The Open Research Community: Reasons, Aims, Audiences

The launch of the Open Research Community responds to a growing need among librarians, publishers and authors to enter into dialogue about Open Access, explore what it involves for publication ecosystems and learn about recent developments in this sector from an independent perspective.

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Background 

The beginnings of the Open Access movement as a publishing phenomenon can  be traced back to the Budapest Open Access Initiative, announced on February 14, 2002, and issuing from a conferenced convened by the Open Society Institute in Budapest on December 1–2, 2001, with the aim of promoting free online access to scholarship around the world.

Whereas digitization, Internet and communication infrastructures have formed preconditions for Open Access, in this sector different agents propose dissimilar visions of its specific implementations, such as Gold or Green Open Access, as they translate into publication options, e.g., at Elsevier or PLOS, blog-format discussions, e.g., as part of the Open Source movement, policy recommendations, e.g., those of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) and information pages of university libraries, e.g., that of the Georgia State University.

This multiplicity in Open Access operationalizations and representations is further compounded by the proliferation of programmatic statements in support of Open Access, such as the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities, unveiled on October 22, 2003, and the Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing, released to the public on June 20, 2003.

This also likely contributes to the lack of concrete communities in which different Open Access stakeholders, subject-matter experts and key agents could jointly present their positions, exchange views and enter into dialogue, even though their importance gets discussed in specialized blogs, such as the Scholarly Kitchen

Goals 

The Open Research Community seeks, therefore, to fill this gap, by launching this platform. At the Open Research Community platform, these agents will be able to have shared conversations on Open Access-related issues, while showcasing best practices in this sector, developing educational resources and exploring how different publishing models operate and perform across contexts.

At the Open Research Community, the content it will be publishing will comprise blog-format articles, online discussions and sustained commentary, in addition to related educational offerings. This is expected to enable the Open Research Community to draw on Open Access expert communities from various for-profit organizations and non-profit institutions, academic libraries and universities from around the world as contributors and discussants. Consequently, the knowledge sharing that the Open Research Community aims to facilitate is expected to be in dialogue with research results, industry developments and wider discussions concerning Open Access, Open Science and Open Research. This will allow this community to become a space for scholarly, inclusive and independent discourse on these topics.

Whereas the Open Access movement looks back at around twenty years of developments, the implications of Open Access for scholarly publishing, financial sustainability and various stakeholders remain in need of further elucidation. This is one of the goals of the Open Research Community that also seeks to bridge Open Access-related expertise with innovative forms of content delivery, such as video panels, discussion rooms and online courses.

Affordances 

In particular, the contributors to the Open Research Community will be able to

  • create posts;
  • record videos;
  • upload documents;
  • and hold video-based panel discussions.

These items can be assigned to

  • specific platform channels that aggregate content under broad thematic categories, such as Open Access basics or publishing industry players, while offering targeted subscription options for community members;
  • badges that allow for narrowing down to specific topics, such as preprints, business models or libraries, across content types and their delivery locations, as well as making similarly tagged contributions immediately accessible for exploration;
  • and rooms that can anchor topical conversations around platform content, serve as virtual gathering spaces for their members and act as focal areas for community-related activities, member registries and contributor networking, such as through notification-based following.

In addition, the Open Research Community makes it possible to cluster different materials into courses, in which site visitors can record their learning progress and receive optional completion certificates.

By Pablo Markin


Featured Image Credits: Workshop 'Open Science and Sharing Research Data', Crowne Plaza Le Palace, Brussels, Belgium, February 2, 2018 | © Courtesy of Science Europe/Flickr.

Pablo Markin

Community Manager, Open Research Community

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