AMKE-FAQs

1 - Do I need a qualified digital signature to join?
Depending on your membership status.
  • When applying for Regular Membership you need a Qualified Digital Signature (QDS). You may find the national providers of QDS here.
  • When applying for Associate Membership, you just need to agree to the terms of the statutory document without becoming a member of the Legal Entity. That is why a simple statement and signature will suffice.
2 - What is the standing of Associate Members in accordance to the statutory documents?

An eligible organization [see art. 4(1) of the statutes] may become an Associate Member by agreeing to the OpenAIRE statutory documents [art. 4(5) of the statutes]. This means they can sign the statutory documents with simple electronic signature and send it with a cover email to the Executive Board (which currently coincides with the OpenAIRE Advance PSC (Project Steering Committee)). If the membership has been already approved by the General Assembly (art. 5 of the statutes), then upon reception of the signed document, they become Associate Members. If not, a decision by the General Assembly (GA) is required.

3 - How do I become an Associate Member?

Complete the Expression Of Interest (EOI) using your organisation’s letterhead and send it to the OpenAIRE Management Office (amke'at'openaire.eu, cc’ing v.diochnou'at'athenarc.gr and ptsiavos'at'athenarc.gr) providing the following:

  1. a profile of your organization
  2. the legal representative and address
  3. a statement that you will abide by the terms contained in the OpenAIRE AMKE statutory documents
  4. a digitally signed copy of the OpenAIRE AMKE statutory documents

In order to complete the process, we need to also have the approval of the General Assembly.

In order to complete the process, we need to also have the approval of the General Assembly.
4 - What is an Associate Member?
An Associate Member is a member of OpenAIRE AMKE that is located in one of the eligible countries and that along with all the other organizations that are members of OpenAIRE AMKE and are located in the same country elect a Regular Member to represent them at the OpenAIRE General Assembly. Associate Members may participate in all other activities of OpenAIRE but can only cast a vote at the GA through their Regular Member.
5 - Can any kind of member be in the Standing Committees?

All OpenAIRE members are eligible to take part in the Standing Committees (art 11(4)). However, the Chair needs to be representing only a Regular Member (art.11(6)).

The Regular Member may raise an objection against a legal action being carried out by a person appointed by the Chair of the Project Steering Committee of OpenAIRE Advance, but that doesn’t seem to be a power of an ordinary member.

As stated above, not directly. The agreement between the members of any National Membership Consortium with its representative Regular Member is for the country concerned to regulate, although OpenAIRE has produced a template document for such an agreement.

7 - There appears to be a status difference between an Associate Member and a Regular Member; is that true?

There appears to be a status difference between an Associate Member and a Regular Member; is that true?

The difference lies in the fact that the Regular Member is the legal member representative of the country concerned. Extant OpenAIRE Advance project partners that also exist in any one country or others that eventually join any National Member Consortium headed by the Regular Member, will work through that Regular Member to have issues raised at the GA level.

8 - Are non-EU countries eligible to be a NOAD?
The section “Definitions” of the statutory document offers lists of eligible countries. In addition, Article 4, par. 1 of the LE statutes describes the political associations whose members are eligible to become members of the LE. One is membership of the European Union, the other is membership of the Council of Europe, which is separate and comprises 47 states and associate countries. Therefore, membership of the European Union is not a precondition for membership of the OpenAIRE LE.
9 - How does the 18-month transition period work for NOADs?

There is mention of an 18-month transition period after the LE has been established when the OpenAIRE Advance NOADs that have not called the LE into being by being the first signatories will be automatically members of the LE. Would we as a NOAD or project member of OpenAIRE Advance have to sign the agreement during that 18-month period? If we choose to leave the LE during this transition period, is there any kind of penalty, as was spelled out in the previous version of the statutes?

The 18 months transition period has a dual function: First, it allows the NOADs and Members to coincide, provided the former choose to sign the statutory documents. Second, it gives precedent to the NOADs over other organisations within a certain jurisdiction with regards to who the regular member could be. Of course, this is just a starting point and the OpenAIRE members in one eligible country may choose another entity as their regular member through their NaMeCo.

There is no penalty for not signing up actively to the LE during that initial 18-month period.

At all times, the previous and existing obligations of NOADs and OpenAIRE Advance project partners continue to exist, beyond the question of actively joining the LE. The only ‘penalty’ is that after the initial 18-month period elapses and before the end of the OpenAIRE Advance project, decisions that affect the way the LE operates will be made without your participation until you sign up, which may include participation In further EU-funded calls.

This will not affect or alter the regular project deliverables of the OpenAIRE Advance project.

10 - Which are the obligations of OpenAIRE AMKE Regular Members? Are there any financial obligations?
  • You must adhere to the OpenAIRE Policies and Internal Rules of Procedure and the Rules of Participation. (Chapters 3 and 6)
  • Regular Members represent Associate Members in the General Assembly (Chapter 3)
  • There is an initial contribution of 500Euros, which has been re-set to zero as a result of a decision made on January 17, 2019 during the Debrecen GA. The decision may be overturned only with a GA unanimous decision (Chapter 4, art.10(13)(c)).
11 - Can non-members of the LE be on standing committees?
As they stand (dated 24_03_2018), the Statutes neither preclude this, nor do they specifically state that non-Members can or should be on Standing Committees – in other words, it is entirely at the discretion of the General Assembly as the governing body of the LE, which comprises its Regular Members.
12 - Will OpenAIRE start charging for Services?

OpenAIRE is in principle able to charge for services (Art. 16(2)). However, the details of how this is to be implemented, who will own the services and other related assets, and what the level of the service fee will be is to be agreed amongst its members in the GA. The starting principle is that all services offered by OpenAIRE are free of cost for the scientific and research community, although the GA may decide otherwise (Art.19)

OpenAIRE members are not prohibited to independently offer commercial services (Art. 16(4)).

13 - Service Level Agreement: What does it mean for a member to offer OpenAIRE services? And who would the SLA be between?

During the course of OpenAIRE’s development since 2009, many project members have created and deployed Open Access and Open Science services, which are now plugged into and inform OpenAIRE ones. In order for there to be clarity around mutual cost implications and service provision levels to external stakeholders, each such service should be the subject of an SLA agreement between OpenAIRE and the member provider. This is also in place to maintain the quality assurance ambitions of all parties concerned. The Term SLA has been substituted by the Principles of Participation and finally Rules of Participation in the statutory documents (24.04.20).

14 - Will OpenAIRE consider adopting in-kind contributions from LE members?

Eventually, membership of the Legal Entity may entail offering in-kind contributions, in particular, if it is established as a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC). In this case, Members whose services are used by OpenAIRE will pledge to offer them at no cost, in exchange for the products and services of other LE members, that could be used to accelerate services development and provide new opportunities to support open science in OpenAIRE LE countries.

These issues will be covered at the point OpenAIRE becomes an ERIC via a formal access policy based on the Commission’s guidelines, its Charter for Access, published in consultation with the ESFRI, the e-infrastructure Reflection Group (e-IRG), and the European Research Area stakeholder organisations in March 2016 (more). We do not foresee this to be initiated before end of 2023.

15 - How will members and non-members use or interact with OpenAIRE services?

There is no direct or necessary relationship between membership of the Legal Entity and use of OpenAIRE services. OpenAIRE services (such as APIs) are currently free to use and access by members and non-members alike. As the services created under OpenAIRE Advance are released, others will also be able to use these related products at no cost during the life of OpenAIRE Advance (till end 2020), whether they are funders, researchers, or research-intensive institutions.

However, where these services will be employed in the established workflows of other research infrastructures rather than research-intensive institutions, or taken up to be tested or furthered as part of funded project work, the additional effort required to adapt and maintain these services would be reflected in appropriate costs which can be factored into bids and recurring maintenance grants.

OpenAIRE will also have a set of standard Terms of Service documents for different categories of services. This normally includes registered and non registered users (if differentiation is required between the two types). An agreement on licences used for content released under OpenAIRE needs to be established.

OpenAIRE
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funding from the European 
Union's Horizon 2020 Research and
Innovation programme under Grant
Agreement No. 777541.

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