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. …”

Invest in Open Infrastructure: An Interview with Dan Whaley – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Dan Whaley from the Invest in Open initiative answers questions about what IOI is doing, and sets a broad context for the global effort….

Open infrastructure is the solution to all this.  For me, open infrastructure is simply shorthand for technology in which the incentives to collaborate and work together are built in by design. That includes elements like open source software, open APIs, open data and open standards, but more fundamentally it’s a mindset in which your reward — either personal or organizational — comes from working together as a community for the benefit of all.  

As someone who is product focused, a question I always try to ask is what is the best user experience, regardless of who owns which piece? Does what we’re implementing actually make it easier for people to accomplish their goals? Closed systems often make decisions simply for the sake of preventing or restricting access that create terrible experiences and result in lower utility. Open systems do this too sometimes, but at least the inherent motivations are more likely to be aligned….”

Journals only half the story, says new open access alliance | Times Higher Education (THE)

Open access advocates are calling for a globally coordinated approach to “scholarly infrastructure”, saying knowledge is trapped behind paywalls and Europe’s Plan S initiative solves only part of the problem.

Lobby groups around the world have teamed up to run a stocktake of existing infrastructure and to direct spending on future needs, under the guise of a new alliance called Invest in Open Infrastructure (IOI).

Co-founder Ginny Barbour said IOI was a “separate but necessary” initiative to Plan S, which is focused on making journal articles openly accessible. “Journals are largely owned by a relatively small number of for-profit publishers, and the same is happening for infrastructure,” said Dr Barbour, director of the Australasian Open Access Strategy Group….”

Standardisation and difference: the challenges of infrastructures for open access – Samuel Moore

“In the last few years, there has been a marked shift in the debate on open access publishing from a focus on (mere) outputs to one on infrastructures. With terms such as ‘community-led’, ‘the commons’ and ‘governance’ regularly bandied about, advocates for OA are increasingly looking away from commercial publishers and towards infrastructures designed by and for a more accountable set of stakeholders. One exciting new initiative that launched this week is Invest in Open Infrastructures(IOI), a coalition of individuals and organisations looking to sustain and promote open-source alternatives to proprietary infrastructures. IOI describes itself as a ‘global initiative to increase the availability and sustainability of open knowledge infrastructure’….

Any infrastructural design has to find the right balance between the need for standardisation and a diversity of interactions.

Infrastructures, particularly those that are broad in their application, have a homogenising tendency that may flatten out difference, erase local contexts and promote standardisation of interactions. This is because they are designed for an ‘average’ user and can only realistically account for a finite number of possibilities. Take journal submission systems, for example, which are only able to handle a certain number of submission types, file sizes, image formats, etc. and can never do everything a user wants it to do. (I spent the first two years of my publishing career explaining this to authors, editors and reviewers.) The broader the remit of the infrastructure, and the more users it is designed to support, the more homogeneous the interactions will be….

Too often, advocates for open publishing infrastructures point towards the need for stakeholders to put aside their differences and collaborate on those issues where there is common ground. This sounds ideal in practice, but in reality, the drive for consensus benefits those with the most power (and financial/cultural capital)….”

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….”