Working together to improve global access to research


Top priorities

The many recommendations from OSI2016 and OSI2017 participants (as summarized in the OSI2017 final report) are being carefully considered and prioritized. The OSI summit group will meet in March 2018 to finalize OSI’s action plan for 2018 and 2019 based on these recommendations. Until then, OSI will move forward with the preliminary action plan developed by the OSI director and vetted by the OSI steering committee, summit group and participants. The top priorities in this action plan are as follows:


Many studies and other information gathering efforts are needed to fill in gaps in our understanding of key scholarly communication processes and questions (embargos, global flip, more). OSI will search for ways to get these efforts underway,


OSI’s main tool to start reforming the culture of communication in academia will be (the Research & Scholarly Communication Network website), which will include new resources for the rscomm community, new tools, outreach on definitions, best practices and standards, and more. Coming January 1, 2018.


Improve coordination and collaboration between stakeholders and groups toward common goals.

Other actions that will be pursued, as time and budget permit, include improving the standards, best practices and common language in scholarly communication (some of this will be attempted as part of the effort); experimenting with and piloting new solutions; coordinating high-level policy development meetings; and more. Please see the OSI2017 summary report for details.

Closer looks

OSI participants have recommended taking a closer look at a handful of topics. Small discussion groups peeled off during 2017 to work on these; some may end up becoming future workgroup topics or OSI spin-off products or projects:

  1. Cash incentives to publish: What are the cash incentives to publish in academia? There is anectdotal evidence from some parts of the world that this is a significant and corrosive phenomenon.
  2. Publisher profit margins: The profit margins of commercial publishers has long been cited in debates about scholarly communication reform. Facts, however, are in short supply. A group of industry leaders and analysts is willing to pull together an authoritative on this topic.
  3. Open protocols: Open study protocols is an important and under-researched area. There are a few open protocol sites but none for major clinical work. What are the challenges? Is this a solvable problem?
  4. Blacklist: Should a new blacklist be developed? A whitelist? Some other solution? Various ideas have been discussed at length both on and off list and in a side group but a final decision hasn’t been reached yet.
  5. A website that pulls in data on APCs for easy comparison or where publishers can self-post pricing info (granted there would be lots of caveats) would be a valuable resource for this community. This idea preceded the blacklist discussion—we wouldn’t want to create a tool that makes it easier for fraud dealers to peddle their wares.
  6. Open impacts: Follow-up on a listserv conversation regarding a hotly-disputed report on open impacts (circulated to the list in February) by restarting this conversation with one of the report’s authors included.
  7. iTunes model: Would an iTunes model work for scholarly journals? Would providing a-la-carte access to journal articles at 99 cents apiece be attractive to scholars and publishers?

Communication reform

A common refrain from OSI2017 was that OSI’s communication channels need to be improved. While the OSI listserv has been a conspicuously active, rich and informative information space, it was never intended to be a decision-making tool for this group. Additionally, as a discussion space it isn’t ideal since many individuals prefer more time to weigh in and don’t always want to engage in contentious conversations. Here’s what’s been proposed for late 2017 and beyond:

  1. The OSI listserv will transition into becoming a forum for discussing moving OSI action-items forward—pros/cons, collaborations, etc.
  2. OSI will launch a new listserv in late 2017 as part of the outreach and resource tools being developed (see above recommendations). This list will be open to the public and will host the deep conversations about the future of scholarly communication that have heretofore been mostly only on the OSI website.
  3. OSI will launch a new website in late 2017 as part of the outreach and resource tools being developed (see above recommendations). This site may host communication tools of use to the OSI group.
  4. Slack channels will be set up to start handling the detailed group work on specific topics and projects. Basecamp will be phased out. By using Slack, our hope is that workgroups and issue groups will be able to pull in a wider variety of participants, and that these participants will have an easy-to-use, long-term resource for keeping track of conversations and efforts.
  5. A provisional summit group comprised of 35 OSI stakeholder representatives has been appointed (and will be elected by early 2018). This group will take control of the OSI agenda and will begin deciding as a group what to do and how. These decisions will be presented to the full OSI group for comment.
  6. A new monthly MailChimp newsletter will be launched to sum up topics and efforts and give everyone executive summaries of who’s doing what.
  7. Action teams will have periodic video chats.
  8. Meetings at various spots around the world are being considered for 2018 and 2019 in order to bring a more global perspective to this effort and also allow deeper dives in topics and possible solutions.