The EU-funded OpenAIRE-Advance project is the fourth phase in the construction of OpenAIRE’s e-infrastructure to accelerate open science – a scientific approach that consists in making all publicly-funded research outputs publicly accessible in digital format. Over 3 years, the now 47 member-strong organisation has progressively been moving beyond open access to scientific publications by embracing open and FAIR (Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability and Reuse) research data and software. Concretely, the project built an ‘open scholarly commons’ and contributed to the European Open Science Cloud with a suite of services to accelerate science uptake.
“The project brings two key innovations,” says Natalia Manola, research associate at the Athena Research and Innovation Centre and managing director of OpenAIRE. “The first is a global Open Research Graph, which is the first big step towards an open discovery and open metrics infrastructure. The second is a participative approach to implementing open science. Our National Open Access Desks (NOADs) in every EU Member State create long-term relationships with all actors involved in the research process at the institutional level. They also enable collaborations with research communities and policymakers at the national level.”
The Open Research Graph aggregates a collection of research data properties (metadata, links) and makes it available to funders, research organisations, researchers, research communities and publishers. All resources are cross-linked through a semantic graph database. The research graph currently includes 130 million research outcomes and 15 million full texts from 100 million authors.
NOADs have been game changers at national level as well. Austria’s robust national infrastructure, for instance, is now fully aligned with OpenAIRE guidelines. All Belgian repositories have become compliant with OpenAIRE, while the Finnish NOAD has become extremely active in national Open Science working groups. Another relevant example of project impact is Turkey, where the NOAD has been responsible for putting the concept of an Open Science roadmap on the national agenda.
Besides these two essential contributions, the project team have also been busy promoting open science. They’ve organised a total of 50 national workshops from national research ecosystems. They’ve produced learning material and organised 500 training events. Last but not least, they’ve established a ‘community of practice for training coordinators and managers’ which currently has over 70 members.
OpenAΙRΕ-Advance’s efforts didn’t stop at EU borders either. Global dialogue with non-European repository networks was one of the project’s main focuses. La Referencia (Latin America) was successfully integrated with the OpenAIRE infrastructure. A regional OpenAIRE portal for Canadian research outcomes was deployed thanks to collaboration with the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) and three major Canadian funders. A repository network was launched in Africa, and a collaboration with the United Nations gave birth to open access content provision in the UN2030 platform.
“OpenAIRE-Advance has reached out to a broad spectrum of actors. Even though our main targets are researchers, we have worked with intermediaries at the university level and policymakers at funding agencies. Numbers do not lie and we are happy to see a significant uptake of our services such as Zenodo, the PROVIDE dashboard, the OpenAIRE Research Graph and Argos,” Manola explains.
The (OpenAIRE Nexus) project has now picked up the torch of Open Science in Europe, which will be focusing on the continued operation of OpenAIRE services.