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OSI summit teams map out action plan

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During 2018 and 2019, OSI’s summit group (led by Scott Plutchak in 2018) developed a strong plan for moving OSI beyond its initial deliberation phase (2016-18) and into its “action” phase where this international group’s ideas and insights will get transformed into policies and products.

The goals of OSI are to:

  • Achieve scholarly communication improvement goals faster and on a more predictable trajectory by bringing all stakeholders to the same side of the table to work together toward their common interests (while continuing to work out their differences on tangential issues),
  • Create multiple platforms for working on scholarly communication improvements together as a broad stakeholder community,
  • Increase the efficiency and effectiveness of stakeholder efforts by facilitating the development of a common roadmap of goals, policies, and standards in scholarly communication,
  • Protect the integrity of research by cracking down on fake research news and fake publishing, and
  • In the end, increase the amount of research information available to the world and the number of people who can access this information.

OSI will accomplish these goals between 2020 and 2025 by pursuing the following three categories of objectives: studies, tech solutions, and education/outreach.

STUDIES

OSI will begin conducting studies that target key issues in scholarly communication where a lack of firm understanding is making it difficult to create effective policy reforms. These studies will be “leveraged” through OSI, not outsourced. That is, OSI has enough internal and volunteer capacity to do all the study design, oversight, writing and analyses in-house. Funding will be used mostly for data-gathering and statistical analyses. The OSI team will identify and hire researchers as needed (some may end up being OSI participants already) who can conduct original research work as needed, and hire statisticians as needed to crunch numbers and maybe take a first pass at analysis, but the final writing and analysis will be done in-house by OSI participants.

TECH PRODUCTS & SOLUTIONS

OSI will also begin developing tech products and solutions that fill key needs in the scholarly communication ecosystem where a lack of government and/or private sector action has hindered the progress of open reforms. As with OSI studies, these products and solutions will be “leveraged” through OSI, not outsourced. That is, OSI will design and oversee development in-house, and funds will be used for certain programming and other work that cannot be handled in-house. The OSI team will identify and hire personnel as needed (some may end up being OSI participants already) who can conduct this work as needed, but the final design decisions and assessments will be done in-house by OSI participants. All of these products and solutions will fully deploy over the 2020-25 time-period, after which they will become self-supporting through various combinations of advertising, sponsor fees, and member fees for content providers (none of these products/solutions will have user fees for basic access, although premium access models may emerge as a means of support).

EXISTING WORK/PRIORITIES

In addition to studies and tech products, OSI’s existing work/priorities will also be supported by this grant. This includes:

  • Consolidation and implementation of OSI recommendations: OSI has accumulated a wealth of knowledge over its four years of operation. We are in the early stages of publishing materials that consolidate this knowledge into issue briefs and policy perspectives. A few of these have been published to-date; many more are planned (around 50 have been identified), to be written by OSI participants. In terms of priorities, the next most needed publication is OSI’s “Plan A” for open—a summary paper that captures the general sense of the OSI group with regard to what steps the global community should take next in order to ensure the rapid, collaborative and sustainable development of global open science. We expect this Plan A document to be issued by year-end 2019. Plan A will, in essence, be OSI’s roadmap for the future of open science. A number of different stakeholder groups (including IGO’s, led by UNESCO; scholarly societies, led by the NAS; the AAU, representing university provosts; and others) also realize that broad, collaborative action is needed now. What we are seeing as a result are parallel, high-level efforts happening around the world to create a new roadmap for the future of open. However, there is no convergence of activity and no central point. OSI will fill this role and communicate this convergence perspective in Plan A—as an observatory to keep these similar and important efforts connected, aware of each other’s existence and activities, and coordinated so actions and policies can have more impact. We need this central hub to ensure that we can have reasonable, sustainable, global, inclusive action—a group to inform, coordinate and share policies that will lay the groundwork for the future of open research/data and open science in particular.
  • Annual global survey of state of open: How is open changing? The fact is we just don’t know. Studies measuring open aren’t conducted at regular intervals and don’t use the same methodology. In order to measure global progress toward open, we need a baseline and consistent, comprehensive, global measurements. Several OSI participants have volunteered to help develop this product and implement it. This annual survey will be an important tool in helping us better understand current needs and perspectives, understand where we need to focus our open efforts, and track our progress toward achieving our objectives.
  • Existingn education and outreach work:
    • One of OSI’s goals is to help countries understand open and understand how this issue (and current global proposals) impacts their equity, education and development goals. Our issue briefs are one tool in our education arsenal. Our studies and tech products are other tools. In addition to these, we will improve/enrich the OSI website with the goal of making it more of a hub/resource for open and a more useful teaching tool.
    • There are many ways to learn about open, far fewer ways to collaborate on global actions to improve open that aren’t biased toward set end-points (e.g., “let’s do a global flip,” or “let’s remove publishers from the process”). There are a great many groups looking for constructive ways to engage in realistic measures. An important approach OSI will cultivate beginning in 2020 is to bring organizations together to help pick the low hanging fruit—to create a global environment of cooperation for solving the most urgent problems together and in doing so build a track record of success. We don’t need a Plan S that changes everything for everyone tomorrow without regard for the consequences. We do need a Plan A that describes what needs to be addressed and describes realistic and sustainable ways to begin tackling these issues together in ways that are easy and make sense for everyone, and importantly, that have incentives aligned such that partners will be joining in this effort out of self-interest and not due to threat or obligation.
    • Events: OSI has hosted two full-group meetings to-date (in 2016 and 2017), one executive team meeting (in 2018), and helped sponsor several other meetings in this space (such as SciELO-20 in 2018). We will need to hold and sponsor a number of other meetings in the coming years. There is no better way to get solid input from a diverse range of participants than to hold meetings. Email works okay to continue the conversation, but there is simply no substitute for breaking down walls and making progress than in-person meetings. OSI participants will also participate as speakers and panelists in other global meetings, communicating OSI’s lessons of experience and also forging partnerships with universities, publishers, research institutions, governments, funders, societies and policy groups interested in moving forward with workable, global solutions to open research. By November of 2019, OSI will have marked four such efforts: (1) A presentation about OSI on the opening panel of the SciELO 20th Anniversary conference; (2) A presentation about OSI in the keynote portion of this year’s Charleston conference, and (3) Inclusion of OSI and key OSI outputs (such as the DARTS open spectrum) in the 50th Anniversary addition of the STM Report, a key resource for the scholarly publishing community; and (4) Inclusion of OSI in a debate at the 2019 Falling Walls conference about the future direction of open science.