Tuesday, May 14, 2019 News

Investing in Open Scholarly Infrastructure: a Community Opportunity

Open Access   ·   Open Data

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.

The organizations behind IOI support a global effort to sustain open scholarly infrastructure. We believe that a network of shared open systems and tools governed by and managed for the benefit of those who use them is an essential step towards creating a healthy scholarly ecosystem. By investing in, integrating, and building on current and emerging open infrastructure initiatives, we can ensure that the services and software that the scholarly community relies upon is high-quality, reliable, persistently available, and operated in a manner consistent with our community’s values.

IOI’s success is dependent on community support and participation. Right now, the best way to help get the project off to a strong start is by signing the Statement in Support of Invest in Open Infrastructure here, either yourself or on behalf of your institution, which will also allow you to stay updated on IOI developments. We hope you’ll get involved!

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