Published September 5, 2023 | Version v1
Presentation Open

A case study: OpenCitations, an open science infrastructure seeking long-term sustainability

  • 1. University of Bologna, OpenCitations


OpenCitations is a community-based open science infrastructure organization with the mission of harvesting and openly publishing accurate and comprehensive metadata describing the world's academic publications and the scholarly citations that link them, under open licenses at zero cost and without restriction for third-party analysis and re-use. To build an infrastructure that is sustainable in the long term and follows pure Open Science principles, OpenCitations has adopted in full the Principles for Open Scholarly Infrastructures, and regularly monitors its compliance to the three categories of “Insurance”, “Governance” and “Sustainability”. While OpenCitations fully satisfies the “Insurance” principles, it still lacks an executive body besides the directors and is far from achieving complete financial sustainability. In order to strengthen the weak points, OpenCitations has recently launched two internal Working Groups dedicated to the themes of “Governance Evolution” and “Community Building”, which in OpenCitations are deeply connected. Indeed, the current OpenCitations’ governance relies on the administrative management of the Research Centre for Open Scholarly Metadata, an independent research centre within the University of Bologna, whose fundamental bodies are OpenCitations’ Council (made up of OpenCitations members) and the elected International Advisory Board, which guides OpenCitations strategies. OpenCitations’ stakeholder community is so integrated into OpenCitations’ existence both in a financial and strategic way, and with its advice it ensures that OpenCitations’ original aim of free provision of open and free bibliographic and citation data, services, and software is maintained. However, despite the valuable support from the community and the successful involvement in the SCOSS second funding cycle, OpenCitations is still seeking a ‘business model’ which could help move it from being a 'sustainable infrastructure' (in POSI terms) to being a financially sustained infrastructure upon which the global scholarly community can rely for open bibliographic and citation metadata for many years to come.



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