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May 17, 2022

FOREST Framework for Values-Driven Scholarly Communication

This FOREST Framework is intended to help scholarly communication organizations and communities to demonstrate, evaluate, and ultimately improve their alignment with key values, including:

Financial and Organizational Sustainability
Representative Governance
Equity, Accessibility, and Anti-Oppression
Sharing of Knowledge

These six core values have appeared in dozens of manifestos, open letters, and other statements issued by a broad range of academic stakeholders, including faculty, students, publishers, librarians, and open source tool developers. They were selected, defined, vetted publicly, and refined by the Next Generation Library Publishing team.

The FOREST Framework offers concrete mechanisms that communities can use to assess how their policies and practices align with these values and their associated principles. The framework has been designed to recognize growth and progress (rather than just results), identify strengths (rather than only deficits), and center aspirations (rather than descriptions of the current state). The framework therefore strives to account for differences in organizational maturity and mission, recognizing that these may influence the implementation of values and principles. Accountability assessment must strike a tough balance by providing enough structure and information to engender trust, guide investments, and incentivize alignment with shared principles and standards but not be so rigid as to create artificial barriers to entry into these marketplaces.