OPERAS: Shaping a Distributed Research Infrastructure Advocating for Open Scholarly Communication


OPERAS, a distributed infrastructure and the governance choices made to deploy its activities and realize its missions will be presented. The landscape of SSH open scholarly communication is highly fragmented, so the OPERAS has to explore and develop a governance model and activities allowing a common ground for its members.


In the presentation, we will focus on the strategy and efforts deployed by the infrastructure to leverage the SSH publishing landscape. The recent report “Future of scholarly publishing and scholarly communication” published by the Expert Group of the European Commission (1) evidenced the structural flaws of scholarly publishing in its current state: difficulties for open-access approaches to develop a sustainable economic model, lack of interoperability between platforms, lack of adaptation of the process of certification (peer-review), and impact factor pressuring the research process. Those reflections overtake OPERAS objectives.

OPERAS is a distributed research infrastructure aiming at strengthening the ecosystem of open scholarly communication in Social Sciences and Humanities in diverse local contexts, with the overall objective of introducing the principles of Open Science and ensuring effective dissemination and global access to research results in the Social Science and Humanities (2). The infrastructure aims at supporting the whole lifecycle of scholarly communication, considered as an integral part of the research process.

Thus, OPERAS consortium includes a diversity of participants with differing interests, ranging from traditional publishers with a growing portfolio of Open Access content, to OA only press services. It includes publishers as well as platforms, technology providers and research institutions. The diversity in OPERAS network participants makes available a range of different financial models, priorities and technical concerns. This may appear problematic for the infrastructure to answer specific needs, but we believe this is the fundamental purpose of OPERAS as a distributed infrastructure to sustain this diversity.

Results and Discussion

In this presentation, we will first give an overview of OPERAS vision and projects. We will present the projects developed by the infrastructure to oversee common practices, joint services and technology, to improve the production, the findability, the accessibility and dissemination of scholarly publications and to facilitate further research results building on open results.

In the second part, we will focus on the governance of OPERAS and the role of its members. Becoming a legal entity, OPERAS is developing a governance model relying on communities. This principle is embodied by working groups, composed of OPERAS members. In 2017, during the design phase of the infrastructure, 7 working groups were launched. Each of these groups represents a strategic aspect of OPERAS matters: Advocacy, Best Practices, Common Standards, Multilingualism, Open Access Business Models, Platforms and Services, Tools Research and Development (2-5). Each of them is coordinated by an OPERAS Core member and has developed a White Paper in July 2018. Those White Papers constitute the basis on which the infrastructure work. We will show how those working groups constitute the core of future projects for the infrastructure.


This presentation will allow to question the role and the governance of a distributed infrastructure in the support and sustainability of interconnected users and stakeholders.

  • Paulin RibbePaulin RibbeOpenEdition

    Paulin Ribbe is Project Manager for the OPERAS infrastructure at OpenEdition (France, Marseille - CNRS, AMU, EHESS, Avignon Univ.). He holds… More →

  • Pierre MounierPierre MounierOpenEdition

    Pierre Mounier is deputy director of OpenEdition , a comprehensive infrastructure based in France for open access publication and… More →