The General Assembly for OpenAIRE Advance and the Legal Entity

Setting the Stage:

The General Assembly for OpenAIRE Advance took place in Debrecen, Hungary on the 15-17 January 2019; the previous GA, which took place in Athens in January 2018, was the kick off for Advance, so it was an important time for the 34 members of the project to regroup and see the progress that had been made over the last 12 months. In total, there are 10 work packages associated with the project, which concludes in December 2020, several of which align with Jisc services, such as IRUS-UK, Sherpa/RoMEO, and OpenDOAR – the last two which got some attention via the recent announcement of Plan-S. In addition, there has been an emphasis on the need for Advance to engage more directly with the European Open Science Cloud, or the EOSC, and since the kick off, an agreement has been made between the two projects and the director of OpenAIRE, Natalia Manola, has been named as the OpenAIRE representative on the EOSC executive board, underscoring the important, inter-related relationship between the two entities.

The National Open Access Desks: the Backbone of OpenAIRE:

Much has been done regarding the operation of the National Open Access Desks, or NOADs, to support Horizon 2020-funded projects, particularly with advising project coordinators how to ensure that they comply with Horizon 2020 policy, such as depositing all research outputs into an open repository and meeting the embargo periods for OA (6 months for STEM and 12 months for SSH). OpenAIRE became the main point of contact for those projects regarding policy and mandate requirements after Pasteur4OA completed. In addition, there has been a great deal of development work on various dashboards for funders and content providers, and there has been a significant link between OpenAIRE Advance and OpenAIRE Connect around the creation of a “catch all broker”, which will help with notifications of open access publications and institutions’ CRIS systems. There has also been a great deal of effort around OpenAIRE service catalogue, particularly as it moves into the legal entity phase and its engagement with the EOSC service catalogue.

The Confederation of Open Access Repositories: An Important Partner:

There are connections to the Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR) Next Generation Repositories work, of which Jisc’s efforts with its Open Research Hub has distinct possibilities for engagement. The connection with COAR continues OpenAIRE’s work with platforms outside of Europe as well, such as in South Korea and in South America, with La Referencia, as well as inroads into Africa, where open access and open science potentially have an amazing role to play with the production and dissemination of so much important research.

Jisc’s Continuing International Efforts with OpenAIRE:

IRUS-UK, another Jisc service, remains a pivotal part of the work being done with the OpenAIRE usage metrics portal, and both organisations, which include the University of Bielefeld, work closely together to align standards and procedures. And last but not least, because it is a cornerstone of so much work, is the continuing work to enhance Zenodo, the CERN-built open access repository. It cannot stressed enough: if your project is funded by H2020, you need to get your research outputs into an OA repository; if you don’t have access to one, then they need to go to Zenodo and please also put them into the OpenAIRE database.

The Legal Entity:

If that wasn’t enough for the chilly climes of Hungary’s Northern Great Plain region, the very first General Assembly for the OpenAIRE Legal Entity took place on the last day of the General Assembly for OpenAIRE Advance, and the majority of the partners from the Advance project were there to hear about updates since it was announced that “OpenAIRE had become a fully fledged organisation.” That announcement was the official statement once the Greek government officially recognised the existence of the LE back in September, which was a requirement since the LE is based in Athens and is generally registered under Greek law. It became a reality after the original four signatures agreed to participate in the entity: Norway’s UNIT, University of Minho (Portugal), University of Athens, and the University of Göttingen (Germany). During the GA, approximately 13 more partners said that they would also commit to the legal entity. The legal entity goes a long way to ensuring that the services and support offered by OpenAIRE would be sustainable after the current project has concluded and without the need to create another project to fill in once its predecessor had concluded.

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