Operational Considerations for Open Science

Maverick continues its series on demystifying open science with a focus on operational considerations. In a previous blog post on the business aspects of open science, Maverick’s Ruth King introduced some of the issues associated with accommodating open science publications in existing publication workflows. In this blog post, I’ll explore a few of those operational matters more in depth.

Both the high-level infrastructure and the small detail of operations can be key to successfully operationalizing Open Science publications. It requires following new standards (e.g., Funder ID, Research Organization Registry [ROR]), elevates the importance of research data, and offers seemingly existential challenges to the timing and the format of publications.  In this landscape, knowledge of what your organization offers compared to the field and agreement on where you want to be – even if it’s a small step – is incredibly important.


Where does publication often fit in an open research lifecycle?

The open science lifecycle creates multiple opportunities for publication of information that are not part of traditional publication workflows. Drafts submitted for publication are no longer only the purview of blind peer review, but of the entire community and shared as preprints. In addition, data sets are often released with a preprint and then continue to have as long a life in the life cycle as the publications that accompany them. Libraries and researchers benefiting from open science publication want, respectively, to track their subscriptions and publications, meaning that publishers must reconfigure data collection models that currently track publication usage based on library-based acquisitions or website click counts.

Publication, in this model, is multi-faceted, encompasses more than the culminating journal article and has a wider reach. It will ideally include some version of open peer review, managing a preprint server, or hosting of data sets. It will also allow for usage outside the traditional subscription-based statistics tracking. The focus of any successful open science operation is on the end user first and foremost.


How far can your organization support end users with their open practices?

Publishers can absolutely do more to support researchers with open practices, even if they don’t specialize in providing access to preprints or hosting data sets. Publication workflows can be better configured to help researchers be compliant in several ways: first by linking authors’ work to Funder IDs, such as those provided by CHORUS, second by linking researchers to organizations in the ROR, third by assigning a DOI to the content, and fourth by following FAIR principles and NISOs Open Discovery Initiative recommended practice.

Standard metadata and keywording with shared subject terms across multiple publications or data sets is another step toward building a network that researchers can tap into at both the beginning and end of the publication life cycle. It is not enough to leave discovery of research to titles, abstracts, and author-chosen terms: keywords built on industry-supported taxonomies and controlled vocabularies will help (MeSH is a starting place, but certainly not the only one).


What do end users really want with open science initiatives?

Publishers can operationalize open science production workflows by supporting reuse of content. The challenge to complying with these open initiatives lies with developing two end-user-focused metadata workflows, one that begins with the researcher at submission and one that begins with the internal information created for any publication. Every piece of information collected about an article or data set needs to be focused on its use for further dissemination.

Can your organization make this statement confidently: “I know how end users utilize our publication metadata to find and share our content”? If not, it is time to reconsider how you work with open science publications and data sets.


By Michelle Urberg PhD, MSLIS, Affiliate Associate

Michelle is a publishing professional and trained librarian and musicologist, whose expertise encompasses end-to-end metadata standards use, creation, and conversion. She has developed taxonomies, thesauri, controlled vocabularies, and ontologies. Her approach to discovery is focused on customer needs. In addition, she has conducted research studies to improve user engagement in digital platforms. Her work focuses on addressing the customer need for better metadata in strategizing realistic solutions. She is adept at meeting researchers’ needs for enhancing their scholarly footprint and has deep knowledge of metadata, analytics, and principles governing discovery.

Michelle has a special interest in music, video, and non-traditional scholarly formats. She is intimately familiar with the challenges of finding music and video for research. Recent research projects have focused on two key gaps in streaming video content creation: identifying options for standard identifiers and enhancing metadata produced for access and discovery. She holds a PhD in music history and an MS library and information science She has regularly pursued continuing education, including a certificate in XML and RDF from the Library Juice Academy, classes in semantic web technologies by Pool Party, and a certificate in Digital Asset Management from Rutgers University.