The future is Open Science!

Open science is a movement within the scientific community and policy makers, which aims to make scientific research, data and dissemination accessible to all levels of an inquiring society, amateur or professional.

To fully achieve this philosophy means practicing science in a truly open way so that others can collaborate and contribute, where data, lab notes and other research processes are freely available, under terms that enable reuse, redistribution and reproduction of the research and its underlying data and methods. It is in a way a return to making science and knowledge the goal, instead of the publication and its impact.

While the benefits of this revolutionary approach to the advancement of science are obvious, there are concerns about how opening up all research may affect the researcher’s career. To reach openness in science, a revolution of means and minds is required and is still far from being achieved. In recent years the Open Science concept has gained lot of interest among the European scholars, researchers, academics and policy makers.

The European Commission recognised the benefit of this new approach to science and has set a goal for 2020 to make Open Science a reality for all public funded research projects.

Much has been discussed about what Open Science means, how it works, who the beneficiaries are and what the ultimate goal is. It is now time to start implementing it. It is necessary to identify which are the most important and immediate steps required to open the way for what is already perceived as the most important revolution in modern science.

Current guidelines in opening the research process are ‘as open as possible, as closed as necessary’. Researchers can decide which data they want to share and when. But does this bring us closer to truly Open Science? There are also questions of how to share data, how to include online data management into your research activities and finally, how to integrate Open Science in scientific reward systems. Also, how does one modify the system to make Open Science a natural state of affairs for scientists? Currently, the award system is measured by published works, citations and h-indices. Thus, researchers are rightly asking how Open Science will help them achieve these awards.

Another issue is time, space, and resources. Opening the research process should involve data management and technical management of online databases. All these require funding, and we all know that money is crucial in order to begin and conduct research.

So, although Open Science has the support of many researchers, there are still issues that need to be addressed and resolved before the goals of Open Science can be fully realised.

The Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA) is following the developments on Open Science and promoting discussion panels on how to achieve it. We are organising the webinar What does “open science” really mean?’ in collaboration with Euroscientist and with the participation of representatives of the most important stakeholders.

You are invited to register for free and join us for this free online event on the 3rd October 2017 at 13:30 CET.

We will join a round table discussion with Julie Sainz, Policy Officer at the European Commission for the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions; Ivo Grigorov, member of the FOSTER project to promote open science education among researchers; Eva Méndez, professor of Information Science and member of the EC’s Open Science Policy Platform and Sascha Friesike, researcher at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

The panel will focus on how technology can help in opening up science and the role it can play in creative processes. Michele Catanzaro, a physicist and freelance science journalist for Nature, EuroScientist, El Periódico, and other outlets will moderate the discussion; trying to understand where academia is going and how to engage more scholars in open science.

But there’s more to come. The Policy Working Group of the MCAA together with partners from Open Scholar, FOSTER, Eurodoc and representatives from the European Commission, EMBO and others proposed a panel at the ESOF 2018, which is to take place in Toulouse next year.

This gender-balanced panel comprises representatives from across the research ecosystem of stakeholders, including both young and established researchers, academic publishers, plus research policy associates and academic policy officers. We will discuss both the resources that are already available and in use, and further improvements that are required to make Open Science an established part of the research workflow; from sharing data, methodology and interpretation in open peer-review, to open access publishing. We will put special emphasis on the implementation of Open Science in research and evaluation and how the current award system can be modified to meet Open Science requirements.

While it may seem we are in the early days Open Science, 2020 is already around the corner. To achieve the European Commission’s goals we need to work fast and adapt quickly. Science will be different in just a few years. The future is here, and looking brighter.

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This post was written by Maja Mise and Fernanda Bajanca.

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