In a locked-down-world: how can we continue to support Open Science to ensure immediate digital access to research to those who need it?

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In a locked-down-world: how can we continue to support Open Science to ensure immediate digital access to research to those who need it?
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The Open Science Conference 2021 is the 8th international conference of the Leibniz Research Alliance Open Science. The annual conference is dedicated to the Open Science movement and provides a unique forum for researchers, librarians, practitioners, infrastructure providers, policy makers, and other important stakeholders to discuss the latest and future developments in Open Science.
so thank you very much i'm looking forward to talking to you today um again unfortunately uh from lockdown um but really talking about the importance of a digital open science infrastructure so i think with covid19 what we've really seen is how important open science has been to support those looking for a covid19 vaccine or treatment and they've really made good use of some of the service that we've helped build and promote like bio um bio archive or med archive but what it's also done is it's shown a light on our dependence on others to get access to publications and data that's not yet oa and whilst researchers are increasingly providing access to their material which is really focus on cultural change i think it's very much up to us to ensure that we have a really sustainable community governed infrastructure now and for the times of times ahead for other crises going forward so
this saw need for immediate access to information there were so many calls to action uh from governments from charities from libraries consortia all around around the world to provide immediate access to publications and research data calling on publishers to bring down paywalls and they have indeed generously temporarily uh opened up a lot of that material uh thousands of records to publications
we've also seen new systems like the chord 19 data set which also brings together a lot of that material um from around the world um to aid access to uh essential content for our researchers um but how much of that content is going to uh be available going forward we know that covert 19 is certainly not going away probably this year and may never completely go away so although temporary access to information is being provided although some of this is open access content from this data set for example but a lot of this uh does not have open licenses assigned to it we don't know whether things can be reused some of it cannot be and it's also only temporary access um for a certain amount of time so i think you'll probably agree with me is we really need to have a system in place providing open access to information for when we need it for all those who need it
this is what we also said in our blog posts at the time it's important that we don't go back to business as usual once covered is or that the biggest uh problems of covida behind us because we really need to have an infrastructure and a publishing system that works for us where we're not dependent on the generosity of some publishers temporarily providing us access to content
so this is uh the healthy open science infrastructure i'd like to see where you see a healthy soil you see obviously certain pockets really thriving with life it's all integrated it's working together but actually in practice it's still rather fragmented there are some really healthy and financially healthy infrastructures that we see in front of us here on this uh image but not of all not all of it is working together working on with open standards open source uh uh using open source to enable others to work and and uh integrate with those systems they're not all financially healthy and we want everybody to benefit from this healthy landscape and not just in the times of urgent need and as anna just said also we want that open science benefits everyone equally
so what are the risks to this open science climate so we've seen a lot of great uh uh development of services and infrastructure over the last 20 years but many of those have started out as projects in our institutions we've some of us have been behind some of those they've been funded temporarily so through development funds and now some of those are sustained locally by the research community through in-kind contributions through libraries and funders as i say they've uh they've generously donated to innovation um but far less in operations and i think this is a challenge that we have there's some really essential infrastructure now that many of us depend upon what about the operations who is looking after the operational costs of those infrastructures and there are risks some of those who've proven their worth over time uh are landing on unstable footing or at least they know in the next two or three years they're going to have to change their business or financial models will they have to join some of the larger publishers and then come behind paywalls will they have to downsize or even close that's not a future that we want and as anna also said what we really need we need more diversity and equity in this scholarly communication system
so what we wanted to find out last year uh we did a survey on european open science infrastructure what does it look like how healthy is it before we can recommend on what needs to be done i'm just going to give a few slides on
that so if i talk about infrastructure on the left you'll see we're talking about aggregation and indexing services search services storage identity and persistent identifiers and this graph really shows when we asked infrastructures who were regional national or international infrastructures in europe who do you depend upon who do you operate with you you can see the importance of identity and persistent identifiers and some critical nodes of infrastructure here which are the larger blobs and i will look at some of those um but i think what's important here is uh which of these essential infrastructures are actually community driven how are they governed and how are they financially sustained are they healthy or not and what are they doing to become sustainable and what's our role in that so this was the survey and the report can be found here i'll share we'll share the slides later um funded by the open society foundations so what what are the the key expenses for infrastructures if we're thinking about um sustaining them in the future of course salaries and benefits are the most uh the highest cost traveller meetings obviously they've fallen away in the last year then only comes equipment uh interestingly enough marketing and then communications most run on two to five fte but half of those depend very much on volunteers we also see this in the oa diamond sector so also in the publishing sector uh look out for news on that new oa diamond study coming out which we're also also involved in but just back to here so volunteers and the commitment of our academic institutions in this is absolutely critical to uphold open science infrastructure the main sources of income are national government grants so national governments being really key uh to uphold this system uh in-kind contributions through our academic institutions for example and then there are other new revenue models like membership fees where our institutions are invited to help fund those operational costs sometimes it's not even the cost of a of an apc that's being asked and that's really important to help sustain some of those services we also ask what are the most important sources of income uh so still national government uh came first and then you see some of the other familiar ones i've just mentioned but the european commission was mentioned second now that worries me in as much that if you're talking about operations um we also asked about the financial health of the open science infrastructures um and uh we see in the top bar not-for-profit is dark blue and and rpos research performing organizations like universities is light blue their operational deficits are covered by grants or sponsored projects that's not a situation that we want to be in so as we know there's always a lot of competition it's not an uns it's not a stable way of um not a stable income to support the operations of important open science infrastructure but many are really using that as a as a uh to support them going forward we also ask without grants how long would you remain viable so fortunately the majority said that more than a year but we still saw a number of and larger infrastructures these are less than a year less than six months or even less than a month and that's really concerning so that means that we as a community need to step up and also help support the operations of those infrastructures and if we don't take concerted action and if we also don't make sure that these stay in the community's hands community governed we're going to lose touch with our researchers and the open science community if it falls in the hands of others we also lose control over the infrastructure that we've helped create so what a waste and we've seen with covid how important flexibility is we don't want to have further look in we neither want our services to be compromised when certain infrastructures disappear or come behind paywalls and it will also mean that all the policy that um anna was talking about we need infrastructure to implement this policy and to reach our open access targets so we need to shape our future by also making sure that some of this infrastructure is really community uh led so i'm going to um touch on a few examples of how certain infrastructure is being governed and is being financed and how you can contribute to that and how we can create a more sustainable open science infrastructure uh in the future so genbank of course has been a key a government-funded and led um service uh for the coronavirus sequences so fortunately we had some of these things already in place i already talked about bioarchive and med archive uh they are at home at a not a non-profit research institution a very old one at that they have a very long history of science communications so we have confidence that they're not going to be going away sooner that they're in safe hands um largely funded through the institution and with uh grant funding um
in uh looking at europe we can be very thankful for the um the european strategy forum for uh research infrastructures where member states really fund essential research infrastructures
and of course the covet 19 data portal this is an example of a new new portal that was created to serve the uh the research research community an excellent use case for eos and eos being a really key um and innovative infrastructure in the making it now hasn't an association uh where you can contribute um you have a voice also to shape um how it will be sustained and how it will also how you can participate in uh in the eos meaning that what's really important is who can participate who can contribute content to a eos what are the service provider providers under what conditions how do we find a balance between providing open access to research material and innovating and supporting the market on the other hand who are also partly responsible for sustaining eos into the future so eos has on the european commission and the member states they have put many many millions into developing eos over the years but now we're in we're in a situation uh of how are we going to sustain this system how are we going to feed that content but how how are we going to fund that uh so you can have a voice by joining the eos association it's really important that this is community driven because it's such an important interconnecting infrastructure so just coming back to uh that visual on key open science infrastructure nodes um i'm just going to run through a few examples of different uh business models and governance structures so that we can see that we can have confidence in some good practices so of course some of the good practices they've been around for a long time like doaj uh since 2003. they're very dependent on supporters who provide annual fees to help uh support their work so that's institutions across the globe you can see that on that slide and they also have a three-tiered sponsorship system for publishers and other larger institutions and also have grant funding but that's a minor um income stream um all those who do contribute financially uh are now since a couple of years um also uh invited to nomina be nominated on the doaj council or the doaj advisory board so you can also have a say if you contribute however small amount you can contribute to the say of the future of doaj and they also partly introduced this uh due to their engagement with us at schools now crossref is even older uh they have a membership model as well with an annual fee going up from 275 dollars but what's i think really interesting here they also have the crossref sponsoring organizations where organizations can help those who may not be able to afford uh the 275 dollars they may be an oa diamond small journal um that can't uh get those dois that they really uh want and need and that's where crossref sponsoring organizations can come in uh and support those so i really like that model uh and at the same time you're paying forward and supporting crossref as well as others uh um and their governance you can see they have i looked at their board uh representation it's split between companies societies other not-for-profits universities and libraries and they have also various committees of course the um the first step is to have good representation and the second step is to see how well it works and to ensure that everybody has a voice and that those voices are balanced in the decision-making process i think what we'll also see more of in the future is different is a mixed uh funding model if we look at archive again that's been around for a while based at a university where they get cash subsidy for operations and then they get in-kind contributions for indirect costs some of that is matched by a private foundation and then they also call on membership fees which are really important as well to fill those gaps and donations as well as grants
we've also got very interesting uh developments where funders are clubbing together to look at what are the key bio data resources that they depend upon and how are they going to ensure and perhaps earmark some of their budgets to ensure that that data and those infrastructures are not going away anytime soon so that's a very interesting development has been under development for a few years now but i think we will also be seeing more funders uh committing to infrastructure
and then of course we've also got very interesting and new infrastructures like the oa switchboard taking lessons learned from some of the good practices that i've already mentioned some of the demands that we have also as funders ourselves also as institutions funding we want transparency so they have they will have a transparent pricing model they've done a lot of research into funding models exploring uh different models in the future and they've also set some sustainability principles so that we can trust in how they are are going to be managed and funded going forward that's a not-for-profit foundation and has also some very good systems in place to make sure it's community owned and governed so i think those are also really good examples to look out for and to replicate and then of course you've also got the question well how do i choose who to fund if i want to fund and help some of these and to support some of those infrastructures scores is one example so scots is backed by a very large consortium of university libraries and we're trying to help sustain not-for-profit open science services alerting the funding needs to uh the global community and we vet those services we get applications every year uh we also insist that they follow good governance uh practices uh and that they further development develop their funding models and at the moment we are uh calling on um the community to contribute to doaj sherpa romeo pkp doab open and open citations they all really need small amounts of support not even an apc worth um so it all contributes and all helps yes i'm sure you have i would like to just run through a couple more slides if i may okay then excellent i'm nearly there so what what needs to be done how can everyone contribute to creating a more sustainable open science infrastructure so as owners and leaders of open science infrastructure and those in involved in those you really need to promote good governance as i say and engage in uh those uh those services serve on those boards make sure that the community is is served make sure that what you're working on and what you fund is really connecting with the opens that they are using open standards open source and following open principles didn't have time to talk about that one of those things today and it's important to continue to support operations and development many of us are but if you're not yet supporting operations do consider funding in small ways some of those membership skills schemes that i've talked about today for example or donations an experiment with new funding mechanisms like the leuven fair open access fund is a really interesting one or the new amsterdam open acts sorry open access diamond fund and i think what's also key and which we haven't talked about enough is we really need to help build capacity to sustain this system we need to collaborate more share expertise and upskill uh to innovate and save costs in this area because that because of this fragmentation on good governance on open content and standards and on financial sustainability because these are the pain points we know also from our survey and we need to showcase good practices we surveyed a number of important services to us and looked at how different their sustainability journeys are share those and then work together with others with existing partnerships with ioi with operas fairers fair and others and establish new communities of practice that go beyond projects
so those i think are the ways forward to create a really open and diverse infrastructure that's more community-led and connected and sustainable thank you very much and now i look forward to your questions
much vanessa fantastic presentation yes infrastructure funding absolutely very important themes to help open science along for the future we have a few questions i'm going to tell our organization team we're running a little bit late i'm going to say we're finished at 12.05 that means we'll only have a 10 minute break if there's any problems let me know in the chat room and we'll just go ahead straight to the questions vanessa do you see any danger of commercial providers taking over certain crucial parts of os infrastructure um we know that there are a number of large commercial um publishers data providers that are diversifying their portfolios because they know that open access publications that's the way to go forward so how can they um extend their offering to the research community and a lot of these uh exciting projects infrastructures are being born at our institutions so if they don't keep within within our communities funded by us the danger is there we have seen it uh buying up chris systems developed uh by um not mentioning particular names but repositories chris systems um um various services and infrastructures so the danger is there and that's why we can step up to help prevent that and also build that into your governance yes when you're developing things and also when you decide on the legal structure of uh that infrastructure it can also prevent you from being bought by some of those larger entities in some cases good points good points next question what could trigger a more long-term funding by governments and rfos instead of project-based funding sorry could you say repeat that i didn't hear the first part i apologize what could trigger a more long-term funding by governments and rfos instead of project-based funding well so i mean the first thing is uh raising awareness uh which i've been doing today um so really raising awareness of uh what we've been investing in uh how important it is and how um how how important it is to connect and to uh encourage the the open standards open source open collaboration seeing that funders and governments have been investing in this and to continue to build on that value and that they help them think with us forward to see how we can how they can help contribute to the further sustainability um so i think there are a number of different models and we've been looking at some of this um for the open access diamond project so that's coming out in the next few weeks we've we've got some recommendations there for coalitioners and other funders on how they could in um long medium and short term contribute uh to innovation and to funding operations so it's really you know uh in its infancy but they are really pricking up their ears many funders now uh research funders so not just the institutions but governments also thinking with us uh on on how to sustain that information you said is coming out in a few weeks where can people find that information right um yes good one oh it will we haven't won't be public yet so so we will certainly uh it's being run this project is run by the opera's group it will certainly be on the opera's website we will be tweeting about it coalition s will be so you know um all being well fingers crossed in the next two to three weeks uh on the oa diamond study there'll be some interesting uh examples in there um but still there needs to be a lot more creativity and engagement discussion between funders to see what uh what might work because we don't have those systems in place uh necessarily yet that we need super our time is running out i'm going to give one last question i'm always fighting for the questions as a journalist but i'll ask you to make the answer brief making science freely available isn't enough if only scientists can easily understand it so we need open access infrastructure but also incentives for research to communicate their science in plain language are these being considered together yes yes i'm not sure how that how i can contribute more to that i think that's it i think it's a really important statement and um and infrastructures can also help support uh that goal of course as well