I have been working, as a librarian at the University of Zagreb, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (FHSS) Library, the largest Croatian academic library in humanities and social sciences for 15 years. My responsibilities in the library are related to a wide array of issues concerning scholarly communication: institutional repository management, e-resources acquisition, information literacy teaching, support for digital publishing, and bibliometric monitoring of research output. Such a broad range of activities taught me the needs and behaviours of scholars in humanities and social sciences, especially in an environment that could be described as a scientific (semi)periphery.
Within such a landscape, it is easy to recognise the relevance of concepts of multilingualism, bibliodiversity, alternative publishing business models and the importance of building sustainable, open and community-led infrastructure for open science. At the FHSS Library, I had the opportunity to initiate the development of the institutional repository and the institutional platform for publishing open access books – FF Open Press. At the national level, I was a member of the teams that initiated the two most important elements of the open science infrastructure in Croatia: Hrčak – Portal of Scientific Journals of Croatia (from 2004) and Dabar – Digital Academic Archives and Repositories (from 2015). In the international context, participating in the European infrastructures DARIAH and OPERAS has presented an opportunity to exchange experiences and share insights into challenges that are specific to the humanities and social sciences and for smaller, non-English-speaking countries.
I believe that these challenges, if not addressed properly, will hinder the widespread adoption of principles and practices of Open Science. The most urgent among these challenges are the discovery of multilingual and non-standard-publication scholarly content (including the wide and non-rigid notion of ‘research data’ in humanities) and the development of innovative business models for publishing in a non-commercial setting.
As a member of SPARC Europe Board, I look forward to addressing the above-mentioned challenges and to contribute to the development of international infrastructures that could accommodate and embrace all of the distinctive features of otherwise underrepresented languages, content types, business models or scholarly disciplines.