Sustaining Openness: Ensuring the Long Term Viability of Open Science, OER and More

Virtual Conference

Current thinking is that scientific research should be readily reproducible, discoverable, and openly accessible. There is also significant drive to develop open educational resources in the interests of easing economic burdens on student populations. The challenge then for libraries, content providers and platform providers is how best to implement strategies, technologies and practices in support of those concerns.

But there are questions that must be addressed in discussing open science, open educational resources, open access monographs, etc. What supports are necessary in bringing this open approach into reality? What may be feasible in building an inclusive and collaborative knowledge infrastructure in this environment? What are key elements or best practices? What fiscal models or arrangements might be needed to ensure sustainability? Which sector (academic, government/public, commercial, etc.) is best positioned to muster the necessary resources?

Confirmed speakers for this event include (among others) Mark Hahnel, CEO and Founder, Figshare; Kathy Essmiller, Visiting Assistant Professor, Oklahoma State University; Mike Taylor, Head of Metrics Development, Digital Science; Judy Ruttenberg, ARL Program Director, Association of Research Libraries; Judy Luther, President, Informed Strategies; and Geoffrey Bilder, Director of Technology & Research, Crossref. 



Event Sessions

12:00 – 12:15 Welcome


12:15 - 12:45 Born Digital – Why Not Open?


Progress in the growth of Open Access journals has fueled a much broader vision for open scholarship.  What will it take to achieve an open, sustainable future – for research and for educational content?  Government and private funders have played a key role in accelerating OA with requirements for access to research.  State legislatures have supported Open Educational Resources in an effort to reduce the high cost of textbooks for students.  Libraries are embracing new roles in publishing and supporting data management.  Publishers are experimenting with new approaches to peer review.  With all this activity there is still much to be done.  How can existing resources be realigned to provide the necessary financial and cultural changes that will support a sustainable future?  Asking the key questions will help us succeed.

12:45 - 1:15 Open Research Data has arrived - Who is going to peer review it?


With recent US government policy updates around open access to federally funded research data, we now see requirements globally for researchers to make their data open. Whilst this is a fantastic first step for reproducibility and trust, if society really wants to move further, faster in research discovery - the data need to be FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Re-usable) for both humans and machines. To achieve this, there is a level of metadata improvement and even curation - a task handled in traditional publishing by publishers and peer reviewers. Who will fill this role for the coming avalanche of public, digital, research outputs?

1:15 - 1:45 Implementing Open Science Principles through Research Partnerships


Judy Ruttenberg

Program Director for Strategic Initiatives
Association of Research Libraries

Through its Scholars and Scholarship program, the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is working on several initiatives to apply the recommendations in the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s “Open Science by Design.” These involve critical partnerships with scholarly and learned societies; academic leadership, through the Association of American Universities (AAU) and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU); and within institutions to advance research integrity as scholarship and information transform. This talk will highlight the principles behind these efforts, and the opportunity presented by bringing together scholars, societies, research libraries, library publishers, university presses, and investors. Ultimately, the value of research is judged on its integrity, its dissemination and reuse. As collaborative partners, research libraries are integral to knowledge creation and barrier-free and enduring access to information. The paper highlights emerging roles and types of institutional partnerships as research libraries transform with the changing conditions of scholarship.

1:45 - 2:00 Break

2:00 - 2:30 OER: How To Train Y’OER’ Dragon: Sustainability and OER


Ideas that seem great out in the wild sometimes take on a different shimmer once we try to implement them at home. Open Educational Resources (OER) have been described as akin to free beer or a free puppy. As OER publishing programs become increasingly incorporated into the higher ed landscape, it has been suggested that their potential power and associated challenges make guiding such programs more like training a dragon. 

Research suggests that improved access and opportunities for innovative pedagogy afforded through the use of Open Educational Resources (OER) can help facilitate student success. The creation and intentional licensing of educational resources such that they can be freely shared or adapted can maximize “access, equity, distribution, [and] participation” (Stacey & Pearson, 2017, p. 7). These benefits suggest a “relationship between openness and social justice” (Crissinger, 2015, p. 2). Such promises are enticing for educators committed to providing transformative higher ed experiences for their students.

The reality of sustaining an OER program, however, may be overwhelming once you are tending to it in your own backyard.  Issues associated with the people, workflow and infrastructure necessary to support the production and sharing of resources (Wiley, 2007, p. 5) can, if unanticipated, have results counterproductive to the goals of those who brought the idea home. This presentation will share the results of a research case study whose findings influenced prioritization of sustainability through collaboration and partnership in the development of an OER publishing program at a land-grant research institution academic library. 

It is hard for one person to take care of a dragon. In this presentation we will figure out how to build a team.

2:30 - 3:00 Open Access Monographs: Managing Resources, Managing Discovery


The move towards Open Access journals has been underway for almost two decades: even so, the further we progress, the more we realize how much further there is to go. In contrast, the movement towards Open Access books has barely started, and to add to the challenge, they need to fit into a world largely defined by the needs of OA articles. The challenges that monographs face are substantial: funding, discovery, evaluation, and business models. All of these need to be adapted to support the growth, discovery and management of OA monographs. To add to the complexity, the monograph environment is much more diverse than the journal. They are dominated by outputs in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, they are more international, they are disproportionatly represented in non-English languages, and there are 10,000s of small, independent publishers.

3:00 - 3:30 The Collaborative Knowledge Infrastructure


  • Is the existing Web the best form of a collaborative open knowledge infrastructure?
  • Are the building blocks of a different type of open infrastructure under consideration or in place?
  • How would such a global knowledge infrastructure be sustained?
  • What might be the best next steps?

3:30 – 4:00pm Roundtable Discussion


Additional Information

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