Adopting the Principles of Open Scholarly Infrastructure - what might it mean?

Last month, our board voted to adopt the 16 Principles of Open Scholarly Infrastructure (POSI). It’s a really important statement of commitment to developing open and sustainable practices for our organisation. We want to be held accountable to these principles forever. So we shared a self-assessment and hope other infrastructure organisations will do the same. Please post here any questions about this move, such as the rationale, or any practical implications, and we’ll gladly have a conversation about it.


That’s a commendable and forward-thinking initiative! Adopting the 16 Principles of Open Scholarly Infrastructure (POSI) indicates a commitment to fostering openness and sustainability in scholarly infrastructure. Here are a few questions to start the conversation:

  1. What specific aspects of the 16 Principles of Open Scholarly Infrastructure were most compelling for your organization, and how do you anticipate these principles will positively impact your operations?

  2. Can you share some examples of how the adoption of these principles might translate into practical changes or enhancements within your organization’s scholarly infrastructure?

  3. In terms of the self-assessment shared, what key areas does it focus on, and how do you plan to use the results to drive continuous improvement and accountability?

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Hi Theodore, thanks for the very thoughtful questions!

Since we first looked at and adopted the POSI in November 2020, we have done a follow-up assessment - see POSI fan tutte - Crossref. And since then many more initiatives have signed up, a website was built and each of them has a seld-assessment: Posse - The Principles of Open Scholarly Infrastructure. Recently, the group worked on revising them for clarity to create POSI v1.1 which you can see at the homepage of that same website, and I interviewed a few of the other POSI-adopting initiatives on this blog: Principles of Open Scholarly Infrastructure (POSI) version 1.1: Reflections from adopters.

From Crossref’s perspective, I would invite @lofiesh (operations director, so also governance and sustainability), @epentz (executive director), and @gbilder (technology and research director, so also data and technical infrastructure) to add their perspectives, but from my pov:

  1. They balance each other, so you can’t really pick and choose. One thing I like in general is that when we’re collaborating with other organisations now, it takes certain discussions off the table as we already know, for example, that whatever we’re building/writing together will be open-source/open for comment - no discussion needed! Also, it was a very strong statement from Crossref, traditionally thought of as only governed by the very large publishers, that the Board itself was wholeheartedly committing to such transparency and in particular to broadening the governance of Crossref, was a big deal. We’ve seen our membership diversify even further since we adopted POSI, with more than 50% of new members being universities, so I would say there has been a major boost in trust from this part of the community, also libraries, funders, and even museums and govt agencies and NGOs.
  2. There are also specific things we know we need to work on, like open-sourcing some of our 20-year-old code - that’s still a work in progress. And on publishing all our policies and staff operations - coming soon will be salary transparency and staff handbooks online. The idea is that others can use (or challenge) how we’re working so that they can adapt and we can also improve ourselves. We also plan to highlight some of the more invisible difficulties in running an infrastructure operation - e.g. the challenges in paying salaries in multiple currencies/countries, managing multiple bank accounts and tax rules.
  3. We are about to publish our third self-assessment to show progress (or regression) against the principles. We don’t want to be complacent but rather keep a regular eye on all of the principles. We use POSI in our staff annual development plans and goals - so every individual can reflect on how their projects and day-to-day work meets POSI, whether they are a software developer or an accounting manager - and we hear it a lot as staff present their work both to colleagues and the community - it’s becoming part of our DNA really.

Are you looking at POSI for your organisation or initiative? Any of the adopting initiatives would be happy to have a chat.

All the best,