually beneficial arrangement. For the purposes of the platform we are building, that means publishers, librarians, scholars, researchers, universities, infrastructure providers, authors, readers and more. The platform needs to respond to a wide range of interests, needs and requirements, even if all of us were committed to the overarching values of sustainable Open Access publishing for monographs….”

Collective Governance: an Update from The Open Book Collective Work Package · COPIM

How should a collective be governed? This was the question that punctum books’ Director Eileen Joy and I took the lead in addressing, in collaboration with our COPIM colleagues and a range of workshop participants. The terms of the question seem almost contradictory: a ‘collective’ implies equity, collegiality, co-operation and a lack of organized hierarchy, whilst ‘governed’ suggests top-down management structures, or the imposition of rules and regulations by a select group over a larger majority. Obviously, the latter model would not be in line with the values of a project we are calling the Open Book Collective – i.e., a consortium that brings together publishers, librarians and other stakeholders in the future of open access monographs via a platform that catalogues, distributes and sustains OA books – yet at the same time, we needed to find a way that the different groups of stakeholders could be effectively organized to work together and get the most out of the platform in a mutually beneficial arrangement. For the purposes of the platform we are building, that means publishers, librarians, scholars, researchers, universities, infrastructure providers, authors, readers and more. The platform needs to respond to a wide range of interests, needs and requirements, even if all of us were committed to the overarching values of sustainable Open Access publishing for monographs.

Council agrees on a negotiating mandate on the Data Governance Act

“Both the EP and Council texts contain amendments concerning the role of Open Access Common resources. In response to the initial DGA consultation, we submitted feedback to the Commission where we highlighted the fundamental role played by these resources in the overall data ecosystem. To safeguard this key function, it is important that Open Access Commons resources are not negatively affected by the DGA.

The Parliament’s text contains an addition in recital 37a stipulating that the provisions established by the DGA are without prejudice to the ability of non-profit organizations to make data and content available to the public under open licenses. This amendment would clearly signal that Open Access Common resources fall outside the scope of the DGA. As such, it would recognize their key role in today’s digital ecosystem.

The Council text includes a new definition of data intermediaries stipulating that only for-profit services fall into this category. If included in the final compromise, this addition would ensure that existing Open Access Resources, like Wikipedia or Europeana – which are generally recognized as not-for-profit – are not subject to the requirements that the DGA will impose on intermediaries.

Taken together, these two modifications would ensure that Open Access Commons resources are not subject to additional requirements that could endanger their modus operandi. To safeguard their position in the DGA and increase legal clarity, both Council’s and Parliament’s contributions therefore need to be included in the final text….”

Data governance: Enhancing access to and sharing of data – OECD

“Access to and sharing of data are increasingly critical for fostering data-driven scientific discovery and innovations across the private and public sectors globally and will play a role in solving societal challenges, including fighting COVID-19 and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). But restrictions to data access, sometimes compounded by a reluctance to share, and a growing awareness of the risks that come with data access and sharing, means economies and societies are not harnessing the full potential of data.

Adopted in October 2021, the OECD Recommendation on Enhancing Access to and Sharing of Data (EASD) is the first internationally agreed upon set of principles and policy guidance on how governments can maximise the cross-sectoral benefits of all types of data – personal, non-personal, open, proprietary, public and private – while protecting the rights of individuals and organisations.

The Recommendation intends to help governments develop coherent data governance policies and frameworks to unlock the potential benefits of data across and within sectors, countries, organisations, and communities. It aims to reinforce trust across the data ecosystem, stimulate investment in data and incentivise data access and sharing, and foster effective and responsible data access, sharing and use across sectors and jurisdictions.

The Recommendation is a key deliverable of phase 3 of the OECD’s Going Digital project, focused on data governance for frowth and well-being. It was developed by three OECD Committees (Digital Economy Policy, Scientific and Technological Policy, and Public Governance) and acts as a common reference for existing and new OECD legal instruments related to data in areas such as research, health and digital government. It will provide a foundation stone for ongoing OECD work to help countries unlock the potential of data in the digital era.”

Bibliography – Workshop on Governing Knowledge Commons

“This page contains links to bibliographies of relevant published research in the area of knowledge commons and related fields. The bibliographies include both case studies of knowledge commons and theoretical and conceptual research.

The initial public versions of the bibliographies are being shared as of September 2021. They will be updated from time to time.

Each bibliography is organized via Zotero, an open source reference management tool, for each of use, including exporting. To access and use the bibliographies, visitors will need to create an account at Zotero. Zotero accounts are free….”

The future relationship between university and publisher | Samuel Moore

As rumours circulate about the forthcoming UKRI open access policy announcement, fierce lobbying is underway by publishers worried that the policy may undermine their business models. Elsevier has even taken the step of directly emailing their UK-based academic editors to criticise the rumoured policy and encourage academics to relay the publisher’s views to UKRI. While these disagreements may not seem particularly new to anyone familiar with the open access movement, it also feels like things are coming to a head between academic publishers and the university sector. Ultimately, as I’ll argue here, universities need to take a view on what their future relationship with publishing should be.

In some respects, the debate over open access has always been about the antagonism between universities and publishers. Although access to research is an important and defining feature of these debates, the spectre of publishing profit margins and extractive business models loomed large from the beginning. There is no getting around the fact that publishers rely on labour and content they get for free. Instead, the editorial work of publishing is remunerated by universities as part of academic salaries, which of course does not fall evenly on individual academics (many of whom precarious, overworked and/or not employed by a university). Nevertheless, the university sector funds much of what the publishing industry relies upon for its operations and expects something in return.

To the extent that it has been marketised, the publishing industry is viewed as standing outside the university and not controlled by it. This is despite the fact that academics (for the most part) maintain editorial control of the publications they edit and peer review. Having talked to numerous editors of commercial journals, there is a very real sense that their publishers are service providers rather than part of the scholarly community. They might not provide the level of service that many editors expect, but they are service providers all the same. As scholarly communication has been ceded entirely to this market of service providers, universities have lost economic and material control of the publications they rely on (which also impacts on editorial control in various ways). This is all the more apparent given the dual functions the industry serves of both knowledge dissemination and researcher evaluation. Universities have outsourced both of these crucial functions to a separate, external industry.

[…]

Report on the OPERAS-P Workshop “The Future of Scholarly Communication”

The Future of Scholarly Communication

“The Future of Scholarly Communication” workshop was organised as a part of OPERAS Innovation Lab, which aims to facilitate communication and knowledge exchange within a field of digital humanities. The OPERAS Innovation Lab is led by IBL PAN, a partner in the OPERAS-P consortium and Executive Assembly member.

The main task of OPERAS Innovation Lab is to conduct user research in order to define the actual needs of the community with regards to open scholarly communication. Another important task is also analysing the existing innovative solutions in this field. These activities allow to improve, prepare – and sometimes prototype – services that respond to the needs of the community. 

The activities of the OPERAS Innovation Lab officially started within the WP6 “Innovation” in the OPERAS-P project. See the main findings and recommendations for stakeholders involved in scholarly communication in the final report “Future of Scholarly Communication. Forging an inclusive and innovative research infrastructure for scholarly communication in Social Sciences and Humanities” (DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.4922512) and in detailed task reports openly published on Zenodo

To further discuss and develop the future of scholarly communication, the OPERAS-P virtual workshop, “The Future of Scholarly Communication,” was held on February 24th–26th. During the three days of seminars, 341 participants discussed digital transformation challenges in humanities and social sciences (SSH).

The seminars were linked to a question: How can we effectively develop digital tools in order to apply novel research approaches, build interdisciplinary collaboration, raise the prestige of Open Access contributions and disseminate them outside academia? 

On each day two seminars were held. The two workshops on the first day were devoted to governance and business models. The panelists and participants discussed how new models of governance should embrace cultural and language diversity of research teams in SSH. They brought up the issue of institutional hierarchy within academia as opposed to more horizontal models specific for projects in digital humanities. The second panel concerned business models and publishing practices for academic books and monographs – an underdeveloped area of Open Access. 

On the second day, participants delved into bibliodiversity and multilingualism in SSH. In SSH disciplines, language is not only a tool but also an object of research. Using native languages is often crucial for these disciplines to achieve meaningful impact in local communities. Panelists debated  how digital tools should address this need and facilitate multilingual research and collaboration. The next panel was dedicated to processing academic publications as research data according to the FAIR principles (making them findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable). 

On the last day, panelists discussed the future of scholarly writing: publishing practices and scholars’ needs in the time of Open Access development. The starting point was a case study analysis of tools, services and digital projects enriched with interviews with researchers, librarians and publishers. The last panel was devoted to evaluation and assessment of academic writing. Its purpose was to exchange ideas for new models of evaluation that will take into account various types of academic achievements, such as monographs or digital editions and projects. 

“The Future of Scholarly Communication” workshop was organised as a part of OPERAS Innovation Lab, which aims to facilitate communication and knowledge exchange within a field of digital humanities. The OPERAS Innovation Lab is led by IBL PAN, a partner in the OPERAS Consortium.

You may find presentations from the seminars published here and the results were summed up in the report.


A short overview on the OPERAS Innovation Lab is given in this video presentation:

Maciej Maryl, Director, Digital Humanities Centre, IBL PAN” and Marta Blaszczynska, Coordinator, Digital Humanities Centre, IBL PAN” present the OPERAS Innovation Lab coordinated by the Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IBL PAN)! #OPERASLab


Funding OPERAS-P

Living Our Values and Principles: Annotated Bibliography | Educopia Institute

Community-based values and principles sit at the core of the Next Generation Library Publishing (NGLP) project, and members of our team have done extensive work over the past year researching and synthesizing the values and principles identified by individuals, organizations, and coalitions throughout the open knowledge community. In the course of developing the project and creating resources such as the draft Values and Principles Framework & Assessment Checklist and Living Our Values and Principles: Exploring Assessment Strategies for the Scholarly Communication Field, we found and reviewed dozens of values and principles statements, manifestos, articles, and book chapters spanning the worlds of scholarly communications, open data, open science, and open source software. 

In addition to informing our work on the project, we think the annotated bibliography that we’ve built along the way might be of use to others on similar journeys. To enable others to dig deeply into the articles and values statements contained within this annotated bibliography now and in the future, we are releasing it now as a formal publication. We will continue to add to this resource through the end of the NGLP project in August, 2022. If you find an article or values statement that you think would benefit this project, please reach out to Brandon Locke (brandon@educopia.org) to suggest its inclusion.

OPERAS report “Future of Scholarly Communication. Forging an inclusive and innovative research infrastructure for scholarly communication in Social Sciences and Humanities” | Zenodo

Avanço, Karla, Balula, Ana, B?aszczy?ska, Marta, Buchner, Anna, Caliman, Lorena, Clivaz, Claire, … Wieneke, Lars. (2021, June 29). Future of Scholarly Communication . Forging an inclusive and innovative research infrastructure for scholarly communication in Social Sciences and Humanities. Zenodo. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.5017705

 

This report discusses the scholarly communication issues in Social Sciences and Humanities that are relevant to the future development and functioning of OPERAS. The outcomes collected here can be divided into two groups of innovations regarding 1) the operation of OPERAS, and 2) its activities. The “operational” issues include the ways in which an innovative research infrastructure should be governed (Chapter 1) as well as the business models for open access publications in Social Sciences and Humanities (Chapter 2). The other group of issues is dedicated to strategic areas where OPERAS and its services may play an instrumental role in providing, enabling, or unlocking innovation: FAIR data (Chapter 3), bibliodiversity and multilingualism in scholarly communication (Chapter 4), the future of scholarly writing (Chapter 5), and quality assessment (Chapter 6). Each chapter provides an overview of the main findings and challenges with emphasis on recommendations for OPERAS and other stakeholders like e-infrastructures, publishers, SSH researchers, research performing organisations, policy makers, and funders. Links to data and further publications stemming from work concerning particular tasks are located at the end of each chapter.

Crossref’s Board votes to adopt the Principles of Open Scholarly Infrastructure | Crossref Blog

TL;DR

On November 11th 2020, the Crossref Board voted to adopt the “Principles of Open Scholarly Infrastructure” (POSI). POSI is a list of sixteen commitments that will now guide the board, staff, and Crossref’s development as an organisation into the future. It is an important public statement to make in Crossref’s twentieth anniversary year. Crossref has followed principles since its founding, and meets most of the POSI, but publicly committing to a codified and measurable set of principles is a big step. If 2019 was a reflective turning point, and mid-2020 was about Crossref committing to open scholarly infrastructure and collaboration, this is now announcing a very deliberate path. And we’re just a little bit giddy about it.

New SPARC Europe report out: Scoping the Open Science Infrastructure Landscape in Europe – SPARC Europe

“Service providers could benefit from:

 

Sharing lessons learnt. This might involve developing communities of practice and guidance; pooling resources and working with initiatives such as Invest in Open Infrastructure (IOI) and JROST. 
Following good governance practices. This allows the community to trust that the infrastructure or service will be steered by the needs of the community and stay true to the values of research.
Going open source and adopting open standards.  “Despite a strong uptake of open source and open standards by many, challenges remain for some in sharing good governance, open content and applying open standards,” wrote the authors.
Diversifying fund-raising efforts, upskilling to embrace a range of business revenue models. This allows the organisation to spread financial risk….”

COPIM Community Governance Workshop Recap: Part 1 · COPIM

“On May 1, 2020, the COPIM project hosted a half-day workshop focused on community governance. COPIM intends to set up an open, community-led governance system for its infrastructures and processes, a structure that we want to develop together with the community of stakeholders that will be involved in the project more broadly, such as academics, publishers, librarians, researchers, and knowledge managers. This community workshop brought together governance experts, key stakeholders in OA book publishing, and representatives from allied large community-led projects, to collaboratively explore what the governance procedures of COPIM’s open publication ecosystem for monographs should look like and to begin thinking about developing models to sustain the governance of the infrastructure as a community-based OA service organization….”