Different Country, Same Concern: My First Steps in Switzerland’s Open Science Landscape

On March 1st I started a new position at the University of Bern. After building new #openaccess instruments for more than eight years at Heidelberg University, I decided it was time for a change of scenery. I had watched with great interest Switzerland’s move towards a national open access strategy and the growth of its open access infrastructure, so when an opportunity presented itself to join Bern’s open science team assembled by @dirkverdicchio I did not hesitate: I applied, was lucky enough to be offered the gig and gladly joined.

Everything is fresh and new and at the moment it feels like I am drinking from the proverbial fire-hose. One of our first tasks will be to move all e-journals hosted on the library publishing branch BoP to OJS 3.1. So it’s helmets on and seatbelts fastened for a serious test-drive of the platform’s latest (German) version.

I am really excited about meeting all the editors of the various journals and embarking on the transition with them. Having worked as a managing editor for as long as I have, I hope to understand their concerns and requirements. With a strong technical support by my side and the ever brilliant folks at PKP for backup, it should make for an excellent experience.

While these initial, concrete plans are taking shape, I am also exploring the broader Swiss Open Science context. Make no mistake, while the goals for an open scholarly communication are the same, the parameters do shift when one crosses the border to countries outside Europe. For example, no one seems to have an issue with SciHub: the downloading culture here is much more relaxed; the internet is so damn fast, it makes my head spin! Or take the intense discussion around copyright: there seems a tug of war going on regards secondary publication rights (Zweitverwertungsrecht), which would arguably facilitate Open Access green. Unfortunately, the Zweitverwertungsrecht was shot down in the recent legal overhaul of copyright law, which will undoubtedly make the whole national Open Access strategy a little trickier.

Meanwhile, on the other side of #openscience, there is Switzerland’s massive move towards publishing #opendata. The infrastructure building and management – from repositories to legalities – is deliciously complex and I am greedily hoovering up information from all manner of sources. There are a few conferences coming up which I hope will tweet or even live-stream, among them  the Open Science Conference (#OSC2018) in Berlin.

Exciting times! I will write more about what I learn and find. Stay tuned!

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