OPERAS Working Groups: Executive Summaries of White Papers

The OPERAS Working Groups are currently finalizing their White Papers, which are planned for 20 July 2018. Each group, coordinated by an OPERAS core member, has presented their work at the OPERAS Conference which took place from 31 May – 1 June 2018 in Athens, Greece.

If you want to get involved, contact the coordinators of the working groups and find out how you can contribute!


Advocacy Working Group

OPERAS Advocacy Working Group posterThe white paper first addresses the importance of open science for the SSH, highlighting the role of a distributed research infrastructure like OPERAS in advocacy for open access publishing models. It then focuses on the importance of SSH in open science, showing how open science benefits from a careful consideration of the needs of researchers in different disciplines. While OPERAS does not endorse a specific open access publishing model, infrastructure partners advocate for publication processes that can meet the actual demand for open access, transparency and open source tools for scholarly communication.

This document is intended for all stakeholders actively involved in open access in the SSH. This includes publishers and publication platforms as well as libraries and infrastructure providers. However, the white paper ultimately focuses on advocacy for researchers at different career stages. It presents which benefits clearly arise from open access publishing for scholars and, in order to support stakeholders to advocate for open access when addressing researchers, the white paper examines researchers’ concerns about open access publishing. These include but are not limited to reputation and research evaluation, financial issues, a lack of information, intellectual property rights and other legal concerns, and the availability of open access models.

It looks at experiences from OPERAS partners with regard to researchers’ concerns to develop a message-tools matrix for researchers that demonstrates how to address these challenges. The white paper concludes with advocacy suggestion sheets for different stakeholders involved in open access in the SSH.

More information: Advocacy WG

Contact: Elisabeth Heinemann (heinemann[at]maxweberstiftung.de)


Best Practices Working Group

OPERAS Best Practices Working Group posterPublishing is a composite activity that includes several components. Therefore, the adoption of best practices in academic publishing should address all aspects : service provision to authors, publishers agreements, peer-reviewing, editing, usage of open access licenses, dissemination, metrics and digital preservation. On each of these topics, best practices charts and lists have been elaborated by different academic and professional networks and already exist, gaining enough consensus in the community to be adopted by OPERAS consortium without the need for reinvention from the start. What has to be done is to identify the most accepted best practices for each case and plan for concrete and specific actions for their implementation by OPERAS partners.

The is a crucial domain, however, where best practices are not clearly established : management of the transition to Open Access. Although several “flipping mechanisms” are proposed, none is widely considered as “best practice” over others. In that domain the debate in the academic community clearly lacks maturity.

More information: Best Practices WG

Contact: Eelco Ferwerda (e.ferwerda[at]oapen.org)


Business Models Working Group

OPERAS Business Models Working GroupThe white paper on Business Models for Open Access proposes that there is no single ideal business model for Open Access that can be adopted as standard. It describes the current landscape in which there are multiple approaches to OA publishing, many of which are adopted by OPERAS members to suit their particular circumstances, although the APC and BPC models still predominate especially among commercial publishers. The paper describes the business models adopted by members both from the point of view of publishers, and of service providers such as Knowledge Unlatched, as well as looking at models emerging elsewhere such as in the USA and at national level in some European countries, where interesting collaborative approaches are being undertaken. The paper analyses the  pros and cons of different models, and concludes with some suggestions for ways of bringing greater stability and sustainability to Open Access publishing models.

More information: Business Models WG

Contact: Lara Speicher (l.speicher[at]ucl.ac.uk)


Multilingualism Working Group

OPERAS Multilingualism Working Group posterScholarly publication is indisputably boosted by the use of the English language. However, it represents an impoverishment of certain research fields, in particular in Social Sciences and Humanities. In this scenario, the challenges for OPERAS are to support researchers that want to continue publishing in their own language and to develop transnational scientific cooperation at the same time.

Thereof, the proposed intervention areas are: translation, multilanguage discovery tool and the endowment of national languages.

More information: Multilingualism WG

Contact: Delfim Leão (leo[at]fl.uc.pt)


Platforms and Services Working Group

OPERAS Platforms and Services posterOPERAS as an infrastructure supporting open scholarly communication will provide a catalogue of services to the academic community. Despite their diversity, the services should follow common rules and principles to establish a common framework where they can be included and managed. The principles concern governance, sustainability and insurance. It entails to set up contractual relationships between the infrastructure and the service providers that reflects the principles mentioned earlier. Finally, there is a need to achieve a fully functional web of services that prevents gaps and overlaps regarding the users’ needs. The list and structuration of OPERAS future services has been elaborated as a part of the infrastructure design study.

More information: Platforms and Services WG

Contact: Eelco Ferwerda (e.ferwerda[at]oapen.org) or Pierre Mounier (pierre.mounier[at]openedition.org)


Standards Working Group

OPERAS Standards Working Group posterThe OPERAS Working Group for Common Standards aims at exploring the workflows, mediums and technical standards that have recently emerged as a result of the changes brought about by the transition to Open Science. It places focus on the importance of common standards, and traces the improvements required to ensure content quality and interconnectivity for scholarly output in the SSH and beyond.

The White Paper on Common Standards comprises desk research and identifies key operational and technical aspects to be addressed by digital research infrastructures and service providers. It particularly sketches the landscape of Open Science in Europe, focusing on the policy framework and the institutional initiatives at EU level; it also describes current and emerging research practices and highlights the needs of the stakeholders and communities engaged in scholarly communication.

Reference is specifically made to technical and operational standards for publishing infrastructures, and their importance in providing a digital scholarly communication framework that fosters content reuse, collaboration among researchers and enables the implementation of innovative research methods. To this end, the white paper identifies needs yet to be met, introduces 4 complementary areas (content quality and impact assessment, interoperability, availability and processability) for the introduction of common standards, and provides basic recommendations for their future implementation.

The white paper also examines where OPERAS members stand and assesses the work needed to reach these standards. As effective implementation of common standards is highly depended upon stakeholders’ increased awareness and commitment towards more effective ways of conducting, presenting and communicating research, the white paper underlines the instrumental role of the OPERAS network in specifying new standards and updating existing ones. Finally, it drafts a roadmap for the community-wide adoption of standards.

More information: Standards WG

Contact: Irakleitos Sougioultzoglou (irakleitos[at]ekt.gr)


Tools (R&D) Working Group

OPERAS Working Group Tools posterThe approach in OPERAS emphasizes the importance of building the open science scholarly communication infrastructure in SSH on community driven tools. In this perspective, the development of Open Source tools and the setup of a toolbox appears to be appropriate answers to the existing needs and evolutions in scholarly publishing.

Following a first discussion in the Working Group, participants discussed the partners’ practices and needs to help focus the Working Group objectives on 3 functions: peer review (interest in emerging practices such as open peer review, peer review tracking), authoring (interest in simple and all-in-one services, especially online and collaborative authoring) and publishing (in particular, simple tools needed by small academic journals)

The main results of the Working Group are: Notes on observed trends, a common approach and criteria for choosing tools, a list of relevant tools detailing features and functionalities, an analysis of the current needs of the partners.

For Peer Review, the reviewing workflow is implemented in most open source software like OJS but developments are still needed to match the commercial software services. Similarly, the review tracking data available via services such as Publons is currently not open. The emerging trend for Open Peer Review represents an innovative area, both in terms of usage and tools.

For Authoring, we see a bloom of new collaborative tools. Promising open source software for editing structured scholarly content are being developed and are near to production, alongside commercial tools such as Authorea or Overleaf.

For Publishing, several open source software solutions are already used in production, but as the level of service expected from a publication service is rising and includes a growing number of third-party services, the community is considering ways of working together to combine their effort to be comparable with the state of the art of the commercial solutions.

The Operas partners are willing to go beyond this working group and consider engaging in follow-up projects, notably to help create a resource centre dedicated to providing the community with current information and support on scholarly communication software and tools, and to contribute to the effort in developing open source tools.

More information: Tools (R&D) WG

Contact: Arnaud Gingold (arnaud.gingold[at]openedition.org) or Patrick Gendre (patrick.gendre[at]openedition.org)


Elisabeth Heinemann

Digital Humanities Officer at Max Weber Stiftung (MWS) and Communication Officer for OPERAS

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