We recently welcomed Jisc as an OASPA member in the Supporting Services and Infrastructure (Non-Commercial) category. Jisc joins over 200 OASPA members.
We asked Liz Bal, Director of Open Research Services and Caren Milloy, Director of Licensing, a few questions so we could learn more about Jisc and its connection to open scholarship and the decision to become an OASPA member.
Tell us a bit about your organisation, the service it provides
Jisc is the UK digital, data and technology agency focused on tertiary education and research and innovation. We are a not-for-profit organisation and believe education and research improves lives and that technology improves education and research.
We negotiate and license content and software for and with the research and education sectors, underpinned by intelligence and data driven insights. Our negotiations are driven by our strategic groups and the requirements of our members to achieve a rapid and affordable transition to open access. We have a strong focus on data – utilising intelligence to drive negotiations and providing analytics to enable members to make evidence-based decisions about their collections development. Over the past few years, we have extended our work to cover more mission-driven, society and fully open access publishers.
Alongside our licensing services, we support the sector throughout the research lifecycle, by enabling change, reducing and removing barriers and promoting best practice. This includes the provision of critical information relating to journals and repositories via Sherpa, OpenDOAR, JUSP and IRUS, as well as connecting infrastructure and community support through the UK ORCID consortium and Publications Router.
More recently we have launched Octopus, an entirely open platform where ideas and findings can be freely read, reviewed and published with the aim of improving research culture and broadening access to research at all stages.
Why did you decide to join OASPA and what do you hope to get out of your OASPA membership?
We joined OASPA as we see synergies between the two organisations in terms of our commitment to breaking down the barriers to accessing research. Over the years, OASPA has played an important role in fostering collaboration and inclusive approaches to OA. A notable example of this is the OA Switchboard, which was founded by OASPA in 2020. We are excited at the potential for engagement between the OA Switchboard and our new service (under development) to monitor and report on open access publications, which will benefit higher education institutions, funders and publishers.
What are the short and medium-term priorities for your organisation in relation to open scholarship?
Jisc is committed to helping our stakeholders transition to an open and equitable future and has been involved in this space for some time. In the short term, Jisc is playing a key role in implementing the OA policies of some of our research funder partners, namely UKRI, Wellcome, and NIHR. This involves identifying funded articles and the venues in which they are published, evaluating which routes these publishers provide and their compliance with the policies and then working to secure agreements that are both funder compliant and meet sector requirements. We are also providing tools for authors and institutions to help them navigate the available open access options and ensure that associated workflows are as efficient and simple as possible.
Looking slightly further forward, our medium-term priorities are investigating opportunities for open access for monographs (partly in relation to our work supporting UKRI’s OA policy) and support for diamond OA publishers and associated infrastructure, such as through our Open Access Community Framework (OACF) programme.
What do you think are the main challenges for the communication of scholarship generally in the near future?
As with so much in open research, one of the major challenges is simply making the information as clear as possible and ensuring that the right people are aware of what is going on – and the benefits. It sounds so easy to say “ensure that there is the right level of advocacy” but it is never as straightforward as one might think. Researchers are continuously bombarded with information, and they are rightly concerned with anything that will take them away from their work. The main challenge is to give them the tools to do their research, get the results published, with minimal disruption. It is the same with ensuring that the research community are aware of what has been produced.
At Jisc, one of our major areas of work in and around open research, is to be a collaborator of choice for national and international efforts. In moving to facilitate greater collaboration, such as our relationship with OASPA, the messages we want to relay can be fine-tuned and strengthened more efficiently.
How do you think OASPA can help mitigate those challenges?
As an active membership organization and network, OASPA has a key role to play in the dissemination of information and data related to scholarly communications, as evidenced by its leadership on the OA Switchboard initiative. OASPA also has a big role to play in promoting the use of shared standards in publishing and removing proprietary barriers so as to simplify the author journey.
Any publisher interested in exploring funder-compliant OA publishing agreements with Jisc is asked to please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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