The Global Sustainability Coalition for Open Science Services (SCOSS)
Facilitating funding to ensure the long-term sustainability of Europe’s Open Science infrastructure
Support for open access to published research and data continues to grow. Also growing are high-level efforts — from the likes of the EU and funding bodies like the Wellcome Trust — to make the open sharing of research findings conditional to funding.
While such policy directives are essential to advancing open access, so too is an infrastructure that can support a publishing landscape steadily migrating to a state where “Open” is the default.
Many key services that now comprise the existing infrastructure, which has evolved over time, are non-commercial and far from financially secure. Some could even be described as “at risk”.
Being that many of these services are now fundamental to implementing Open Access and Open Science policies and supporting these workflows, securing them has become a growing concern of the broader OA and OS community.
The formation of the Global Sustainability Coalition for Open Science Services (SCOSS) represents a community-led effort to help maintain, and ultimately secure, vital infrastructure.
This recognition of the cruciality of such infrastructure, and of securing it, is what led to the formation of the Global Sustainability Coalition for Open Science Services (SCOSS).
Groundwork for the coalition was laid by the Knowledge Exchange, which presented many of the foundational ideas for it in its 2016 report Putting Down Roots, Securing the Future of Open Access Policies.
The Global Sustainability Coalition for Open Science Services (SCOSS) is a network of influential organisations committed to helping secure OA and OS infrastructure well into the future. Officially formed in early 2017, SCOSS’ purpose is to provide a new co-ordinated cost-sharing framework that will ultimately enable the broader OA and OS community to support the non-commercial services on which it depends.
SCOSS will function primarily to help identify and track, via a registry, non-commercial services essential to Open Science, and to make qualified recommendations on which of these services should be considered for funding support.
At present, the coalition is comprised of the following: the Council of the Australian University Librarians (CAUL), LIBER, EIFL and SPARC Europe. Membership is open to organisations that can represent research funding and/or performing organisations, including libraries and researchers.
Also involved in the initial planning for the coalition were the Australasian Open Access Strategy Group (AOASG), The Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR), The European Research Council (ERC), The European University Association (EUA), The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), and Science Europe. Initial input was also provided by SPARC.
Each year, the coalition will invite non-commercial OA/OS services to apply for SCOSS co-ordinated funding. The SCOSS board will evaluate applicants rigorously based on criteria including the service’s value to communities such as funders, universities, libraries, authors, research managers and repositories; and on details pertaining to their governance structure, costs, sustainability measures, and future plans.
Those services determined to be eligible will be proposed by the coalition to the wider OA/OS community, in a fashion similar to crowdfunding. Employing a funding structure devised and managed by SCOSS, research affiliated organisations and institutions of all sizes and funders throughout the world, will be invited to contribute financially to the service for a defined three-year period. This temporary funding is intended to support OA/OS service providers so that they may obtain a more secure financial footing.
Up to two services may be selected for funding during each funding cycle.
If you are a non-commercial provider of services that has as its primary objective to support open access/open science infrastructure, and you are in need of financial support, please consider applying.
Or, if you are an Open Science and/or Open Access advocate and user, funder, research institution, library or member of a research community, and you would like to recommend a certain service for funding, please reach out to us.
For a thorough understanding of what is required to apply, see our evaluation procedure and SCOSS application.
The coalition is currently in the midst of making its first appeal to the academic and library communities for funding on behalf of the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and SHERPA RoMEO, two widely-used services within academia. Both have been vetted by SCOSS.
Following are excerpts from their applications where they define their services and speak to their value to the community:
“Sherpa RoMEO is an online service that aggregates and analyses publisher open access policies from around the world and provides summaries of self-archiving permissions and conditions of rights given to authors on a journal-by-journal basis. The service is available free of charge at the point of use and is used worldwide as a respected and authoritative source for the interpretation of publishers’ copyright transfer agreements (CTAs) as they relate to open access archiving.
Sherpa RoMEO is widely considered to be an essential part of the open access environment, in giving information and guidance to depositors who wish to make material available on an open access basis, whether in subject repositories, central archives, institutional repositories or otherwise.
Sherpa RoMEO serves the following stakeholder groups: Repository Managers and Administrators, Academic Authors and Researchers, Research Managers, Open Access Software Developers and Publishers.”
“DOAJ is primarily (but not only) a list of peer-reviewed open access journals covering all disciplines and more than 50 languages. Journals are listed after a detailed evaluation based on the application from journals/publishers. DOAJ receives around 500 applications per month. The rejection rate is around 50%. Evaluation is free of charge, like all other DOAJ services. DOAJ provides as well article metadata (currently 70% of journals upload article metadata) for download/harvesting. Currently DOAJ lists nearly 9.400 journals and 2.500.000 article metadata records are available. The data DOAJ provide are harvested and downloaded with an API and integrated in all major discovery services, indexing databases etc.
DOAJ has become the reference point for good open access journals. DOAJ serves research funders, research managers, universities, libraries, researchers, students and the public as well as publishers. DOAJ is as well an important source for research in scholarly publishing.”
Organisations interested in becoming part of the voluntary endowment network providing temporary financial support to DOAJ and/or SHERPA/RoMEO should consult the following flat fee funding structure devised by SCOSS.
For each of the services (DOAJ and SHERPA RoMEO) an organisation chooses to help support, the following would apply:
- Large organisations from high-income countries would contribute Euros 4000 annually for a period of 3 years
- Small organisations from high-income countries would contribute Euros 2000 annually for a period of 3 years
- Funders would contribute Euros 8000 annually for a period of 3 years
- For organisations from low and middle income countries and others with lower incomes it is suggested that they contribute 500 euros per year for 3 years.
- A 10% discount would be deducted for consortia of 10 organisations or more
- Organisations may choose between paying up front for 3 years or annually.
- Funding transactions will take place between the service provider and the funder, and not via SCOSS.
Please note that numbers have been based on what the coalition estimates it can achieve to reach the targets of each service across the three years.
For DOAJ the target is 970 000 euros. See DOAJ’s workplan for the funding period here.
For Sherpa/RoMEO the target is 1 529 935 euros. See SHERPA/RoMEO’s workplan for the funding period here.
In subsequent years we may reduce the recommended fees based on how many contributors we have or based on the annual figures from each service.
Any organisations that cannot commit to the sums above but still wish to contribute, please contact SCOSS at email@example.com.
For organisations that choose to fund DOAJ and/or SHERPA RoMEO, please contact:
Azhar Hussain for SHERPA/RoMEO (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lars Bjørnshauge for DOAJ (email@example.com)
The support of many organisations and institutions is vital in securing a future for Open Science that is truly open.
If you are interested in applying for funding for one of the calls, you can download the application form here.