OPERAS-P supports the OPERAS Research Infrastructure by furthering the development of the infrastructure in view of achieving the necessary scientific, technical and community maturity.

To achieve OPERAS’ strategic goals, the key objectives of the OPERAS-P project are the following:

  1. Produce the necessary documentation defining OPERAS’ strategy and implementation to support the ESFRI application.
  2. Support the preparation phase of the infrastructure by implementing a legal framework, a governance and support the implementation and coordination of services.
  3. Prepare a long-term, evidence-based strategy for the development of the infrastructure and its services 
  4. Ensure outreach and advocacy for open scholarly communication in SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES, developing a communication strategy on the infrastructure and supporting the expansion of the consortium, and enhancing innovation for the future of scholarly communication practices in SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES.

Duration: July 2019 – June 2021 (24 months)

Funding: OPERAS-P is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 871069.

Project information on CORDIS: OPERAS-P

OPERAS-P Partners at the Kick-Off Meeting in Warsaw

Development of services

Beyond setting up OPERAS based on the state-of-art and development plan defined in the Design Study, OPERAS-P dedicates work to develop and integrate innovative services supporting scholarly communication practices.

OPERAS certification service

WP5 will be dedicated to the redevelopment of the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) as a central service for OPERAS. Defined as the first of the three central services of OPERAS, the DOAB, operated by OAPEN, aims at ensuring discoverability of open access books and delivering global certification for research funders and libraries. DOAB has been selected by OPERAS Core Group to be integrated and supported first because of its high level of uptake in terms of usage and its critical position for SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES researchers, particularly in the context of Plan S and the global shift towards Open Science in Europe. As part of WP5, this platform will be redeveloped into an open source platform on D-space technology. In addition, DOAB and the OAPEN Library will be integrated into one technical solution. 

OPERAS catalog of services

Due to the fragmentation of services and tools, SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES researchers in Europe struggle to define and implement their communication strategy in a complexifying landscape where publishers, platforms, infrastructures and other service providers are uncoordinated. Building on the coordination work OPERAS RI has been doing for three years, OPERAS-P project will implement a common access point to the services offered by its members. This common access point will consist in a web portal modeling the dynamics of scholarly communication in SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES, listing the relevant services provided by the OPERAS infrastructure nodes to help researchers in their selection of an appropriate publishing venue, and helping them defining a scholarly communication strategy.  Browsing the portal, researchers will be addressed to the parties who offer services and policies consistent with their needs, comparing autonomously the different options. The database will be built referring to the most advanced international standards, thus contributing to the dissemination of existing best practices, improving the quality of publishing procedures and helping dissemination and communication of research results. This action will have a double effect: it will clarify the open scholarly communication landscape for SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES European researchers and it will provide the first layer to OPERAS RI to build its catalog of services.

OPERAS check-in

To support a transparent and seamlessly access to the OPERAS platforms and to external sources of data, including services, compute and storage, the project will enable the EGI AAI Check-In (also called EGI AAI proxy) to be adopted as authentication and authorization service within the OPERAS RI. The service provides an identity and access management solution that facilitates the access to services and resources using the federated authentication mechanisms. Through the EGI AAI proxy, users will be able to authenticate with the credentials provided by the IdP of their Home Organisation (e.g. via eduGAIN), as well as using social identity providers, or other selected external identity providers.

OPERAS XML toolbox

The adoption of XML content structuration format, that could unleash the full potential of open access publications and allow for the development of more efficient scientific information services based on TDM, is currently pretty low in all disciplines. In SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES, the community has to overcome a specific obstacle which is the juxtaposition of two standards: XML JATS, adopted by the academic publishing industry, particularly in STEM and for journals (JATS stands for Journal Article Tag Suite), and XML TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) adopted by the humanities research community for books and digital editions. T4.3, will provide tools to achieve interoperability between the standards already used by researchers and service providers: XML-TEI and JATS. This work will enable best publication practices within the publishing community, fitting with researchers needs.

Innovative models and practices 

The project will also work on social innovation through WP6 Innovation, focusing on the innovative practices and models emerging in the field of open scholarly communication. This work will focus on aspects already identified in the OPERAS White Papers to ensure a constant and better understanding of the evolution of the environment, and to inform strategic choices in the future of the infrastructure. The innovation on practices will be implemented as a multi-level endeavor.

New models of governance for OPERAS RI

The current models of governance implemented by RIs are inherited from traditional organization models to ensure efficiency and reliability. OPERAS effort to achieve the same must be balanced by a capacity to be open to new models of governance that emerge from the digital environment and the rising needs of players to cooperate on the basis of personal autonomy, flexibility and opportunity, rather than exclusively on hierarchy and rational-bureaucratic formalism. The aim of this task is to deliver a state of the art and critical review on modes of governance in distributed organisations and in the digital area, a field study of innovative governances in chosen public and private organisations, and a synthesis. This work will also enable to review the application of emerging concepts (technical democracy, participatory democracy), participation and online decision-making tools (wiki, blockchain, e-voting, etc.) to OPERAS, and particularly to the governance of the community of members that is likely to be large and diverse in the future. This task will provide to OPERAS coordination team and Core Group conceptual tools to manage smoothly the wide diversity of cultural backgrounds, expertise, level of commitment within its community, which is typical of SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES communities.

Innovative business models for OPERAS members

A task in WP6, led by Open Book Publishers, will tackle Innovative Business models in publishing. It is broadly recognised that the existing business and distribution models for academic book publishing are severely challenged by innovations within Open Access (OA) publishing. In addition, the solution to such challenges adopted by many commercial publishers of charging authors high book processing charges is not viable, at scale, within HSS disciplines. Over recent years we have seen the emergence within OA publishing of a number of innovative funding models (often based around collective funding through consortia of libraries or universities) and publishing business models (most usually with the emergence of new, born-OA, University Presses and scholar-led publishers). In coordination with COPIM (Community-led Open Publishing Infrastructures for Monographs), OBP will analyse the emergence of innovative funding models within OA publishing and publishing business models, to ensure the specific needs and objectives of stakeholders based ERA are fully integrated into the development of the OPERAS RI. This work will enable groundwork to enable innovative revenue and integrated solutions in future projects.

Data FAIRification

The SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES community will be gathered to analyze and find tools to properly implement FAIR principles in the specific context of SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES, in the long-term perspective of integrating SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES data – focussing on scholarly communication products – into the European Open Science Cloud as FAIR data are the building blocks of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC). Any discipline implements the FAIR principles according to the specific nature and kind of the data produced in each field. Social Sciences and mostly Humanities deals with a wide range of broadly defined data – going from manuscripts to pictures to photos of an archaeology campaign; all the more so, even publications are data, as the long argument is the researcher’s workbench in the Humanities. The community is somehow far from aware about the EOSC, FAIR data principles and their implementation. Therefore an important and creative effort is needed to engage the community, to define what FAIR means for the discipline and how it can be achieved, with the ultimate goal to bring SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES into EOSC. These are the objective of CO-OPERAS Implementation Network that has been created in 2019 and that will be supported in its development by OPERAS-P project.

BibliodiversityThis aspect will analyse challenges and innovative models related to multilingualism within bibliodiversity in SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES. The role of language in research practices tends to be considered secondary in STEM disciplines, since there seems to be a tacit assumption that English is widely accepted as the language of communication. Besides, it tends to be promoted in (inter)national and European research and innovation policies – mainly written in English and with no or scarce reference to language use or multilingualism. In this context, SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES specific needs regarding scholarly communication in native languages has to be addressed: in those disciplines where language and concepts are very often not only means of communication but objects of research itself, the use of mother tongue is indispensable for in-depth understanding, and knowledge co-creation and sharing. In this setting, the challenge of multilingualism should lay on the concept of ‘bibliodiversity’, coined by the International Alliance of Independent Publishers, which refers to “cultural diversity applied to the world of books”; thereof, underlining the need to encompass a diversity of languages, scientific areas, publication formats, and actors. There are firm grounds to state that bibliodiversity, through multilingual publishing, is an efficient way of protecting national languages and enhancing different academic rhetorical traditions, by reaching specialists and wider audiences in a complementary way. Thereof, it is of the utmost relevance to understand how bibliodiversity, in its manifold formats and multilingual forms, is promoted through innovative practices and high-level programmatic involvement.

Future of scholarly writing

A task will explore the current writing practices in SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES and thus inform future OPERAS activities on researchers needs regarding the publishing technologies and both ongoing and upcoming transformations of the scholarly communication. Focusing on writing practices of researchers in SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES in the digital age – this sustained and unproductive conflation between form and function has been greatly complicated in the digital age, when social acceptance of certain platforms and argumentation modes have become more common in general discourse, while still viewed with suspicion in the academy. Furthermore, the methodologies opened up to humanities and arts researchers by technology are leading to hybrid outputs in which significant aspects of the argumentation are expressed as objects other than text – as a knowledge organisation framework, an interface, as mark-up, or as code. These may not look like sustained arguments as we know them, and may present significant barriers to accessing balanced and informed peer review for such objects, but at the end of the day they are arguments, as Van Zundert, Antonjevic have argued.  These innovations are one of the keys to keeping arts and humanities research vibrant and integrated in what we expect to be an increasingly problem- or mission- based, interdisciplinary research culture in Europe, and yet the systems we promote to share and validate science are acting as barriers, rather than filters.

Quality assessment of innovative research

Led by DARIAH, this will analyse quality assessment of novel research and innovative publications in the Arts and Humanities/DH research.  This task will seek to inform future innovation in the peer review.  It will undertake to differentiate forms from functions of how good scholarship is perceived and valorised through desk research, followed by surveys/interviews/workshops as well as exploring synergies with networks such as ENRESOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES and PEERE. The ability of any research community to assess the quality of the outputs produced within it is a key function, but one that has suffered great disruptions for arts and humanities in recent decades. This trend predates the digital turn: talk began already in the early 2000s about a ‘crisis in scholarly publishing’ driven by competing requirements between the role of the publishers as managers of a peer review process and of their place as controllers of the distribution networks (cf. Greenblatt).  This tension has only increased against the backdrop of digital distribution and the move toward open access, but a further layer of complexity has been added by the proliferation of new forms of scholarly output in the arts and humanities, from Twitter feeds to software code to multimedia.

List of Work Packages (WP)

WP NumberWP TitleLead Beneficiary
WP1Project management and technical coordinationCNRS (OpenEdition)
WP2Support to ESFRI applicationCNRS (OpenEdition)
WP3Support to OPERAS Research InfrastructureCNRS (Huma-Num)
WP4Transnational access to OPERAS servicesEKT
WP5Redevelopment of DOAB as central serviceOAPEN
WP6Innovation in and for OPERASIBL PAN
WP7Communication, Outreach and AdvocacyMWS


D1.1 Collaborative web platform (DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.3635284)

D1.2 Data Management Plan (DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.3635300)

D7.1 Communication and Dissemination Guide (DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.3635306)

D7.2 OPERAS-P Portal created (DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.3635312)

Background and the OPERAS Research Infrastructure

OPERAS’ concept was born out of the need to improve cooperation between players in the social sciences and humanities scholarly communication landscape, enhancing the overall quality of the ecosystem and taking care of the whole research cycle in view of enabling Open Science as a standard practice. Scholarly communication is indeed not separated from the research process but is integrated with it as a continuous communication practice that is affected by each stage of the research lifecycle. 

Specialist scholarly monographs constitute the core research output of the humanities and social sciences, together with other formats such as scholarly editions, articles, edited books. Their specificity is based on the complementarity between the medium and the content: they constitute a suitable medium to shape ideas and set out arguments allowing to deepen and feed the evidence emerging from it. As such, monographs constitute a vital and unique way of furthering scientific evaluation of research results. Therefore ensuring their integration into the digital landscape of scholarship is vital for the future of these disciplines, and their impact on science and society. 

Thus, the OPERAS research infrastructure was created to address those issues in a comprehensive manner, aiming to improve the accessibility and dissemination of publications in the SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES through a single access point; to provide joint services; to coordinate activities of strategic actors and stakeholders (research institutions, libraries, platforms, publishers, funders) in their transition to open science, and in particular open scholarly communication; to develop common good practice standards for digital open access publishing, infrastructures, services, editorial qualities, business models and funding streams, and explore alternative measurements of impact in the SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES; offer sustained training, embodying common standards, to researchers on all of the above.

The early development of OPERAS was carried out in two H2020 projects: HIRMEOS and OPERAS-D. HIRMEOS, still in progress, aims at upgrading five publishing platforms for the open access monographs by enhancing their technical capacities and services and rendering their content and technology interoperable. OPERAS-D was a design project addressing the long-term requirements for developing OPERAS. It allowed OPERAS to produce a comprehensive Design Study defining business and governance models, scientific and technical concepts for future services and establishing a roadmap for its future development. The infrastructure submitted its first application for the ESFRI 2018 roadmap. As a result of it, ESFRI identified open scholarly communication in Social Sciences and Humanities as a High Potential Strategic Area, requiring OPERAS to improve its maturity for future application to ESFRI roadmap.

Whereas those two projects and this body of work helped to design the OPERAS infrastructure, relying on the OPERAS-D Design Study, OPERAS-P supports further preparation of OPERAS and its new ESFRI application. The preparation of infrastructure will entail implementing a network of services supporting publishers and researchers needs, supporting outreach, and supporting advocacy and innovation in the open scholarly communication ecosystem. The concurrent establishment of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) widens the operational framework of OPERAS, which actively seeks connections between its infrastructure and EOSC challenges.

Communication Material