In early September of 2014, nSCI recruited and organized over 100 thought-leaders from around the world into a three month long online conversation—named the Open Science Initiative (OSI) working group—to begin looking into viable ways to reform the scholarly publishing system. The outcome of this conversation will be a working paper (the most recent version is linked here) which summarizes the many important facts and perspectives that were discussed on this issue, and also outlines recommendations for a new series of initiatives to push for workable reform measures.
What are the problems with the current system of scholarly publishing? What are the different perspectives on these problems? What are some possible solutions? What should our goals and our guiding objectives be regarding improving access to research information? Should we even bother worrying about this issue (is the current state of affairs adequate)? What would a future with more open science look like? What might a future without more open science look like? How do we get from where we are now to where we need to be, considering there are so many competing interests and entrenched positions? Why might it be important to act now?
The OSI working group discussed these issues and many others at length. The group also made these three important recommendations (the first two being majority viewpoints):
As we push forward with this initiative, the OSI group will need the following kinds of help: Broad buy-in and participation from research agencies, companies and institutions; more input and perspective from publishers, research institutions, government agencies, the public, and other stakeholders; subject matter expertise (such as programming, database construction, user interface design, customer experience, and so on), hardware/hosting support, data integration support, conference support (facility support, logistics, etc.); outreach/PR expertise; and finally, backing by policymakers and major funders. Building this support base will be the only way to achieve effective and long-term sustainable reform.
The budget for the first conference will range between $150k and $500k depending on how many of the costs we can cover for participants (more coverage is better—we don’t want people declining our invite on account of budget reasons). The repository effort can begin modestly but will eventually require millions of dollars annually, although much of the eventual operating cost can be recouped through sponsor support, advertising, and value-added services. A start-up budget of $10 million would help get a critical mass of experts working full-time on this project right away.
This initiative already has a broad range of stakeholder support, but as we move forward we want to make sure that everyone has a seat at the table and also make it clear that we’re not just spinning our wheels to produce another white paper for discussion. OSI, nSCI, UNESCO, LANL, and others have committed to undertake an effort to actually shape the future of how we as a society value, share and use science. Care to join us?