ESFRI identifies OPERAS’ field of action as high strategic potential area

ICRI conference 2018
photo credit: Marin Dacos

From 12 – 14 September 2018, the 4th International Conference on Research Infrastructures (ICRI) took place in Vienna in the Habsburg Palace. Preceding this conference, the ESFRI roadmap (European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures) was launched. Suzanne Dumouchel (Huma-Num), Pierre Mounier (OpenEdition) and Marin Dacos (OpenEdition) were invited to participate in these events and they represented OPERAS at the ICRI meeting.

The ESFRI forum is the European strategic instrument to develop the scientific integration of Europe. It has established a Roadmap for research infrastructures to stimulate the implementation for the upcoming 10 – 20 years. The Roadmap 2018 includes eight projects from previous roadmaps as well as six new projects. The ESFRI forum has furthermore identified two high strategic potential areas: “Digital Services for Open Science” and “Religious Studies”. By identifying digital services for open science as one of two high strategic potential areas, the ESFRI forum recognizes the need to create a research-led open scholarly communication system, especially for the social sciences and humanities. In this context, the report explicitly mentions the OPERAS project OPERAS-D, which was concluded in June 2018 and has prepared the OPERAS infrastructure.

Scholarly communication practices in the social sciences and humanities need to be reinforced in order to implement Open Science principles. There is a fragmented and generally sub-critical level of activity corresponding to traditional university presses, other scholarly-led publishers, publication platforms, libraries, service providers and research networks that limits the high innovative potential of this area and its contribution to the effective implementation of the goals of Open Science. Specific challenges of the social sciences and humanities domain need to be addressed: publication typologies – research monographs, critical editions – multilingualism, strong connections of research with local communities. This generates a need of advanced interoperability across the sector and its perspective integration into the EOSC. The need of creating a robust open scholarly communication system capable of contributing to Open Science is evident as well as the opportunity to build it on existing know-how, technologies, infrastructures, business models and funding streams. Cooperation on the development of pan-European services in this field, like in the H2020-funded Design for Open access Publications in European Research Areas for Social Sciences and Humanities (OPERAS-D) project, can be of high potential strategic value for promoting better accessibility and interoperability of SCI data and services.

ESFRI Roadmap 2018 – Strategy Report on Research Infrastructures. “Part 2: Landscape Analysis”. P. 76. http://roadmap2018.esfri.eu/
OPERAS banner at the ICRI 2018
photo credit: Marin Dacos

At the ICRI meeting, sessions on data, on the internationalization of Research Infrastructures, their impact, and their human resources policies were organized. It provided a platform to raise and discuss questions of evaluation and financing. The European Commission particularly highlighted the importance of research infrastructures for research on the one hand and for diplomacy on the other. The ICRI meeting, as well as the corresponding side-events, showed the great variety of Research Infrastructures in Europe and the need for developing strong collaborations between them.

OPERAS will continue to shape the landscape of European Research Infrastructures in order to create a more efficient, fair, inclusive and sustainable scholarly communication ecosystem for European researchers and to ensure that the social sciences and humanities are included in this important debate.


Elisabeth Heinemann

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

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