“We see a diverse, interconnected, open, professional and viable, Open Science infrastructure (OSI) ecosystem in Europe on solid ground; one that is worth investing in. At the same time, this ecosystem — still developing — faces a range of issues that challenge its path to a more open and sustainable future.” This is a core conclusion of a report by SPARC Europe; the work is a result of a recent in-depth survey of infrastructure and/or services that are part of the European Open Science infrastructure landscape.
The report’s authors include a range of recommendations for both services and funders to help us achieve greater sustainability. Among these:
Service providers could benefit from:
- Sharing lessons learnt. This might involve developing communities of practice and guidance; pooling resources and working with initiatives such as Invest in Open Infrastructure (IOI) and JROST.
- Following good governance practices. This allows the community to trust that the infrastructure or service will be steered by the needs of the community and stay true to the values of research.
- Going open source and adopting open standards. “Despite a strong uptake of open source and open standards by many, challenges remain for some in sharing good governance, open content and applying open standards,” wrote the authors.
- Diversifying fund-raising efforts, upskilling to embrace a range of business revenue models. This allows the organisation to spread financial risk.
The report’s conclusions also include a call to action for agencies, institutions, charities and in particular governments to maintain and increase support for both development activities and for sustaining operations. Making smart choices on what to invest in will be essential; the report also identifies areas of key importance.
The survey that informed this report consisted of two parts: the first, an assessment of the general infrastructure offering; the second (which was divided into two sections) considered the infrastructure’s intended audience and stakeholder community, technical design, and sustainability. Part 1 of the survey was completed by 120 relevant OSIs from 28 European countries, while Part 2 was completed by 67 (part 2a) and 68 (part 2b) respondents comprising executives and senior managers, IT specialists, researchers, and contributors.
This report is based on the responses of 120 OSIs based in Europe and with a regional, national or international focus. Projects and infrastructures younger than 2 years were not included.