on the future of infrastructure

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Glenn Hampson

Jan 29, 2024, 11:06:29 AMJan 29
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A map of the united states

Description automatically generatedHappy Monday Everyone,


I hope your spirits aren’t crushed after yesterday’s games. Lots of drama this season?


On more work-related matters, Roger and his team at Ithaka recently conducted in-depth interviews with fifty of the glitterati of scholarly publishing. A summary of their findings is published in today’s Scholarly Kitchen (in case you haven’t already seen it); the full report is here. Here’s a teaser:

Throughout this project’s interviews, we repeatedly heard that new investment in new forms of shared infrastructure is required as well as some degree of agreement on the broad purposes that this shared infrastructure should serve. What constitutes critical infrastructure, however, was a topic on which we heard many diverse opinions, indicating a lack of alignment within the field. We have identified a variety of categories where new forms of shared infrastructure should be developed, recognizing that in some of these areas there will not be unanimity across all parts of the scholarly communication community about needs or prioritization. Key reasons that new infrastructure is needed include:

·       to address the growing atomization of the scholarly article,

·       to ensure the trustworthiness of the scholarly record,

·       to enable deeper meaning to be drawn from research outputs,

·       to address new business models, and

·       to provide an alternative system for scholarly communication.

Looking across the gaps that exist today, we observe that few are primarily the result of technical challenges. Rather, they are the result of stubborn strategic, governance, and business model impediments. In some categories, for example, one group of publishing organizations sees the imperative for shared infrastructure where another group sees the opportunity for competitive differentiation. In other key categories, governance of the shared infrastructure extends beyond publishing organizations, even if they are well-aligned with one another, adding a further layer of complexity. And there is the ever-present issue of the business model and investment case—who pays, who will pay, and for what—which in turn provide incentives for innovation or inaction.

Ultimately, the gaps—and the challenges that cause or exacerbate them—are also opportunities for those prepared to invest in the future of infrastructure to support scholarly communication. It is with a strong sense of opportunity and optimism that we deliver our recommendations.

Have a good week,





Glenn Hampson
Executive Director
Science Communication Institute (SCI)
Program Director
Open Scholarship Initiative (OSI)

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