Start of OPERAS-GER: First national node of OPERAS in Germany
On 1 October 2020, the OPERAS-GER project has started its work within the Max Weber Foundation (also member of the OPERAS Executive Assembly). OPERAS-GER serves as the national node of the European research infrastructure OPERAS in Germany. The project is initially planned for the duration of 3 years (10/2020 to 09/2023) and is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
The development of national nodes is an important step for OPERAS. OPERAS with its purpose to support open scholarly communication has already become a known and relevant distributed infrastructure in the field of social sciences and humanities. Since 2020, OPERAS is organized as a legal entity. To strengthen the bond between the European and national (or regional) levels more successfully, it is strategically important to communicate the services towards national communities more efficiently and to increase the uptake of community-feedback at the same time.
In this sense, national nodes are important to aggregate existing approaches and resources from the national community, to contribute at a European level to OPERAS. On the other side, it is also relevant to systematically connect relevant national stakeholders in individual countries. The social sciences and humanities community faces diverse challenges in each country involving different approaches to open access, funding and governance. There is often a fragmentation not only at a national, but also at a regional and disciplinary level. Moreover, national resources are sometimes limited to national users.
“I worked for 5 ½ years in the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and know how important collaboration in research is, to expand horizons and aggregate resources. Therefore, I am happy to join the OPERAS community and help strengthen the bonds between Germany and the European level.” – Marlen Töpfer
The research infrastructure takes fragmentation and challenges in consideration, given that OPERAS builds a transnational access to scholarly communication resources and services. At the same time it develops services available for researchers across the European Research Area. At a European level, in the OPERAS Special Interest Groups, the social sciences and humanities community exchanges knowledge and develops future projects on specific topics. And consequently, the development of new services may arise.
Furthermore, national nodes are especially important to coordinate and link these approaches and raise awareness of what is being developed at a national level. In several countries within the OPERAS Executive Assembly members, approaches to implement national nodes are arising. The project OPERAS-P focuses on developing a handbook for national nodes (a living document to support the communication of the national nodes towards their national community) and organising national node workshops in different countries. This sets a strong focus on strategies towards the building of national nodes.
“Having just started my PhD, being able to participate in OPERAS-GER and the OPERAS network provides invaluable insight into the German and European research landscapes. It is exciting to get to know the latest developments in opening up access to research data and research results in the social sciences and humanities already as a junior researcher.“ – Larissa Saar
The OPERAS-GER project is the first funded start of a national node. The aim of OPERAS-GER is to transfer the objectives and services of the project from the European level to the national level, and therefore to enhance awareness of OPERAS in Germany. Simultaneously, the German community aims to contribute at a European level in form of services, knowledge and needs.
As an initiative, it contributes to the enhancing links between European research infrastructures and members of the German scientific landscape who are active in the area of social sciences and humanities and open access publishing/open scholarly communication. The services of the OPERAS community, which are being developed at a European level, will be presented and made available to the German research landscape within the framework of the OPERAS-GER project. Simultaneously, the needs of the German scientific community should be integrated at a European level.
In doing so, OPERAS-GER serves as an intermediary between research infrastructures on the European level and in Germany. At the same time, OPERAS-GER contributes to the strengthening of the Open Science movement and the enforcement of the FAIR principles.
The OPERAS-GER project is supervised by Marlen Töpfer, as communication officer at the Max Weber Foundation, and Larissa Saar, as an academic assistant. The Max Weber Foundation (MWS) is an Executive Assembly Member of OPERAS as well as in charge of the global communication strategy for OPERAS at European level. It is also part of several Special Interest Groups within the OPERAS projects. Its team consists of Elisabeth Ernst, Judith Schulte, Stefanie Pohle and Michael Kaiser.
If you are interested in the project at a national level or have any further questions, please feel free to contact us at toepfer[at]maxweberstiftung.de.