ACRL/SPARC Forum: Collective Reinvestment in Open Infrastructure (ACRL)

Libraries are increasingly considering scaling back their subscriptions or cancelling big deals altogether. Yet, the question of how and where to reinvest the resources that become available is both far from settled and increasingly pressing. As we start to move away from the subscription model, we should be intentional about crafting the vision for open research communication we strive to build and how we intend to build it. 

This forum, “If I Had A Million Dollars: Collective Reinvestment in Open Infrastructure,” will invite active participation throughout the session in a facilitated discussion with experts representing both libraries and research funders. …”

Theme of 2019 International Open Access Week To Be “Open for Whom? Equity in Open Knowledge” – Open Access Week

The 2019 Open Access Week Advisory Committee is pleased to announce that the theme for the 2019 International Open Access Week, to be held October 21-27, will be “Open for Whom? Equity in Open Knowledge”.

As the transition to a system for sharing knowledge that is open by default accelerates, the question “open for whom?” is essential—both to consider and to act upon. Whose interests are being prioritized in the actions we take and in the platforms that we support? Whose voices are excluded? Are underrepresented groups included as full partners from the beginning? Are we supporting not only open access but also equitable participation in research communication? These questions will determine the extent to which emerging open systems for research will address inequities in the current system or replicate and reinforce them.

This year’s theme will build on the groundwork laid last year when discussions focused on “Designing Equitable Foundations for Open Knowledge.” The 2018 theme highlighted the importance of making a central commitment to equity as we transition toward new systems for sharing knowledge, and the past twelve months have only seen the pace of that transition increase. Because of this, the Open Access Week Advisory Committee decided it was important to focus on equity again in 2019—to deepen our conversations about being inclusive by design and to turn those conversations into action.

 

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The Forest of the SPARC Landscape

The recent “Landscape Analysis” from SPARC, released at the end of March, walks readers through a sober-sided evaluation of the market, with an emphasis on the major publishers — Elsevier, Wiley, and Springer Nature on the journals side, with Pearson and McGraw-Hill (and Cengage, now part of McGraw-Hill) on the education side.

There are some interesting analyses in the document, and some surprising figures to be sure (for example, Elsevier makes less money per article than either Springer Nature or Wiley). There are tables showing the asymmetry of usage (~5-7% of journals account for ~50% or more usage in multiple fields), but drawing what I consider to be unforgiving conclusion (I don’t agree that low usage equates to low value — a lot of good science and scholarship comes out of small disciplines, new ways of thinking, or emerging fields). The authors confirm in passing my finding that subscriptions only cost academic institutions 0.5% of their budgets. There are arguments about productivity gains, and some contradictory and incomplete data. But overall, the analysis seems solid at the detailed level, missing the mark only a few times here and there.

What’s truly interesting about the analysis is the forest it describes — the big picture it asserts — which is alive with customer knowledge and Big Data assumptions. The authors examine how Elsevier and other companies are now pivoting away from content and into the surveillance economy.

The implications of this are examined in the analysis through a narrow premise — that academic institutions can and should guide the data acquisition and analysis practices of private firms using information products as ways to ignite data exhaust they can use to sell information and projections about academic practices, research areas, and individuals back to institutions.

What the analysis describes is a fascinating — and totally expected — pivot, one we’ve seen developing for quite some time. The SPARC analysis puts a pin in it, and states it quite explicitly.

But exploring the forest is where the analysis falls down, failing multiple times to answer questions its own premise begs — for instance, it asserts data acquisition and analysis should be guided by academic culture, without testing whether there is actually something we can identify as “academic culture” against which proper data utilization practices can be judged….”

Redalyc celebra el surgimiento de Invest in Open Infrastructure

Throughout 16 years of experience, Redalyc has promoted, from permanent technological development and accompaniment to editors, a collaborative, sustainable and non-commercial scientific communication for the benefit of the Latin American scientific communities, mainly of the Social Sciences and the Humanities.

In the pursuit of this goal, Redalyc celebrates the emergence of Invest in Open Infrastructure (IOI), an initiative that has brought together various institutions (including OPERAS, SPARC, Center for Open Science and recently Redalyc), meeting with the goal of building a Open, scalable and durable scientific infrastructure that seeks to extend its benefits on a global scale.

Redalyc is pleased to be part of this initiative and thus consolidates its objective of building a collaborative, sustainable and non-commercial Open Access ecosystem for Latin America….”

Investing in Open Scholarly Infrastructure: a Community Opportunity – SPARC

As an organization committed to making “open” the default in research and education, we at SPARC recognize that scholarship is at its best when communities of researchers and scholars are fully empowered to share, discover, and collaborate. Currently, however, the reality is that the needs of the community are not being well-served by the existing scholarly communication infrastructure, which is dominated by vendors whose missions and values often run counter to those of the community. When the business models of these vendors favor lock-in, consolidation, and monopoly, the result is a market where opportunity for healthy competition is limited, and opportunities for sharing are limited. Our SPARC Landscape Analysis catalogs these challenges and the threat they pose to our institutions.

There’s been an admirable effort by many in the community to address this issue, stepping up and building high-quality open tools and services.  While many of these promising open infrastructure projects have successfully launched and are in wide use, the general trend is that they operate independently, and often struggle with securing ongoing operational funding to needed to allow then to evolve and thrive. There is a pressing need for a coordinated, global effort to provide collective support for developing and sustaining this important layer of open infrastructure that operates in a manner that is aligned with the values of the scholarly community it serves.

Today, SPARC is excited to help address these challenges by supporting the launch of a new effort, Invest in Open Infrastructure (IOI), designed to fill that need.  As a global initiative to increase the availability and sustainability of open knowledge infrastructure, IOI brings together initiatives building community-driven projects that enable a durable, scalable, and thriving open scientific and scholarly infrastructure serving the needs of global communities. SPARC is one of nineteen participating organizations launching IOI and will be represented on the group’s steering committee….”

Open Research Funders Group Applauds Launch of Invest In Open Infrastructure — Open Research Funders Group

The Open Research Funders Group (ORFG) is pleased to support the launch of Invest In Open Infrastructure (IOI), an initiative that aims to coordinate the creation and ongoing development of open source tools that facilitate open scholarship, research, and education . IOI is an effort to enable durable, scalable, and long lasting open scientific and scholarly infrastructure to emerge, thrive, and deliver its benefits on a global scale. The ORFG is fully supportive of the IOI’s long-term mission to create a shared, open, and interoperable infrastructure for enabling 21st-century scholarly communications. We look forward to working with IOI to develop a framework to track relevant activities, facilitate coordination across projects, and identify areas for wise strategic investment. …”

Announcing Invest in Open Infrastructure – Hypothesis

Today, together with a set of global partnersHypothesis is proud to announce the formation of Invest in Open Infrastructure (IOI) — a new initiative to dramatically increase the amount of funding available to open scholarly infrastructure….

Projects like Hypothesis are extremely difficult to begin, grow and sustain over time. We were fortunate to have had early believers on Kickstarter, and then stalwart supporters in over the last 8 years in foundations like Sloan, Mellon, Shuttleworth, Knight, Helmsley and Omidyar. However, this foundation support is still insufficient to the longer term, larger funding required to bridge to a sustainable future for most open projects, including ours. Foundations tend to support early projects, but that support usually falls off with time. The kind of mezzanine funding that a for-profit technology might find from venture groups in later stages is simply not available within the ecosystem of non-profit, open source projects.

The core problem is that the true consumers of scholarly infrastructure — namely the researchers, scholars and their institutions and agencies which form the gross majority of users — have the means to sustain it, but lack the structure to do so. The libraries know of a few platforms that they need and provide direct support, but there are hundreds of other projects for which there is no visibility at the institutional level, because they’re still early, or because researchers rather than institutions themselves depend on them directly. Projects like Hypothesis, like any technology infrastructure trying to scale over years to maturity, need ongoing funding until sustainability can be achieved.

 

What is needed is a coordinating system which can identify, track and assess open infrastructure across diverse categories and constituencies and make recommendations to funders who can pool their resources to sustain it. This coordinating system is exactly the idea behind IOI….”

AmeliCA celebra el surgimiento de Invest in Open Infrastructure – AmeliCA

From Google’s English: “AmeliCA celebrates the emergence of Invest in Open Infrastructure (IOI) and is pleased to be part of this initiative for the benefit of an open, scalable and durable scientific infrastructure that seeks to extend its benefits on a global scale.

AmeliCA, whose principles revolve around the construction of a digital scientific communication system that provides universal access to scientific knowledge and is governed by responsible scientific evaluation systems, has worked for the visibility of science generated in the Global South, offering technology and advice to editorial teams. IOI and AmeliCA share the objective of achieving an Open Access academic publication infrastructure at the service of society….”

The Future of Open Scholarly Infrastructure

Code for Science & Society is proud to participate in Invest In Open Infrastructure (IOI), a global initiative to increase the availability and sustainability of open knowledge infrastructure.

We believe that for the future of global scholarship, the scholarly process must be locked open. What does this mean? Committing to placing collaboration over competition in the ecosystem of open tools and projects. Prioritizing the development and maintenance of community-centered, open source products for scholarship. Questioning our prior assumptions about meaningful inclusion and data sovereignty….”

Invest in Open Infrastructure Launches

Tuesday 14 May 2018 saw the formation of Invest In Open Infrastructure (IOI) a global initiative to increase the availability and sustainability of open knowledge infrastructure. The needs of today’s diverse scholarly communities are not being met by the existing largely uncoordinated scholarly infrastructure, which is dominated by vendor products that take ownership of the scholarly process and data without appropriate governance and oversight from the communities they serve.

 We imagine a world in which communities of researchers, scholars, and knowledge workers across the globe are fully enabled to share, discover, and collaborate using tools and platforms that are designed to interoperate and complement one another rather than compete and exclude.

IOI will consist of two functions, one is an assessment and recommendation framework that will regularly survey the landscape of open scholarly infrastructure with respect to its functionality, usage, health and financial needs and make funding recommendations for that infrastructure.

IOI’s second function will coordinate funds to follow the recommendations of the framework. Coordinating financial resources from institutions, agencies and foundations, we will work to increase the overall funding available to emerging and critical infrastructure….”