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Design for Open access Publications in European Research Areas for Social Sciences and Humanities

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - OPERAS-D (Design for Open access Publications in European Research Areas for Social Sciences and Humanities)

Période du rapport: 2017-01-01 au 2018-06-30

OPERAS aims to establish a distributed e-infrastructure for open access publishing in the Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) across Europe. The principal goal of the OPERAS initiative/network is to coordinate university-led publishing activities in Europe in the SSH with a view to enable Open Science as the standard practice, with particular reference to publishing research. OPERAS will coordinate services, practices and technology between the main actors in the SSH scholarly communications in Europe in order: to provide joint services; to improve the accessibility and dissemination of publications in the SSH through a single access point; to coordinate activities of strategic actors and stakeholders (research institutions, libraries, platforms, publishers, funders) in their transition to open science, and in particular open access publishing; to develop common good practice standards for digital open access publishing, infrastructures, services, editorial qualities, business models and funding streams, and explore alternative measurements of impact in the SSH; offer sustained training, embodying common standards, to researchers on all of the above. Publishing in the SSH has always taken place primarily outside the corporate publisher environment and OPERAS will provide the opportunity to unite the fragmentary university-led publishing ecosystem in the SSH in Europe to the benefit of research and society. The OPERAS e-infrastructure initiative, for which the proposed project OPERAS-D lays the groundwork, is complementary to the activities for open access through repositories funded by the member states and the European Commission, and will become embedded in these initiatives and in the European Open Science Cloud. The ultimate effect of this will be to boost the visibility of publishing in the social sciences and the humanities, to improve the capacity of service providers in terms of high quality services to shared standards, and to help the research institutions and researchers move to practices aligned to the Open Science paradigm.

Why is it important for society?
Research in humanities and social sciences have a direct impact on society : they help understand major social issues and find solutions to overcome them. Publications in those disciplines can benefit directly to the different socio-economic actors to improve their practices, anticipate future trends or overcome challenges everytime a cultural or social context is involved. Unfortunately, most of the publications in humanities and social sciences are not open access or, if they are, not easily discoverable for the lay reader. Therefore, an important part of the knowledge produced by publicly funded research remains unknown or inaccessible to the society because of technical and organizational barriers. OPERAS mission is very important to unlock or unlatch knowledge and make it effectively used outside academia.

What are the overall objectives?
The Operas-d goals are a) to support the 5 main partners (“core group”) of the OPERAS network in the development of a new European e-infrastructure for open access publishing in the Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH). b) to address long-term requirements (roadmap) for the development of the e-infrastructure and community building, as well as seek to expand to include other interested parties within and beyond Europe, and in diverse fields of the SSH.
To achieve this goal the operas-d objectives are :
1. Carry out research and gather specific information through various means (research, workshops and surveys) such that will inform the formulation of a strategy and a roadmap for the proposed e-infrastructure OPERAS.
2. Develop services and the business and governance model of the OPERAS e-infrastructure
3. Develop a design study that will define the technical requirements, business and governance model, services and long-term sustainability plans for the future e-infrastructure of OPERAS, as well as the roadmap for the implementation of the e-infrastructure
4. Engage the current partners of the OPERAS network and enlarge the network by bringing in more partners that will share similar standards, policies, practices, this enabling the institutional publishing environment in Europe
5. Develop a solid communication and dissemination strategy and plan and make sure project outputs are openly accessible as widely as possible, also to the citizens.
OPERAS-D project main results have been :
- The achievement of a comprehensive design study that encompasses all aspects relevant to foresee the development of the infrastructure in the years to come : a landscape study, a technical mapping, a survey on users’ needs, a business plan and a governance schedule, a legal study, a roadmap to plan the development of the future services that will be provided by the infrastructure to the different types of users, as well as a survey dedicated to the visibility of open access monographs.
- The expansion and structuration of OPERAS consortium with the addition of many new partners and ERA countries in the consortium, the activation of a Core Group of national nodes partners that, the structuration of the application procedure and more generally of the consortium governance.
- The structuration of OPERAS consortium in seven thematic working group that prepared white papers during the time frame of the project to identify the state of art, emerging trends, evaluate the status of the partners in regard with these and identify future projects to be developed by OPERAS in the future.
- The preparation of OPERAS application to ESFRI roadmap which lead to the identification by ESFRI of a “high strategic potential area” in social and cultural innovation regarding the topic : transition to open science.
- The conception and implementation of a solid communication strategy for OPERAS, relying on a website, social media, flyers and an important representation activity in many conferences, workshops, seminars.
- The dissemination of OPERAS-D results in many conferences such as DI4R, the Sofia Conference on Research Infrastructures, the OPERAS Conference in Athens, UP Redux Conference in London and Elpub Conference in Toronto.
- All OPERAS-D results are available through OPERAS website but have also been deposited in Zenodo repository.
Thanks to OPERAS-D project, OPERAS infrastructure will be able to start effectively its preparation phase from september 2018 : Two projects are currently under preparation to develop two of the three core services OPERAS will deliver in the future. A third project will be prepared from the end of 2018 to set up OPERAS as a legal entity, support the outreach activity and start implementing the services identified in the working groups white papers.