A Guide to Considering Operations and Technology in Open Scholarship

Open Source Alliance for Open Scholarship
Last updated: Nov 1, 2022

We want a system that is built for everyone. A system where all identities, bodies, and stories are valued; where your geography is not your destiny; and where your bank account doesn’t determine your access. Open scholarship is an invitation and an aspiration, and we will continue to work towards it until every voice is included. 

The existing structures and systems of scholarly production are built on capitalism, white supremacy, settler colonialism, hetero-patriarchy, and misogyny. Our institutions use exclusion as an indicator of excellence and see labor as a commodity.

Open scholarship, as defined here, challenges these structures and provides an opportunity to embed anti-racism, anti-capitalism, and intersectional feminism in our scholarly communication system. When marginalized people are actively excluded, our scholarly record misses out on what could be a richer, fuller, more nuanced, and more beautiful account of the world.

What Is Operations?

What is the difference between ops and tech?

Operations = what we want to do

Technology = how to do it

In this work, we will consider operations and technology as the work of management, concerned with organizing and designing open scholarly activities, initiatives, and infrastructure. These may be social, technical, and/or physical.

The Components of Operations

Using the Wikipedia definition, we identified components of operations most applicable to those looking to build their practice as open scholars or friends/supporters of open scholarship.

  • Operational costs
  • Governance
  • Requirements
  • Organizational structure
  • Strategic planning
  • Infrastructure
  • Production (outputs)

Based on the above components, we came up with questions, resources, how-to’s and personal perspectives for each.

For Whom Are We Writing?

Guides like this tend to be written for people who are writing or building code. We’d like to see representation of groups in social science, librarianship, and other communities who build software but are not identified as software developers. We want to write for champions of open scholarship in institutions who often work across departments and research areas (e.g., librarians, archivists, data managers).

In the context of tech/ops for open scholarship, our audience can fit into the following subcategories.

Individuals for whom this might be relevant are...

  • Students and early-career researchers who want to make use of open source software (OSS) tools
  • Students and early-career researcher who want to start (or have started) an OSS project in the scholarly context
  • Scholarly support staff, such as librarians, data managers, and software engineers
  • Faculty members and instructors
  • Primary Investigators (PIs) who might be looking to form an open source project out of their own lab's projects

Teams for whom this might be relevant are...

  • Research groups, labs, and research consortium working groups
  • Group of individuals in an institution making use of OSS scholarly tools (e.g., a group of two sysadmins from a university)

Communities for whom this might be relevant are...

  • Academic departments
  • Domain-specific groups / academics
  • Online learning groups

Movements for whom this might be relevant are...

  • Advocacy for open science/source/scholarship/education


Senior Director of Operations, Code for Science and Society

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