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OpenAIRE’s self-assessment of the Principles of Open Scholarly Infrastructure (POSI)

The Principles of Open Scholarly Infrastructure (POSI) offers a set of guidelines by which open scholarly infrastructure organisations and initiatives that support the research community can be run and sustained. OpenAIRE builds on these principles as a signal of our commitement to serve the research community in the long run.  

Version: January 2022

Legend: = compliant, = making progress, = not compliant


Coverage across the research enterprise – it is increasingly clear that research transcends disciplines, geography, institutions and stakeholders. The infrastructure that supports it needs to do the same The OpenAIRE portfolio offers services for publishing, monitoring, and discovering research activities across countries, disciplines, and research actors, such as researchers, organisations, policy-makers, publishers, research communities, and research infrastructures. 
Stakeholder Governed – a board-governed organisation drawn from the stakeholder community builds more confidence that the organisation will take decisions driven by community consensus and consideration of different interests. OpenAIRE is governed by an elected Executive Board and General Assembly which build on contributions by member organisations.
Non-discriminatory membership – we see the best option as an “opt-in” approach with a principle of non-discrimination where any stakeholder group may express an interest and should be welcome. The process of representation in day to day governance must also be inclusive with governance that reflects the demographics of the membership. Membership is open to organisations or associations that commit to Open Science. OpenAIRE’s National Open Access Desks (NOADs) act as focal points for coordinating Open Science activities in their respective countries and take part as Regular Members. 
Transparent operations – achieving trust in the selection of representatives to governance groups will be best achieved through transparent processes and operations in general (within the constraints of privacy laws) OpenAIRE is a Non-Profit Partnership (NPP) incorporated under the provisions of Greek Law (articles 741 onwards of the Greek Civil Code) and Law No 4072/2012. It Statutes lay out the regulations for communication and decision making in a transparent and open manner (cf. OpenAIRE AMKE Statutes, April 2020, 
Cannot lobby – the community, not infrastructure organisations, should collectively drive regulatory change. An infrastructure organisation’s role is to provide a base for others to work on and should depend on its community to support the creation of a legislative environment that affects it. OpenAIRE is a community based non-profit organisation with the mandate to push for Open Science. However, OpenAIRE does not lobby for its own infrastructure following an inclusive approach to promote any service or infrastructure that supports open science. OpenAIRE provides an open infrastructure (data and APIs) for others to build upon.
Living will – a powerful way to create trust is to publicly describe a plan addressing the condition under which an organisation would be wound down, how this would happen, and how any ongoing assets could be archived and preserved when passed to a successor organisation. Any such organisation would need to honour this same set of principles. OpenAIRE is a participatory infrastructure with two main characteristics: a. Relies on national and institutional OA data sources, and b. member organisations who are in charge of technical developments commit to preserve the services offered by and via OpenAIRE.
Formal incentives to fulfil mission & wind-down – infrastructures exist for a specific purpose and that purpose can be radically simplified or even rendered unnecessary by technological or social change. If it is possible the organisation (and staff) should have direct incentives to deliver on the mission and wind down. OpenAIRE is an organisation with a specific mission (according to art. 3 of its statutory documents “The mission of OpenAIRE shall be to establish, maintain and operate an open and sustainable scholarly communication infrastructure and provide the necessary services, resources and network for supporting a common European e science environment.”) OpenAIRE has a duration of twenty years within which it has to complete its mission (art. 23) and wind down (art. 24).


Time-limited funds are used only for time-limited activities – day to day operations should be supported by day to day sustainable revenue sources. Grant dependency for funding operations makes them fragile and more easily distracted from building core infrastructure. OpenAIRE’s main activities are funded through third-party funding. It recognises the need to diversify its income streams and has started the work to create a sound business/financial model and plan.   OpenAIRE is committed to differentiate between service development costs (which are funded through projects or other forms of funding) and operational / administrative costs funded directly by membership fees or the provision of services (still to be defined).
Goal to generate surplus – organisations which define sustainability based merely on recovering costs are brittle and stagnant. It is not enough to merely survive, it has to be able to adapt and change. To weather economic, social and technological volatility, they need financial resources beyond immediate operating costs. OpenAIRE has as one of its operational goals to develop a surplus of around 5-10% of its total revenue per year for the next five years. Overall, the development of a surplus fund to support its new services roll out is essential for the operation and success of OpenAIRE.
Goal to create contingency fund to support operations for 12 months – a high priority should be generating a contingency fund that can support a complete, orderly wind down (12 months in most cases). This fund should be separate from those allocated to covering operating risk and investment in development. OpenAIRE has as part of its operational goals the creation of a fund to support operations over the next 12 months, though this is a rolling goal that requires constant renegotiation as the lifecycle of the organisation matures. 
Mission-consistent revenue generation – potential revenue sources should be considered for consistency with the organisational mission and not run counter to the aims of the organisation.  Revenue sources of the organisations involve securing income for the development of new Open Science services by public or private funders funding open science projects, administrative costs by the members and service provision and other operational costs by customers deploying open science services. 
Revenue based on services, not data – data related to the running of the research enterprise should be a community property. Appropriate revenue sources might include value-added services, consulting, API Service Level Agreements or membership fees. All underlying data used for the provision of services remain open or are not offered for a fee. All OpenAIRE income is or expected to be funding, service provision or members subscriptions. 


Open source – All software required to run the infrastructure should be available under an open source license. This does not include other software that may be involved with running the organisation. The software powering OpenAIRE services results from the integration of  Open Source software solutions and is made available online via open software repositories.
Open data (within constraints of privacy laws) – For an infrastructure to be forked it will be necessary to replicate all relevant data. The CC0 waiver is best practice in making data legally available. Privacy and data protection laws will limit the extent to which this is possible All OpenAIRE’s generated data is published as CC-BY or CC0, depending on the service and the underlying data licensing dependencies. OpenAIRE is committed to making all possible efforts to license as CC0 all its published data.
Available data (within constraints of privacy laws) – It is not enough that the data be made “open” if there is not a practical way to actually obtain it. Underlying data should be made easily available via periodic data dumps. OpenAIRE’s generated data is published via regular data dumps in and via open REST APIs. For more:
Patent non-assertion – The organisation should commit to a patent non-assertion covenant. The organisation may obtain patents to protect its own operations, but not use them to prevent the community from replicating the infrastructure OpenAIRE’s technical roadmap is committed to a patent non-assertion covenant policy, to be signed by its members in 2022. A relevant decision adopting a patent non-assertion policy  is to be made by its General Assembly in the first quarter of 2022.