Over the past year through the Future of Open Scholarship project, we have worked with institutional decision makers, infrastructure providers, and funding bodies to better understand key decision points, costs, and funding models to maintain, sustain, and scale open infrastructure projects. Today we are proud to share the outputs of that work.
The full report, “Designing a Preparedness Model for the Future of Open Scholarship”, can be found here. Additional resources and briefs created for this project include:
- Costs & Benefits of Collective Investment // Interactive modeling tool
- Open Monograph Ecosystem Impact Analysis
- Future of Open Scholarship: Preliminary Findings
- Project recommendations and theory of change
- Shared project folder
The Future of Open Scholarship project focuses on open infrastructure and its relationship to the future of open scholarship. Over 115 institutional leaders, press directors, infrastructure providers, societies, and scholars engaged in this work, representing over 75 organizations and institutions and spanning 18 countries and five continents.
This work was born out of conversations with a number of institutional leaders grappling with a confluence of crises stemming from the pandemic, including sustained financial hardship and slashed budgets, layoffs and staffing shortages, and rapid shifts to online instruction and research on campuses. This research was designed to address pending infrastructure consolidation and collapse across the research ecosystem, identifying collective action opportunities, leverage points, costs and approaches.
Key findings & recommendations
The findings highlighted below are about choice and tensions, product and people, and costs and benefits. They also demonstrate the ways in which the structuring of the current system has impeded responsiveness to current events.
- A call for aligning our existing systems by examining the challenges in “local first” development, customisation, the relationship of “build vs. buy” decisions to time and resourcing, effects on staffing and maintenance, and interoperability of shared systems.
- Aligning power and influence to enact change by recognizing the power and opportunity for collectives to drive change — from accountability and vendor reciprocity to increased investment by consortia and existing funding programs through coordination.
- Rethinking funding mechanisms by exploring the tenets underlying collective investment models — examining existing funding mechanisms and unpacking where additional needs lie.
We recommend a series of practical interventions to address the social, technical, and financial challenges that have surfaced over the course of this work.
These recommendations include:
- Building for increased modularity and compatibility of common infrastructures;
- Designing shared service and support models to drive resources and staffing support;
- And, establishing an Open Infrastructure Technology Oversight Committee, providing a foundation for sharing best practices, aligning power, and calling for broader system change including negotiating with vendors on pricing, reciprocity, and values-alignment.
A note of thanks
Our special thanks to those who’ve helped make this work possible, especially University at Buffalo, SPARC, North Carolina State University, Indiana University Bloomington, Iowa State University, the Center for Research Libraries, the Libraries of the Big Ten Alliance, the Wellcome Trust, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and Stanford University, in addition to IOI’s operational supporters Schmidt Futures and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Additional thanks go to our research team for this effort: Saman Goudarzi from the University of Toronto, Vanessa Rhinesmith of UCLA’s Center for Critical Internet Inquiry, Kate Pugh from AlignConsulting and Columbia University, and Heather Staines from Delta Think.
We are grateful for the time, generosity, and participation of the project participants, external perspectives from Valerie Sichi-Krygsman, Eric DeLuca, Gil Yehuda, and for the additional support from IOI’s Steering Committee.