Someone has to pay: The global sustainability coalition for open science services (SCOSS)

Authors : Martin Borchert, Vanessa Proudman

The Open Access (OA) and Open Science (OS) movement is gaining momentum with an increasing number of scholarly outputs openly and freely available to researchers and the community. OA and OS cannot however, be free for everyone.

Someone has to pay for the infrastructure and there has to be a supporting economy. While many commercial publishers are charging for OA, there are many OA and OS infrastructure providers baring the cost of providing infrastructure. Without funding, essential services that many are dependent upon to implement government and funder OA policies worldwide, are at risk of service degradation, reduced availability and even survival. Something had to be done.

In response, the Global Sustainable Coalition for Open Science Services (SCOSS) was formed in 2017 as a result of collaborations between key global stakeholders, with SPARC Europe as the co-ordinator.

It aims to develop and apply a rigorous proposal and assessment process to provide guidance to the OA and OS community on what to fund.

It uses a new financial crowdfunding contribution model seeking a three-year commitment for funding for the services it recommends. This will help improve the financial position, resilience and sustainability of these OA / OS infrastructure services and will help them on their way to find a mid to long-term sustainable solution for years to come.

The first open science services to receive assistance were Sherpa RoMEO which is operated by the Joint Information Steering Committee (Jisc, UK) and provides summary information of journal and publisher OA polices; and the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) which provides a list of over 10,000 peer-reviewed open access journals.

Since launching in November 2017, a growing number of university libraries from across the globe are committing to fund Sherpa/Romeo and DOAJ for the next there years.

This paper will provide an introduction to SCOSS and its purpose, governance, processes, and challenges and will give an update on institutional financial commitments to date.