Landscape Study


Download the full OPERAS Design Study here: OPERAS Design Study

doi: 10.5281/zenodo.1009544


The Landscape Study is a deliverable for Work Package 2 (WP2), ‘Developing network and e-infrastructure strategy’ of OPERAS-D project, which has the following objectives:

  • To identify and examine existing and emerging policies and practices in open access SSH publishing within the OPERAS network and beyond it, in particularly in
  • To identify the key stakeholders involved in open access SSH publishing in Europe and
  • To explore ways of optimizing e-infrastructure investments for OPERAS members and of creating complementarities.
  • To explore avenues for the creation of a long-term e-infrastructure strategy and communitybuilding.
  • To develop the OPERAS Design Study and implementation


To reach these objectives, the OPERAS-D team has conducted an analysis of academic and grey literature to identify and examine existing and emerging practices in open access publishing in the SSH, map the key stakeholders and outline key challenges in the open access publishing landscape and potential  issues to  be addressed by the OPERAS infrastructure.  The study focuses  primarily  on the European environment, but also presents international initiatives of interest to the current analysis. The core findings of this desk review are in turn expected to feed into the Design Study and the roadmap that will define Governance models, structures and scientific and technical concepts for future services and the requirements for long-term sustainability, as well as the design of the business model that will address the purpose and economic logic of OPERAS.


The study comprises desk research and identifies recent developments and challenges within the scholarly communication framework. In particular, it sketches the landscape of academic publishing in the SSH, with special reference to existing and emerging open access models within the OPERAS infrastructure and beyond. To this extent, the report examines important initiatives in Europe, the USA, Australia and elsewhere, in terms of operational and business models, stakeholder participation, current recommendations and good practice. Special attention is given to assessing the use and impact of open access publications, and indicating the goals and needs yet to be met.

Reference is also made to international initiatives that stand out in the open access movement, as well as policy frameworks and mandates introduced by the European Commission and/or at national level. Thus, this report highlights long-term commitments undertaken by key stakeholders towards the development of digital infrastructures, the implementation of sustainable funding models for open access publishing and the enhancement of scholarly communication processes.

As part of the ongoing debate on the dissemination of scientific output, there is an increasing demand for open access (to publications and research data), which is becoming increasingly adopted as the main practice for communicating the results of publicly funded research. A variety of complementary initiatives have been launched to this end: among these, emphasis is placed here on the opening up of the academic publishing ecosystem to new business models that enhance further the impact of open access journals and monographs in the social sciences and humanities.

In examining all emerging trends in journal and monograph publishing, the report outlines key challenges and potential issues to be addressed by future initiatives. Recently introduced and experimental models (such as scholar-led publishing bodies, and new university presses) share common orientations towards increased participation of researchers in the publishing process and overcome certain deficiencies of the commercial publishing model.

Notwithstanding the importance of such initiatives, as the Report concludes, fragmentation (both   in terms of the size and nature of publishers and of their business models) is a key characteristic in the academic publishing landscape. In this context, the main challenge in adopting effective open access publishing practices is to identify and assess current needs and limitations that permeate the academic publishing landscape, in operational as well as communication terms.

The Landscape Study confirms that successful research relies primarily on unrestricted access to high quality scientific output and cross-disciplinary, international collaboration. Shared and remotely accessed digital infrastructures constitute an important feature of the realisation of the European Research Area, and OPERAS aspires to be actively engaged in the implementation of a new mode     of science that overcomes fragmentation and enables unrestricted access to high quality scientific output.

Read  the  Full  Report:  OPERAS Landscape Study

doi: 10.5281/zenodo.1009554

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