Governance Guest Post

DOAJ commits to the Principles of Open Scholarly Infrastructure (POSI)

This is a post by our Managing Director, Joanna Ball.


DOAJ is proud to be a community-driven infrastructure. It is one of the most well-established open infrastructures, having grown and developed considerably since its founding by Lars Bjørnshauge in 2003. Its criteria have been adopted as an unofficial gold standard in Open Access journal publishing across the community. 

I am pleased to share the news that we are committing to the Principles of Open Scholarly Infrastructure (POSI). The principles align with our core values, mission and identity as an open, global and trusted infrastructure. 

There’s increasing scrutiny from our community of the various infrastructures that support scholarly communications, particularly given the trend towards enclosure and acquisition of community infrastructures. When I came on board as Managing Director at the start of the year, it was an ideal opportunity for the team, to reflect on whether our infrastructure, governance and organisation reflect the values we share as a mission-driven organisation. 

Reciprocating trust

I am keenly aware of our community’s high trust in DOAJ. It is important for us to reciprocate that trust by sharing our self-assessment and identifying where we feel we still have work to do. DOAJ data is used and reused across the global scholarly communications community. We have stakeholders who have never used DOAJ directly but still depend on our data via secondary data sources. I hope this new adoption of POSI will allow us to be very transparent about areas we can improve on while giving the community confidence that we are managing DOAJ with the communities interests at heart. For example, by ensuring that our service is reproducible, we have reassured the community that it could be recovered or replicated if something went wrong or we weren’t adequately delivering on our mission.

Self-assessment

We have selected POSI to work with as it enables us to join a growing community of infrastructures also working in this area. Several other assessment tools are developing in this arena, which we are following closely.  For example, we have also joined the pilot of NGLP’s FOREST Framework, which is intended to help scholarly communications organisations demonstrate, evaluate and improve their alignment with core values. Our FOREST assessment will inform, support and complement our work to address the different elements of POSI by providing a more practical approach to ensure we are practising our values. We have also expressed interest in joining IOI’s Catalogue of Open Infrastructures (COIs). By adopting POSI, I also hope that we can contribute to the ongoing debate about how open scholarly infrastructures can be defined, measured and held accountable. 

This formal adoption of the principles is just one milestone in our journey as an infrastructure; it follows a period of reflection, discussion and consultation with our advisory board and council as well as some other infrastructures and stakeholders from our community. These valuable discussions have enabled us to identify and prioritise areas to address over the coming months and years.

This isn’t just a paper exercise for DOAJ but an approach we want to embed in how we work daily. Our POSI response will inform the development of our new 2023-2025 strategy that will include a number of actions and activities to address those criteria where we want to improve.

Annual review

We are committed to reviewing our progress against the principles annually with our advisory board and council and sharing an update with the wider community in this blog. We look forward to joining the POSI posse, sharing challenges and best practices with other infrastructures, and contributing to wider discussions about how models and tools such as POSI, FOREST and COIs can ensure that we are holding ourselves and each other to account.

To move forward, we have produced a detailed self-assessment against POSI. We opted to comment on each of the 16 principles, in addition to a grading system to illustrate how we’re doing:

  • green: where we feel we are doing well (or are well on our way)
  • orange: where we have prioritised actions.

Most of the principles require ongoing effort or adjustment to meet changes in the external environment. For some others, it’s important for us to contribute to where we think the principle could be adjusted or has been particularly challenging for us to address. Below each principle, we have added a commentary and identified any specific actions we will take.

Summary of our POSI compliance

A table illustrating how DOAJ meets POSi compliance. It is in two columns: one columns describes each of the POSI statements; the other column contains green or orange squares. Green means 'we feel that we are doing well' for this criteria. Orange means 'we have prioritised actions' to look at compliance. An accesible version of this table is available in the detailed assessment
A summary table showing how far DOAJ meets POSI’s compliance. (An accessible version of the table is available with the detailed self-assessment.)

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