The first OSI conference was held in April 2016 (OSI2016). The goal of OSI2016 and the conversations leading up to it was to thoroughly explore the scholarly communication terrain, expose a wide variety of perspectives, and begin to daylight possible common interests.
Twelve workgroups at OSI2016 exploring such topics as what is publishing, what is open, and what are the impacts and the moral dimensions of open, developed important and detailed recommendations which are published on the OSI website. A summary of these recommendations includes that OSI should:
The delegates at OSI2017, which ran from April 18-21, 2017 (and whose deliberative process has continued throughout 2017), started looking for solutions to OSI2016 issues and issues that evolved out of OSI2016. The solutions coming out of OSI2017 so far include:
Stakeholder meetings also happened at OSI2017 and helped focus this group’s attention on what it can do together to advance the cause of open. While workgroup conversations focused on issues, stakeholder groups focused on relationships, and it’s these relationships that will be at the center of OSI’s reform efforts going forward:
If we map OSI2016 and OSI2017 recommendations on the basis of how “connected” they are (how often the challenges addressed by one OSI workgroup are described as being essential by another OSI workgroup), two topics emerge as much more important than others: the need for more studies, and the need to reform the culture of communication in academia.
If we also examine the connectedness of specific tools and processes being recommended—more meetings, more collaboration, outreach efforts and so on—it’s clear that the key recommendations are that we need more information, we need to have more coordination and collaboration in this community, and we need to do a better job with open outreach and advocacy.
Combining these insights, as the OSI group moves forward in 2017 and 2018 our priority will be to address the most prominent and affordable topics first using the most recommended tools. Since OSI doesn’t have a large enough budget at present to conduct studies, we will instead focus first on creating outreach, marketing and advocacy efforts to help change the culture of communication in academia and also on building coordination and collaboration efforts, a resource base, and so on for this topic, moving to other topics this year as time and funding permit.
We’ve already set up the website and listserv for this effort, RScomm.net (standing for research and scholarly communication network). The site will go live on January 1, 2018 and feature a wide variety of resources for the community, including open resources and definitions, OSI project details, a job board, community board and more. This will be the only resource focusing on promoting the entire open spectrum instead of just open access.
As OSI attracts more resources in the future and builds a resume of accomplishment, we can fund studies, develop new tools, work together on standards, support pilots and so on, geared first toward the central issues identified by OSI2016 and OSI2017 participants. Other approaches such as high-level meetings will come over time, as will a focus on issues such as information underload, but for now, OSI’s priorities will be to address the highest needs first with the most recommended solutions.
As these plans roll out, they will build on the common perspective OSI participants have developed over the past two meetings:
In addition to this emphasis, OSI participants have recommended taking a closer look at a handful of topics. Small discussion groups peeled off during 2017 to work on these:
Going forward, in the Spring of 2018, OSI leaders will meet to discuss OSI’s 2017-19 action plans in detail and also map out the agenda for OSI’s regional and interest-specific meetings that will happen in 2018 and 2019. These regional meetings may also have a regional and/or focus (for instance, a meeting in China is likely to take up issues of particular importance to researchers in China and then weave these concerns and solutions into the broader global agenda). Several such meetings are currently being considered.
Final versions of the OSI2017 reports were published by Mason Press. You can find these on the Mason website at https://journals.gmu.edu/osi/index. The blog posts below link to pdfs from the Mason site. Manuscript versions of these reports appear in the appendix of the OSI2017 summary report (see above link). Two sets of reports were produced this year—one addressing workgroup challenges, and another addressing stakeholder-specific ideas and concerns. The objective of these reports, unlike OSI2016 reports, was not to detail the full landscape of perspectives, but to create a first draft of solutions for moving forward as a broad stakeholder community (a number of OSI2016 reports also presented solutions, and these were extended by the OSI2017 group and synthesized in the OSI2017 summary report).