By Kaitlin Thaney

Over the last few months we’ve been in conversation with colleagues in higher education about what they see as the challenges that lie ahead as they weigh reopening plans and longer term effects of the global pandemic.

Starting June 29th, we will be launching our first research effort to support institutional decision-making in research and scholarship.

For the next six months, we will be working with representatives across key areas of the scholarly research lifecycle on a coordinated approach for the future of scholarship and research at the institutional level.

Why this, and why now?

Institutional leaders are currently grappling with planning as they move towards reopening, and there are a few key factors we believe they should be designing for. These include but are not limited to:

  • Need for heightened access to content and data to support research and scholarship;
  • Systems to ensure safe, continued, and reliable publishing, delivery, and dissemination of scholarship;
  • Interventions to support shifts to virtual learning and meetings;
  • Cost-efficiencies and a shift to “do more with less” amidst economic instability and budget cuts;
  • And, durability of existing systems relied on for research and scholarship, to hedge against infrastructure collapse and potential consolidation.

We believe institutions have an opportunity to explore collectively cost-effective and sustainable solutions to address immediate needs at their institution. They also have an opportunity to play an active role in furthering a larger, more systemic shift towards open, community-owned and operated infrastructure at the institutional level to support scholarship and ensure research continuity. IOI was designed to help support decision-makers in times like these in providing targeted research and guidance, coordination, and support. Put simply, we’re here to help.

The project sets out to deliver the following resources and services to partners:

  • A framework and set of shared criteria to support assessment of open systems and solutions in service of the academy;
  • Cost-benefit analyses to enable faster, more informed decision making in support of open scholarship;
  • Actionable recommendations and guidance for budget owners;
  • Actionable recommendations and models for projects to operate sustainably;
  • Scenario planning for 6, 12, and 18+ months outlooks;
  • A collective model for stewardship, cost-sharing, and risk pooling.

We have great partners lined up already, but we are looking to further diversify this set of voices, bringing not simply additional institutions on board, but also the perspective that comes from different roles, constituencies, and geographies. We are also seeking representatives from university and scholar-led presses, scholarly/learned societies, and other supporting organizations.

Participation is straightforward: 1-2 interviews, and an invitation to join us for 2-4 targeted feedback sessions over the course of the next six months. To sign up, please add your information to this form.

Your voice would be shaping this work along with existing participants like University at Buffalo, SPARC, Michigan State University, New York University, Stanford University, Virginia Tech, North Carolina State University, Ohio State University, MIT Press, the Public Knowledge Project, the American Geophysical Union, the Declaration on Research Assessment, and the Association of Research Libraries.

More background can be found in this working brief. This project is slated to start on June 29, 2020. We hope you’ll join us. For more information, please contact us at kt@investinopen.org.