Transforming Scholarly Communications: Bringing researchers into the conversation

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FORCE11 is a community of scholars, librarians, archivists, publishers and research funders working together to help facilitate improved knowledge creation and sharing. We have grown from a small group into an open movement of like-minded individuals advocating for a diverse set of emerging technologies, policies, funding mechanisms and business models.

The Researcher's Voice in Transforming Scholarly Communications

In recent years, we have seen increased support for yet another chapter in the ongoing transformation of journal publishing to a variety of Open Access models. New agreements between publishers and institutions represent the current challenge to pre-existing norms across the globe.  As the ultimate benefactors of any transformation, research groups and academic committees on university campuses around the globe have looked for ways to participate in this change and to be part of the dialogue.  Some researchers and academic community groups continue to educate themselves on the complex, interconnected scholarly communications ecosystem, while others have already made clear public statements of the values they believe should be foundational to any discussion relating to the dissemination of scholarly work.  

One challenge throughout the move to Open Access to content has been how to create a forum that allows researchers to clearly articulate their perspective, which is critical for negotiators and policy makers to have at hand as they codify new business arrangements on the researchers’ behalf.  Statements crafted by researchers have the ability to articulate what is expected of their representatives in contract negotiations and -what are fundamental mechanisms to access their collective outputs.  

Building on the existing work already done by many research groups and academic communities, this Working Group aims to craft exemplar statements by/for researchers that can be modified and customized for different contexts.  The goal is to give individual researchers and academic committees a starting point as they build their own statements of how they aim to fit in wider scholarly communications negotiations.

Our Scope

Each campus and research group that is looking to support Open Access has its own strategy.  At each campus, the contract negotiator is the spokesperson for that strategy.  Many researchers are looking to articulate the values and principles they want to be the focus of that strategy as the negotiator crafts any new agreements. Our effort is specific to this challenge.  Our Working Group will:

  1. Focus on building statements from existing efforts (we will not reinvent the wheel).
  2. Craft outputs that help researchers learn about the complex ecosystem.
  3. Offer boilerplate text for future groups to use and customize to their context. 
  4. Keep all of our work focused on what researchers believe is important when negotiators represent their interests with publishers and other scholarly communications-focused businesses and/or organizations. 

How we will work

The outcome of this Working Group will be a set of statements that provides a common blueprint for future researcher-led declarations around the world.  There will be three phases to our work:

  • In our first stage, we will collect existing documents and collaborate on our initial draft set of rights and principles.  Please take a look at the set of source documents that currently guide our work. 
  • In the second phase, we will distill the existing documents into a set of core ideas. From there, we will build a draft set of rights and principles. 
  • In our third phase, we will open our draft for review and comment by the community.  Based on this feedback, we will iterate the draft until we have a set we will finalize and post to the FORCE11 website. 

Get involved

FORCE11 is a movement of people interested in furthering the goals stated in the FORCE11 manifesto. An important part of our work is information gathering and dissemination. We invite anyone with relevant information to provide us links which we may be helpful to this Working Group. We ask anyone with similar and/or related efforts to include links to FORCE11. 

Learn more at https://www.force11.org/group/researcher-bill-rights-and-principles