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Preparing open access in the european research area through scholarly communication

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - OPERAS-P (Preparing open access in the european research area through scholarly communication)

Période du rapport: 2019-07-01 au 2020-12-31

The OPERAS-P (Preparation) supports the development of OPERAS, the European Research infrastructure for open scholarly communication in SSH. The project furthers the development of the infrastructure in view of achieving the necessary scientific, technical and community maturity. To achieve this goal, OPERAS-P addresses the necessary requirements according to the Work Programme with three objectives: support the ESFRI application, start the implementation of innovative services, and support the expansion of the consortium. First objective includes the conceptual framework for a Governance plan, including a vision statement and two Landscape Studies: one identifying key stakeholders per core country, one identifying the users needs. This work includes the design of a business model addressing the long-term sustainability of the infrastructure and supports the implementation of the AISBL statutes in the infrastructure. Second objective addresses the development of a transnational access to publication services, based on the adoption of common standards, the interoperability between publishing services and bridging towards the EOSC marketplace. Regarding the third objective, the OPERAS-P project supports the development of the consortium with an outreach strategy based on a Landscape Study.
During the first phase of the project, OPERAS-P has contributed to develop OPERAS as an operational research infrastructure of pan-European interest, by supporting the application of OPERAS to the ESFRI roadmap and setting up OPERAS as an AISBL (an international not-for-profit association under Belgian law). OPERAS-P also contributed to highlight the needs of the community by conducting surveys and studies on scholarly communication in the field of Social Sciences and Humanities. Finally, OPERAS-P is contributing to enhance the technical effectiveness of open scholarly communication actors to raise quality, interoperability and compliance with Open Science and FAIR principles, by developing the Core technical basis of the infrastructure and its services, defining a protocol to address their technical integration in the EOSC portal, developing a common access point to publication services and redeveloping DOAB.
Open Science has been acknowledged by the European Commission as a new paradigm designating the ongoing transformation of scientific practices and the share of knowledge, based on the growth of data and the availability of digital technologies. Open scholarly communication plays a key role in this transition. From its inception with the three B’s (Budapest Open Access Initiative (2002), the official declaration of Berlin (2003) and the Bethesda Statement on Open Access (2003)), Open Access has been rapidly expanded, and has been strongly supported by the European Commission in the last decade, in particular with the Programme Guidelines on Open Access to Scientific Publications and Research Data in Horizon 2020 published in 2016, advocating immediate open access as default for 2020.

The Landscape Study delivered by OPERAS-D gave an overview of the scholarly communication framework, presenting the specifics of open scholarly communication in SSH (initiatives, business models, infrastructures). The study showed an increasing uptake of Open Access by the publishing landscape, but a slower integration of the SSH disciplines than the STEM disciplines, for several reasons.

In SSH, research and publication are linked through the editing process. SSH research widely contributes to the production of knowledge and has a strong impact on the economic domain. However, those interdependencies are challenged by the absence of common standards and a lack of coordination between the different stakeholders (funders, institutions, publishers, authors) taking part in this process. More globally, the landscape is formed by a large number of actors (from large university presses to smaller scholarly initiatives), grounded in specific cultural areas, and structured in different ways according to their technological choices, their offer of services, their sources of funding. With the fast changes enabled by the paradigm of Open Science, this landscape is rapidly evolving, but without overall coordination. Open Science is more than mere Open Access to texts, so the entire research workflow needs to be addressed and revisited.

In parallel, the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) has been set up for the last three years to give a concrete structuration of the European Research Infrastructures and e-infrastructures to support Open Science. FAIR data will be part of the building blocks of the EOSC, so the principles have to be adapted and implemented in the SSH. If this process has a deep impact to foster innovative practices and multidisciplinarity, there is a need to structure the open scholarly communication landscape to achieve Open Science. The absence of a converging initiative to support the evolution of open scholarly communication prevents the internationalization of SSH research and prevents those communities to fully integrate the European Open Science Cloud.

As a distributed research infrastructure, OPERAS aims to bridge this gap setting up an operational framework engaging the actors of open scholarly communication at the European level, providing the means to structure this landscape in the long term, and develop a more inclusive and sustainable scholarly ecosystem for researchers. Those means imply the coverage of several aspects: technical, through a common set of technologies, standards; financial, through the establishment of efficient business models to sustain SSH open scholarly communication needs; innovative, to implement publishing and communication models or enhance the interoperability and complementarity of existing dissemination platforms.

OPERAS-P addresses this ambition based on the more recent landscape developments building the operational framework to set up the core of OPERAS infrastructure, supporting the integration of communities and innovation in the field of open scholarly communication, and enhancing the technical effectiveness of open scholarly communication actors to raise quality, interoperability and compliance with Open Science and FAIR principles.