Community Open research

Supporting community-based open research initiatives: event summary

For the last few years, we have worked with smaller and society publishers to extend open access (OA) publishing opportunities so that authors can publish in a broad range of venues, whatever their funding situation, at no cost to them and with no other barriers. During this time the increasing number of publishers and related vendors adopting business models relying on community support prompted us to consider a different approach to negotiating new community-based agreements. This led to our Open access community framework (OACF), a mechanism to support diamond OA initiatives and not-for-profit publishers. We launched the OACF in February 2022 with a call for participants.

We organised this online member event to introduce OACF participants for 2022. This included presentations from participants about their initiatives and a broader discussion about how institutions can support community open research initiatives. We were joined by SCOSS and the organisations SCOSS is supporting this year, as well as speakers from 3 universities, who shared their experience of supporting community-based models. This blog post provides a summary of the event and some suggestions from our case study institutions.

Advice from institutions

The presentations from our 3 speakers from the universities of Sheffield (Peter Barr), Aberdeen (Emma Francis) and Manchester (Scott Taylor) described slightly different approaches but highlighted the following key enabling elements.

Policy and process

Peter explained that Sheffield’s Comprehensive content strategy sets out the library’s commitment to OA and makes it easier for Sheffield to sign up to community-based agreements and for decisions to be auditable. Emma talked about the importance of developing a process for interrogating agreements to be able to justify decisions as needed.

“You’ve really got to tell people what you’re going to do, make it central to your policy mission, publish it so they can’t complain when you do it”. Peter Barr, Head of content and collections, The University of Sheffield


Scott and Peter both spoke about having budgets dedicated to supporting open research initiatives, but at Aberdeen these kinds of payments are made from the Library’s content budget. Scott explained that 10% of Manchester’s OA innovation fund is allocated to community-led open research infrastructure solutions, with an emphasis on not-for-profit organisations. Peter said that Sheffield will consider boosting their dedicated open research budget with any end-of-year underspend from their content budget.


One of Manchester’s Office of Open Research objectives is to coordinate all open research activity at the university. Currently various budgets across campus cover the cost of different kinds of open research infrastructure tools. For example, budgets outside the library cover the cost of tools supporting sharing of pre-registration and preprints as well as research methodologies.

“This direct line of sight across the university, in terms of the entire investment in open science will ultimately allow for a more strategic direction for us.” Scott Taylor, Head of library research services and the office for open research, The University of Manchester


It was clear that for all our speakers, support for community-based open research initiatives is informed by institutional values. Emma spoke about the importance of societal values in driving Aberdeen’s decision to support community-based models and Peter explained that Sheffield’s Comprehensive content strategy sets out the library’s preference for business models that reflect its vision for the future of scholarly communication. Scott described how the allocations within Manchester’s OA budget reflect its commitment to supporting diversity in scholarly communication.

“We don’t want private organisations whose first priorities are to their shareholders in control of the direction of open access.” Emma Francis, Scholarly Communications Manager, The University of Aberdeen

Introducing the OACF participants

We received 11 submissions to join the OACF for 2022 in total and evaluated them against criteria agreed by our Content expert group. We’d approved all submissions initially, but one was eventually withdrawn by the publisher. The event provided an opportunity for all the participants to present their initiative. We’ve listed here the start times in the event recording for each, as well as links to the catalogue page in Licence subscriptions manager, so that you can easily find out more about all the OACF agreements.


Vanessa Proudman, Director of SPARC Europe, summarised the work of SCOSS, the Global Sustainability Coalition for Open Science Services, in crowdfunding support for community-owned open infrastructure and enabling sustainability, and she introduced the 3 organisations included in the current SCOSS funding cycle. We’ve listed here links to pages where you can find out more information about these organisations and start times for the recordings.

Further information

You can find the event recording on our Events page. For more information about this event or our work supporting community-based open research initiatives, please get in touch by emailing

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