Published January 21, 2021 | Version v2
Proposal Open

Plan I - Towards a sustainable research information infrastructure

  • 1. Universität Regensburg
  • 2. ZB MED – Information Centre for Life Sciences
  • 3. Universität Düsseldorf
  • 4. Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf
  • 5. HIS-Institut für Hochschulentwicklung
  • 6. Deutsche Nationalbibliothek


Public institutions in many countries are required by law ("spending rules") to initiate a bidding/tender process above a certain procurement threshold. Scholarly journals are exempt from these spending rules, because the content of each journal can only be obtained from a single publisher - the "single source procurement" exemption. One consequence of this publisher monopoly are prices ranging 10-20 fold above publishing costs [1], or difficult and drawn-out negotiations to achieve technically trivial improvements (such as, e.g., improved accessibility, 'open access'). This "vendor lock-in" prevents marked-based price pressure and stifles innovation. Therefore, functionalities such as efficient citation linking, interactive data visualizations or interoperabilities with data and code have yet to be implemented in the scholarly literature despite sometimes decades of scientist demands. The European Commission (DG Competition) has also acknowledged this problem [2]. For future services, concerning research data and scientific source code there is still a possibility to prevent such a vendor lock-in, with all its detrimental consequences, but time is of the essence. In this document, we would like to elaborate on the problem and provide suggestions for solutions. We see our suggestions as alternatives to "Plan S” or “Plan U”, so we chose to name our suggestion "Plan I", for infrastructure.



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