Open Scholarship and the Need for Collective Action

The Knowledge Exchange book 'Open Scholarship and the Need for Collective Action' aims to build a common understanding of the complex system of scholarly production

1 January 2018 - 30 September 2019,  00:00 - 00:00, 


Following the report ‘Knowledge Exchange Approach to Open Scholarship' and in line with the recommendations resulting from the workshop report Moving from Ambition to Reality, Knowledge Exchange developed a framework to articulate the changes occurring in scholarly communications: The Knowledge Exchange Open Scholarship Framework

On the basis of this framework, we identified further work to understand the Economy of Open Scholarship as a priority and have worked on two interconnected activities dedicated to the Economy of Open Scholarship; one practical - Insights into the Economy of Open Scholarship and one conceptual - Open Scholarship and the need for Collective Action.

The purpose of this conceptual strand of work is to improve our economic understanding of the processes, supporting services and organisational forms that underpin research in the digital age. Ultimately, our goal is to understand how best to use the full range of economic,organisational and technological strategies, including commercial for-profit providers, to maximise the overall collective and public good that arises from investments in scholarship. This will help the Knowledge Exchange partner organisations to effectively intervene for example to provide services and infrastructures that better support open scholarship and to decide what positions to take on emerging questions relating to open scholarship.

Purpose of the book

However,our ability to talk about and to eventually design interventions is limited by the lack of a common understanding of the complex system of scholarly production.

The first step in this strand of work is therefore to develop a description of the Economy of Open Scholarship using and developing appropriate concepts and theoretical models. This will include:

  • collecting existing relevant concepts and models
  • If possible attempt to synthesise them and agree where each concept is most helpful for the purposes outlined above.

Examples of actions and types of situations we'd like to analyse on the basis of this framework include:

  • Why have we been unsuccessful in separating the issue of ownership of services from that of ownership of data/resources? Can we safeguard data/resources/outputs?
  • Why is the scholarly community so poor at developing and imposing regulatory frameworks?
  • What has and has not worked in our scholarly communities, services and infrastructures with regard to financial sustainability, stable and inclusive governance, regulatory frameworks and the trust of stakeholders?
  • What makes services, infrastructures and communities sustainable over the long term, and how can they be sustained throughout a natural life cycle of growth and decline?
  • How and where are our existing infrastructures and institutions failing to support Open Scholarship? Do they need changing or replacing?
  • How do we appropriately value and control the assets (many collective) of research communities and institutions?
  • Who will pay for Open Scholarship? The amount of data grows, requirements on custody, sharing, documentation all grow, budgets don't grow. Will there always be a tension between the most Open solution and the most cost effective solution?
  • What kinds of interventions (for example by funders or service providers) introduce incentive patterns that support open scholarship, and how do these relate to economic and symbolic value in scholarship?
  • How do both these questions and their possible answers vary by discipline and for different kinds of interdisciplinary research? And between blue-skies research and more applied R+D?

Categories we'd like to cover/concepts we're interested in include:

  • Questions of governance, sustainability, funding and ownership i.e. what makes services, infrastructures and communities sustainable over the long term?
  • Prestige/reputation as a component of the scholarly economy
  • Theory of commons
  • Micro-economics, competition and ideas such as price sensitivity

Participants and contributingauthors to the resulting book:

  • Rene Belsø, DEIC, Denmark
  • Magchiel Bijsterbosch, SURF, the Netherlands
  • Bas Cordewener, Knowledge Exchange
  • Jérôme Foncel, University of Lille, France
  • Sascha Friesike, Berlin University of the Arts and Weizenbaum Institute for Networked Society, Germany
  • Aileen Fyfe, University of St Andrews, United Kingdom
  • Neil Jacobs, Jisc, United Kingdom
  • Matthias Katerbow, DFG, Germany
  • Mikael Laakso, Hanken School of Economics, Finland
  • Cameron Neylon, Curtin University, Australia (lead author and editor)
  • Laurents Sesink, Leiden University, the Netherlands

Acknowledgements go to:

  • Faith Bosworth - Booksprints facilitator
  • Juliane Kant DFG/Knowledge Exchange. Co-lead KE activity ‘Economy of Open Scholarship Conceptual Models'
  • Barbera Rühling - Booksprints CEO
  • Verena Weigert - Jisc/Knowledge Exchange. Lead KE activity ‘Economy of Open Scholarship conceptual models'
  • Sarah James Knowledge Exchange office

A collaboration between

  • dfg
  • csc-it center for science
  • jisc
  • cnrs
  • surf
  • deff