Open science round-up: October 2023

The October 2023 Open Science Roundup is dedicated to International Open Access Week, a yearly celebration endorsing open access (OA) to scholarly output and creating a more equitable knowledge society. This month, we hear from Ginny Hendricks from Crossref on Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs)

Open science round-up: October 2023

The theme for the 2023 iteration of Open Access Week is “Community over Commercialization.” Acknowledging the International Open Access Week’s 2023 theme we bring about the experience of Crossref, the world’s largest registry of Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) and metadata for the scholarly research community. This is followed by an overview of the most recent advancements and prospects in open science.


Reflecting on Open Infrastructure at the conclusion of Open Access Week 2023 

The theme of ‘community over commercialization’ resonates with me as a community director of a nonprofit, although I think that commercial entities can still be a force for good and that ‘open’ should not be conflated with ‘nonprofit’. 

My organization, Crossref, is a global nonprofit infrastructure that helps people connect all kinds of research objects—from grants to articles, and our registry covers ~150 million records today. We support the whole ecosystem in creating and distributing open metadata about these research objects,  and we provide tools that help assess the trustworthiness of the research.  

Crossref infrastructure is used billions of times every month, with community members from 152 countries creating and connecting metadata and even more parties across academia, industry, government, and society relying on retrieving that metadata to use in e.g. search and discovery systems, research assessment, or for meta-research. Many researchers may never have heard of Crossref, but they probably use its infrastructure unknowingly every day. 

Almost all of Crossref’s new members, with 250 joining each month, are open-access publishers, with more than half of them academic-led, so started by scholars or based at universities.  

So, what do we mean by ‘open’ in the context of a scholarly infrastructure like Crossref? This is an important question that can partly be answered by the Principles of Open Scholarly Infrastructure (POSI), which were developed in 2015 by Bilder et al and are being further honed by the 15 organizations that have publicly adopted them and routinely self-audit against them. These organizations are using POSI as both a public commitment and as a guide for their operations to become or remain more open. Not all of them are not-for-profit. 

‘Open’ in the infrastructure context means findable and available for reuse, or ‘forkable’ for those familiar with the world of coding. The POSI principles are applied to everything from software and code to legal contracts and staff policies to board governance and financial sustainability plans—these should all be publicly available if one claims to be open, and Crossref is making its operations more and more transparent every day. The community is then free to inspect the evidence to make sure our operations align with our promised purposes and values. We don’t do this because of our tax status as a not-for-profit but because we are committed to POSI. 

If open scholarly infrastructures like Crossref underpin the mechanisms of open access to research, then the community, including policymakers, could also apply the POSI framework to assess which organizations to include in its guidance and decide which ones to support directly.  

Ginny Hendricks
Director of Member & Community Outreach, Crossref

Since 2015, Ginny has been developing a community team at Crossref encompassing community engagement & comms, member experience, technical support, and metadata strategy. Before joining Crossref, she ran ‘Ardent’ for a decade, where she consulted within scholarly communications for awareness and growth strategies, branding and launching online products, and building digital communities. In 2018 she founded the Metadata 20/20 collaboration to advocate for richer, connected, reusable, and open metadata, and she helps guide several open infrastructure initiatives such as ROR and POSI. She recently co-founded FORCE11’s Upstream community blog for all things open research. 

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The information, opinions and recommendations presented by our guests are those of the individual contributors, and do not necessarily reflect the values and beliefs of the International Science Council.

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