Bilder 2015 Figshare

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Bilder G, Lin J, Neylon C (2015) Principles for open scholarly infrastructure-v1. Figshare: retrieved 2019-04-18 http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.1314859.

» Science in the Open

Bilder G, Lin J, Neylon C (2015) Figshare

Abstract: Everything we have gained by opening content and data will be under threat if we allow the enclosure of scholarly infrastructures. We propose a set of principles by which Open Infrastructures to support the research community could be run and sustained.

What should a shared infrastructure look like? Infrastructure at its best is invisible. We tend to only notice it when it fails. If successful, it is stable and sustainable. Above all, it is trusted and relied on by the broad community it serves. Trust must run strongly across each of the following areas: running the infrastructure (governance), funding it (sustainability), and preserving community ownership of it (insurance). In this spirit, we have drafted a set of design principles we think could support the creation of successful shared infrastructures.


Bioblast editor: Gnaiger E

Selected quotations

  • Over the past decade, we have made real progress to further ensure the availability of data that supports research claims. This work is far from complete. We believe that data about the research process itself deserves exactly the same level of respect and care. The scholarly community does not own or control most of this information. For example, we could have built or taken on the infrastructure to collect bibliographic data and citations but that task was left to private enterprise. Similarly, today the metadata generated in scholarly online discussions are increasingly held by private enterprises. They do not answer to any community board. They have no obligations to continue to provide services at their current rates, particularly when that rate is zero.
  • We do not contest the strengths of private enterprise: innovation and customer focus. There is a lot of exciting innovation in this space, much it coming from private, for profit interests, or public-private partnerships. Even publicly funded projects are under substantial pressures to show revenue opportunities. We believe we risk repeating the mistakes of the past, where a lack of community engagement lead to a lack of community control, and the locking up of community resources. In particular our view is that the underlying data that is generated by the actions of the research community should be a community resource – supporting informed decision making for the community as well as providing as base for private enterprise to provide value added services.
Governance
  • If an infrastructure is successful and becomes critical to the community, we need to ensure it is not co-opted by particular interest groups.
Sustainability
  • Financial sustainability is a key element of creating trust.
Insurance
  • Even with the best possible governance structures, critical infrastructure can still be co-opted by a subset of stakeholders or simply drift away from the needs of the community. Long term trust requires the community to believe it retains control.
Implementation
  • Principles are all very well but it all boils down to how they are implemented.


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