Viewpoint: As part of global shift, Utrecht University is changing how it evaluates its researchers | Science|Business

Many scientists are transitioning to a new way of working, known as open science, which will require new ways of evaluating researchers’ work. At Utrecht University we are adapting the reward system so it will incentivise this shift. The change that has received the most public attention, ditching the publishing metric known as the journal impact factor, is important, but it’s just one step in a much larger transformation. Through open science, researchers and research administrators seek to improve the quality, reproducibility and social impact of research. Open science includes open access publishing, so citizens and peers can access the fruits of publicly-funded research without paying for the privilege, and moving to a system of FAIR data, making information easy for researchers to find, access, and reuse. Open science also includes software sharing.

We moeten af van telzucht in de wetenschap – ScienceGuide

From Google’s English:  “On July 19, ScienceGuide published an open letter from 171 academics who are concerned about the new Recognition and Valuation of scientists. In fact, the signatories warn that the new ‘Recognize and Appreciate’ leads to more arbitrariness and loss of quality. This will jeopardize the international top position of Dutch science, argue the writers, which will adversely affect young academics in particular.  …

It is noticeable that these young scientists, whom the letter speaks of, do not seem to be involved in drafting the message. It is also striking that signatories to the open letter themselves are mainly at the top of the academic career ladder; 142 of the 171 signatories are even professors. As Young Science in Transition, PhD candidates Network Netherlands, PostDocNL, a large number of members of De Jonge Akademies and many other young researchers, we do not agree with the message they are proclaiming. In fact, we worry about these kinds of noises when it comes to our current and future careers. Young academics are eagerly waiting for a new system of Recognition and Appreciation. …”

Nieuwe Erkennen en waarderen schaadt Nederlandse wetenschap – ScienceGuide

From Google’s English:  “A group of 171 scientists, including 142 professors, warns in this open letter that the new Recognition and Valuation will harm Dutch science. The medical, exact and life sciences in particular are in danger of losing their international top position as a result of the new Recognition and Appreciation, because it is no longer clear how scientists are judged.

An article was recently published in Nature about the new policy of Utrecht University whereby the impact factors of scientific journals are no longer included in the evaluation of scientists. Measurable performance figures have been abandoned in favor of an ‘open science’ system and elevating the team above the individual.  

Here 171 academics warn that this new ‘Recognition and appreciation’ will lead to more arbitrariness and less quality and that this policy will have major consequences for the international recognition and appreciation of Dutch scientists. This will have negative consequences in particular for young researchers, who will no longer be able to compete internationally.  …”

Why the new Recognition & Rewards actually boosts excellent science

“During the last few weeks, several opinion pieces have appeared questioning the new Recognition and Rewards (R&R) and Open Science in Dutch academia. On July 13, the TU/e Cursor published interviews with professors who question the usefulness of a new vision on R&R (1). A day later, on July 14, the chairman of the board of NWO compared science to top sport, with an emphasis on sacrifice and top performance (2), a line of thinking that fits the traditional way of R&R in academia. On July 19, an opinion piece was published by 171 university (head) teachers and professors (3), this time in ScienceGuide questioning again the new vision of R&R. These articles, all published within a week, show that as the new R&R gains traction within universities, established scholars are questioning its usefulness and effectiveness. Like others before us (4), we would like to respond. …”

From principles to practices: Open Science at Europe’s universities: 2020-2021 EUA Open Science Survey results

“KEY RESULTS: • Open Science principles: over half (59%) of the surveyed institutions rated Open Science’s strategic importance as very high or high. Open Access to research publications was considered to be highly important for 90% of institutions, but only 60% considered its implementation level to be high. However, the gap between importance and implementation is much wider in data-related areas (RDM, FAIR and data sharing): high importance at between 55-70% of the institutions surveyed, with high levels of implementation at 15-25%. • Open Science policies: 54% of institutions have an Open Science policy and 37% are developing one. Only 9% of surveyed institutions lack an Open Science policy or are not planning to draft one. • Monitoring Open Access to research publications: 80% of institutions monitored the number of publications in their repository and 70% monitored articles published by their researchers in Open Access journals. In addition, almost 60% reported monitoring the cost of publications by their researchers in Open Access journals. • Infrastructure for Open Access to research publications: 90% of the institutions surveyed have their own repository, participate in a shared repository or both. For journal hosting or publishing platforms this figure reaches 66%, and levels out at 57% for monograph hosting/publishing. In addition, 66% of those surveyed reported that their institution has participated in or supported non-commercial Open Access publishing. Data-related skills: over 50% of the surveyed institutions reported that research data skills were only partially available. Moreover, all of the institutions that indicated the absence or partial availability of data skills, considered that more of these skills are needed at institutional level. • Emerging areas of Open Science: Approximately 50% of the respondents know of citizen science and open education activities at their institutions. • Open Science in academic assessment: In 34% of institutions, none of the Open Science elements examined by the survey were included in academic assessments. Amongst the institutions that included Open Science activities in their academic assessments, 77% took into consideration article deposition in a repository. …”

Towards wide-scale adoption of open science practices: The role of open science communities | Science and Public Policy | Oxford Academic

Abstract:  Despite the increasing availability of Open Science (OS) infrastructure and the rise in policies to change behaviour, OS practices are not yet the norm. While pioneering researchers are developing OS practices, the majority sticks to status quo. To transition to common practice, we must engage a critical proportion of the academic community. In this transition, OS Communities (OSCs) play a key role. OSCs are bottom-up learning groups of scholars that discuss OS within and across disciplines. They make OS knowledge more accessible and facilitate communication among scholars and policymakers. Over the past two years, eleven OSCs were founded at several Dutch university cities. In other countries, similar OSCs are starting up. In this article, we discuss the pivotal role OSCs play in the large-scale transition to OS. We emphasize that, despite the grassroot character of OSCs, support from universities is critical for OSCs to be viable, effective, and sustainable.


Open Future

“Numerous organisations and initiatives have been launched with a belief in openness and free knowledge. Their proponents placed their bets on the combined power of networked information services and new governance models for the production and sharing of content and data. We – as members of this broad movement – were among those who believed it possible to leverage this combination of power and opportunity to build a more democratic society, unleashing the power of the internet to create universal access to knowledge and culture. For us, such openness meant not only freedom, but also presented a path to justice and equality….

The open revolution that we imagined did not, however, happen. At least not on the scale that we and many other proponents of free culture expected.

Nevertheless, the growing Open movement demonstrated the viability of our ideas. As proof we have Wikipedia, Open Government data initiatives, the ascent of Open Access publishing, the role of free software in powering the infrastructure of the internet and the gradual opening of the collections of many cultural heritage institutions….

Over time, we have observed the significant evolution of our movement’s normative basis – away from a justification based on the voluntary exercise of rights by individual creators and towards a justification based on the production of social goods….

Over the last decade, we have witnessed a wholesale transformation of the networked information ecosystem. The web moved away from the ideals and the open design of the early internet and turned into an environment that is dominated by a small number of platforms….

The concentration of power in the hands of a small number of information intermediaries negates one of the core assumptions of the Open movement….”

Promoting inclusive metrics of success and impact to dismantle a discriminatory reward system in science

Abstract:  Success and impact metrics in science are based on a system that perpetuates sexist and racist “rewards” by prioritizing citations and impact factors. These metrics are flawed and biased against already marginalized groups and fail to accurately capture the breadth of individuals’ meaningful scientific impacts. We advocate shifting this outdated value system to advance science through principles of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. We outline pathways for a paradigm shift in scientific values based on multidimensional mentorship and promoting mentee well-being. These actions will require collective efforts supported by academic leaders and administrators to drive essential systemic change.


Webinar: Community Open Principles | EIFL

Join this webinar on Community Open Principles: Before, During and After the Global Pandemic, which is part of the Reimagining Educational Practices for Open (REPO) Community Event Series. 

Date and time: 30 June, 1pm UTC
Registration: You can register here. 

Speakers – Dr Ana Persic, UNESCO, Dr Arianna Becerril García, AmeliCA, Dr Johanna Havemann, Open Science MOOC, and Osman Aldirdiri, AfricArXiv – will lead the discussion by addressing the following questions:

When we talk about Open what do we mean? 
How can we navigate the different definitions of what it means to be a community and to be Open? 
How do we engage with communities and train members around Open?
What evidence are we using of how we are addressing Open? 
How can we be more inclusive and align our Open principles to foster norms, incentives, and recognition? 
Have our understandings around Open shifted during the pandemic? 

The webinar aims to include open science perspectives from a diverse group of communities, to learn from different approaches, and identify next steps that everyone in our global community can consider. More about REPO in this blog by Iryna Kuchma, EIFL Open Access Programme Manager.

Community Open Principles: Before, During and After the Global Pandemic

“When we talk about Open what do we mean? How can we navigate the different definitions of what it means to be a community and to be Open? How do we engage with communities and train members around Open? What evidence are we using of how we are addressing Open? How can we be more inclusive and align our Open principles to foster norms, incentives, and recognition? Have our understandings around Open shifted during the pandemic?

This online webinar, part of The Reimagining Educational Practices for Open (REPO) Community Event Series, will address these questions via the experiences of invited open science communities, how they have designed and applied their open (science) principles before and during the pandemic, particularly with regard to outreach and training, while also looking out at the horizon, at a future beyond the pandemic. The webinar aims to include open science perspectives from a diverse group of communities, learn from their approaches, how they have evolved, and identify possible next steps that all, in our global community can consider.”

Game over: empower early career researchers to improve research quality

Abstract:  Processes of research evaluation are coming under increasing scrutiny, with detractors arguing that they have adverse effects on research quality, and that they support a research culture of competition to the detriment of collaboration. Based on three personal perspectives, we consider how current systems of research evaluation lock early career researchers and their supervisors into practices that are deemed necessary to progress academic careers within the current evaluation frameworks. We reflect on the main areas in which changes would enable better research practices to evolve; many align with open science. In particular, we suggest a systemic approach to research evaluation, taking into account its connections to the mechanisms of financial support for the institutions of research and higher education in the broader landscape. We call for more dialogue in the academic world around these issues and believe that empowering early career researchers is key to improving research quality.


Editorial: Can Journals, as Trusted Intermediaries, Cut Through the Signal-to-Noise Problem in Medical Publishing?

“Although open-access publication has its upsides, for purposes of this essay, I am going to lump publishing in open-access journals in with posting to preprint servers as potentially problematic. My reason for doing so is that both make it harder for clinicians to separate helpful research from distracting, unhelpful, and in the case of preprint servers, unvetted material. In previous editorials, I’ve highlighted some redeeming qualities of open-access publication [17, 18]; I also note that open access is a publication option here at CORR®. But from where I sit today, it’s becoming clear to me that the distortion of publication incentives that are inherent to fully open-access journals does not serve readers (or their patients) very well….”


“13. To get and stay ahead of the virus, we commit to continue our investment in cutting edge research and innovation, seeking to ensure that global vaccines remain effective against variants of concern, and that effective tests and treatments are available. To this end, we will boost global surveillance  and genomic sequencing and swift information sharing needed to enable the rapid detection to combat the virus and its emerging variants. G7 countries should extend every effort to achieve, wherever possible, a level of genomic sequencing of at least 10 per cent of all new positive COVID-19 samples during the pandemic phase and share genomic sequencing information with existing global databases….

36. Underpinning all of these future frontiers, and wider challenges of the coming century, is the importance of scientific discovery and its deployment. We will therefore work together to promote stronger collaboration on research and development, and promote principles of research security and integrity and open science building off the historical levels of collaboration seen in the past year to internationally beneficial results. Central to this should be building a diverse and resilient science and research community, inclusive for all groups  including women. Domestically we will seek to redress the imbalance in women’s and girls’ under-representation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) which acts as a barrier to access to these growing industries. We will explore how existing and potential new mechanisms and initiatives can support risk reduction, prevention and response to future systemic crises, natural disasters and pace of technological change. As such we endorse the G7 Compact on Research Collaboration and its commitment to: support policies, legal frameworks and programmes to promote research collaboration; promote sharing of research data; explore enhancements to research assessment and rewards for collaboration and knowledge sharing; and develop a common set of principles which will help protect research and innovation ecosystem across the G7 to open and reciprocal research collaboration….”

G7 Research Compact

As Open Societies with democratic values we believe in academic freedom. The freedom to pursue intellectual enquiry and to innovate allows us to make progress on shared issues and drive forward the frontiers of knowledge and discovery for the benefit of the entire world. We recognise that research and innovation are fundamentally global endeavours. Nations, citizens,  institutions,  and  businesses  have  made  huge  strides  forward,  not  otherwise possible, through open research collaboration across borders. Working together we will use our position as leading science nations to collaborate on global challenges, increase the transparency and integrity of research, and facilitate data free flow with trust to drive innovation and advance knowledge.



Open Scholarship Support Guide.pdf(Shared)- Adobe Document Cloud

“Steps to Support Open Scholarship

Open scholarship entails a culture shift in how research is conducted in universities. It requires action on the part of university administration, working in concert with faculty, sponsors and disciplinary communities.  Universities should consider steps in three areas:

•  Policies:  Language and guidance should be reviewed for alignment with open scholarship, in particular: (1) academic hiring, review, tenure and promotion (valuing diverse types of research products; metrics that  incentivize the open dissemination of articles, data, and other research outputs; and valuing collaborative research); (2) intellectual property (ownership, licensing and distribution of data, software, materials and publications); (3) research data protection (for data to be stored and shared through repositories); (4) attribution (recognizing full range of contributions);  and (5) privacy (insuring that privacy obligations are met). 

•  Services and Training:  Researchers need support to assure that data and other research objects are managed according to FAIR Principles: findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable.  While the specific solution must be tailored to the discipline and research, common standards, including Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs), must be followed.

•  Infrastructure:  Archival storage is required for data, materials, specimens and publications to permit reuse.  Searchable portals are needed to register research products where they can be located and accessed. Universities can recognize efficiencies by utilizing external resources (including existing disciplinary repositories) and by developing shared resources that span the institution when external resources do not exist.

Presidents and provosts are encouraged to work with their academic senates to create an open scholarship initiative that promotes institution-wide actions supporting open scholarship practices, while remaining sufficiently flexible to accommodate disciplinary differences and norms….”