An Interview with CHORUS on joining OASPA

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CHORUS has recently become a member of OASPA in the Infrastructure & Services (Non-Commercial) category, further enriching the growing community of members. To gain more insight into their recent affiliation with OASPA and to learn more about them, we conducted an interview with Howard Ratner, Executive Director.

Q. Tell us a bit about your organisation and the service it provides – and your role within it.

CHORUS is a not-for-profit community effort dedicated to making open research work. We are an ever-growing group of institutions, learned societies, society publishers as well as commercial publishers. Our partner agencies — NSF, DOE, DOD, NASA, USDA, JST, CSIRO and others are invaluable allies in helping us to move forward. Our goals are to help our stakeholders scale their OA compliance. We work to develop metrics about open data, improve the overall quality of metadata related to open research and host forums and workshops to connect the stakeholders so they can learn and hopefully build trust with each other. CHORUS monitors for Open Access on publisher sites. We connect datasets to published content and link articles to agency portals and grants where available. We publish dashboards, reports and APIs for our funder, institution and publisher stakeholders. We help conduct and participate in open science pilots often around connecting and improving metadata. All of this helps our stakeholders improve their metadata by giving rapid feedback about the quality of metadata being seen.

Q. Why did you decide to join OASPA and what do you hope to get out of your OASPA membership?

The OA publishing landscape is vast and multi-faceted. OASPA appears to be a community of like-minded individuals from organizations that share much in common with those of the CHORUS community regarding open access publishing. The main benefits of OASPA membership are: collaborative projects – like the OA Switchboard; sharing of experiences, knowledge exchange, and networking. OASPA membership could provide a way for CHORUS to engage with the wider open access community.

Q. How is your organization showing its commitment to making globally equitable participation in open scholarly communication a reality?

Users of the CHORUS public-facing funder dashboards and reports can quickly find the latest openly accessible research articles and conference proceedings. We work with all of our stakeholders to improve the quality and breadth of their metadata about their open access publications. By working with these stakeholders and the PID registration agencies we endeavor to lift the level of discovery for all.

CHORUS events are free, open, and virtual so anyone can join and participate in discussions about topics relevant to the OA scholarly community. All presentations and events are recorded and provided free of charge. We make an effort to include all of our stakeholders on panels and in the audience as well as balancing gender and nationalities as well.

Overall, we strive to advance open access and open science principles, making scholarly research more accessible and inclusive on a global scale. By fostering collaboration, providing infrastructure, CHORUS demonstrates its commitment to achieving globally equitable participation in open scholarly communication.

Q. What do you think are the main challenges for funders and institutions to move to incentivising open publishing practices as a positive contribution to career development?

There are several main challenges for funders and institutions to incentivize open publishing practices as a positive contribution to career development. These challenges stem from existing norms and practices within academia and the research community.

Some of the key challenges relate to quality assurance, cultural change, and costs.

Some believe that open publishing practices might compromise the rigorous peer-review process, leading to concerns about the quality and reliability of publications. Addressing these concerns requires ensuring robust peer review mechanisms and quality assurance processes within open publishing platforms.

Shifting the academic culture towards open publishing requires awareness, education, and advocacy. Researchers, institutions, and funders need to understand the benefits of open publishing practices, such as increased visibility, broader impact, and knowledge sharing. They also need to actively promote and reward open publishing efforts through recognition, grants, promotions, and career advancement opportunities.

Implementing open publishing practices involves financial and logistical challenges. This includes funding article processing charges (APCs) and other models for open access publishing, supporting the development and maintenance of open access platforms, and training researchers and staff on new publishing workflows and technologies. Funding agencies and institutions need to consider these costs and provide adequate support during the transition period.

Addressing these challenges requires a collaborative effort from researchers, institutions, funding agencies, and policymakers. It involves rethinking academic reward systems, providing financial support, fostering a culture of openness and collaboration, and developing sustainable models for open publishing.

Q. How do you think OASPA can help mitigate those challenges?

CHORUS and OASPA can be powerful allies in exploring ways to work with funders and institutions to make OA a success. We are in regular close contact with funders, publishers and institutions who would benefit from such a solution. We could help socialize and promote mutually-agreed ideas and potentially gather interest by pilots from our participating agencies and member publishers.

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