Working together to improve global access to research

OSI Governance Guidelines

July 2017 version


The principles and practices of scholarly communication are critical to the advancement of research and research knowledge.  OSI’s mission is to build a robust framework for communication, coordination and cooperation among all nations and stakeholders in order to: improve scholarly communication; find common understanding and just, achievable, sustainable, inclusive solutions; and to work collectively toward these solutions that increase the amount of research information available to the world, as well as the number of people who can access this information regardless of location or financial capability. The guiding principles of OSI are to involve the entire stakeholder community in a collaborative effort; to value all stakeholder voices and perspectives; to thoughtfully consider the consequences of all approaches; to coordinate and collaborate on developing joint solutions and efforts; and to pursue and continue refining solutions over time to ensure their implementation, effectiveness, and success.


  • SCI: The Science Communication Institute, a 501c3 non-profit charity (formerly known as the National Science Communication Institute, or nSCI)
  • OSI: The Open Scholarship Initiative, created and presently managed by SCI
  • OSI management: The OSI program director, any staff reporting to the director, and any oversight above the director from SCI or UNESCO
  • OSI participant: An individual who belongs to the OSI listserv
  • OSI summit group: An advisory group for OSI comprised of OSI participants
  • UNESCO: The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Article 1: Goals

The goals and priorities of OSI are defined by OSI management, the OSI summit group (defined below), and OSI participants subject to the provisions described herein.

Article 2: Mechanisms

The mechanisms for achieving OSI’s goals will vary and evolve over time, including but not limited to online conversations and annual meetings.

Article 3:  Authority

OSI relies on participation and feedback from OSI participants to ensure that the focus and priorities of OSI’s activities reflect the focus and priorities of the broad stakeholder community in scholarly communication and scholarly publishing.

3.1. Stewardship. Until such time and unless otherwise desired by OSI participants, the stewardship responsibility for this effort will rest with the Science Communication Institute (SCI). The SCI executive director appoints the program director for OSI, subject to such considerations that SCI may deem appropriate (such as consultation with OSI member and the SCI board).

  1. OSI program director. The OSI program director is responsible for hiring program staff, raising funds, managing all other aspects of OSI, and making all final decisions regarding the operation and financing of OSI, in consultation with partners as they may exist over time on strategic matters and with thorough and careful consideration given to input provided by the OSI summit group. The OSI program director reports to and is overseen by SCI (as described above).

3.2. Consultation. On all matters related to the content and substance of OSI, the OSI program director shall work together with OSI participants and the OSI summit group to produce programs, products, position papers and more, which accurately reflect the sense of the OSI community. The OSI program director shall solicit and consider advice and feedback provided by OSI participants and summit group to the fullest extent practicable where the director deems this information to be helpful and/or necessary. This advice is crucial for the proper functioning of OSI but it is not binding—there shall be no mechanism, for instance, compelling the program director to adopt measures by majority vote of the members (in order to protect OSI from imbalance that may occur as a result of participant recruitment over time, or participant engagement).

  1. OSI participants. OSI participants shall work together on a variety of projects and discuss matters with each other on the OSI listserv, at annual OSI meetings, and through other channels. They will be informally consulted as warranted (in the judgement of OSI management or the OSI summit group) for feedback on OSI-related matters.
    1. Appointment. OSI management will attempt to identify individuals who should become OSI participants and will reach out to these individuals as needed on an ongoing basis.
    2. Balance. See Article 4: Participant representation.
    3. Rights and authority. All OSI participants have the same right to participate in OSI listserv conversations, make recommendations to the OSI summit group, offer advice and perspective to OSI management, participate in OSI projects and efforts, and other activities not otherwise described herein.
    4. Tenure. OSI participants will opt-in annually to reaffirm their commitment to participate in OSI.
  2. OSI summit group. A committee of OSI participants known as the OSI summit group will be empowered to revise (as needed) the proposals developed by conference workgroups and other OSI participants and groups, and to prepare agreements and action plans built on these proposals after first consulting with relevant workgroups, participant groups, and the full OSI group. The summit group will also be empowered to recommend changes to the OSI governance guidelines or other OSI materials.
    1. Details on how the summit group shall operate and be elected will be added to this document as an amendment by the summit group itself.
    2. The first summit group will be appointed by the OSI director. Members of this first group will serve until an election process is determined for future OSI summit groups.

Article 4: Participant representation

It is vital that the scholarly publishing stakeholder community works together to build OSI, and views this effort as a collective investment—of time, money, intellect, effort, and goodwill—in order to ensure that OSI develops in a sustainable manner, and is both representative of and responsive to this community. To this end, including a broad array of perspectives in OSI is important. OSI will strive to ensure that listserv membership, annual meeting attendance, and summit group composition reflect this variety in rough proportion to the goals and quotas defined annually by the OSI summit group and reviewed by OSI participants (noting that group definitions and numbers are going to be continually refined over time as OSI’s outreach and understanding grows).

Article 5: Sponsors, partners & hosts

OSI sponsors, partners and hosts (as defined below) receive no special privileges or consideration in terms of agenda items or favorable decisions—only increased visibility from sponsorship acknowledgements. Sponsorship and funding decisions that may be problematic will be referred to the OSI summit group for advice.

  • 5.1 Sponsors and funders. OSI may be supported by sponsors and funders over time, including individuals, universities, companies and government organizations.
  • 5.2 Partners. Some OSI sponsors and funders will be deemed “partners” on the basis of their financial support or project involvement at the discretion of OSI management.
  • 5.3 Hosts. Hosts will most often be universities. Hosting OSI meetings gives institutions a unique opportunity to showcase work and involve individuals (in the case of universities, these might be administrators, researchers, faculty, staff and students) beyond what would be possible as a meeting participant. Hosts may also be granted certain privileges with regard to participating in planning meetings, and may also be considered partners in some cases.

Article 6: Legal commitments

There are no legal commitments involved in participating in OSI as an individual participant, institution, summit group member, supporter, or any other capacity, except for the OSI program director, who is legally bound to this effort through the contracts that are signed for its funding and for program-related needs and activities.

Article 7: Durability

As long as the Science Communication Institute is entrusted with this effort, SCI will ensure the long-term durability of OSI and its products and assets at a minimum through calendar year 2025, barring any other management arrangements that OSI participants choose through the mechanism described herein.

Article 8: Transparency

All records related to OSI (apart from private communications and the unique reports filed to sponsors so requesting) will be available for public review from SCI until 2026. If another entity assumes responsibility for OSI (or if OSI becomes its own entity), this responsibility for transparency will be required to endure.