Integrity and security in the global research ecosystem

“Open and transparent communication and dissemination of scientific information and data and sharing of research materials are essential for the global science ecosystem to operate effectively….

However, new challenges and threats are emerging as some governments and non-state actors exhibit increasingly forceful efforts to unfairly exploit and distort the open research environment for their own interests. Many countries now consider unauthorised information transfer and foreign interference in public research as a serious national and economic security risk and a threat to freedom of scientific research….

Hence, the aim of the project was to identify good practices to safeguard national and economic security whilst protecting freedom of enquiry, promoting international research cooperation, and ensuring openness and non-discrimination….”

 

Research Infrastructures mobilisation in response to COVID-19: lessons learned – Science Europe

“This report provides a summary of the virtual workshop organised by OECD Global Science Forum and Science Europe in May 2021 and set up as a satellite event of the International Conference on Research Infrastructures (ICRI 2021). The report concentrates on key elements of the presentations and on the discussions that took place during sessions.

This joint workshop highlighted the important role that research infrastructures play within the research ecosystem, and the important roles that many of these facilities, services, and resources take beyond their primary focus: a fact that has been clearly highlighted during this COVID-19 pandemic.”

The pandemic has triggered an unprecedented mobilisation of the scientific community – OECD

“Around 75 000 scientific publications on COVID-19 were published between January and November 2020, of which more than three-quarters were open access, compared to less than one-half in other biomedical fields (see figure). The United States accounts for the largest share, followed by China and the United Kingdom (Figure 3). Research databases and scientific publishers removed paywalls so that the scientific community could quickly share COVID-19-related data and publications. Pre-prints (academic papers that have yet to be peer reviewed or published) have become more common in the medical research field, allowing for the faster diffusion of scientific findings, but also raising risks around quality assurance. These developments mark important changes that could accelerate the transition to a more open science in the longer run.”

Data governance: Enhancing access to and sharing of data – OECD

“Access to and sharing of data are increasingly critical for fostering data-driven scientific discovery and innovations across the private and public sectors globally and will play a role in solving societal challenges, including fighting COVID-19 and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). But restrictions to data access, sometimes compounded by a reluctance to share, and a growing awareness of the risks that come with data access and sharing, means economies and societies are not harnessing the full potential of data.

Adopted in October 2021, the OECD Recommendation on Enhancing Access to and Sharing of Data (EASD) is the first internationally agreed upon set of principles and policy guidance on how governments can maximise the cross-sectoral benefits of all types of data – personal, non-personal, open, proprietary, public and private – while protecting the rights of individuals and organisations.

The Recommendation intends to help governments develop coherent data governance policies and frameworks to unlock the potential benefits of data across and within sectors, countries, organisations, and communities. It aims to reinforce trust across the data ecosystem, stimulate investment in data and incentivise data access and sharing, and foster effective and responsible data access, sharing and use across sectors and jurisdictions.

The Recommendation is a key deliverable of phase 3 of the OECD’s Going Digital project, focused on data governance for frowth and well-being. It was developed by three OECD Committees (Digital Economy Policy, Scientific and Technological Policy, and Public Governance) and acts as a common reference for existing and new OECD legal instruments related to data in areas such as research, health and digital government. It will provide a foundation stone for ongoing OECD work to help countries unlock the potential of data in the digital era.”

Open Science – OECD

“Open science encompasses unhindered access to scientific articles, access to data from public research, and collaborative research enabled by ICT tools and incentives. Broadening access to scientific publications and data is at the heart of open science, so that research outputs are in the hands of as many as possible, and potential benefits are spread as widely as possible:

Open science promotes a more accurate verification of scientific results. By combining the tools of science and information technologies, scientific enquiry and discovery can be sped up for the benefit of society. 

Open science reduces duplication in collecting, creating, transferring and re-using scientific material.
 
Open science increases productivity in an era of tight budgets.
 
Open science results in great innovation potential and increased consumer choice from public research.
 
Open science promotes citizens’ trust in science. Greater citizen engagement leads to active participation in scientific experiments and data collection.

 

The OECD is working with member and non-member economies to review policies to promote open science and to assess their impact on research and innovation….”

Optimising the Operation and Use – Science Europe

“The majority of research infrastructures (RIs) are funded, managed, and operated within national systems. They mostly provide services to national research communities.

As research budgets are limited, and governments and funding agencies need to support increasingly large and complex RIs and RI portfolios, Science Europe and the OECD Global Science Forum joined forces to analyse how to optimise their operation and use within a national context….”

OPTIMISING THE OPERATION AND USE OF NATIONAL RESEARCH INFRASTRUCTURES

Abstract:  Research Infrastructures (RIs) play a key role in enabling and developing research in all scientific domains and represent an increasingly large share of research investment. Most RIs are funded, managed and operated at a national or federal level, and provide services mostly to national research communities. This policy report presents a generic framework for improving the use and operation of national RIs. It includes two guiding models, one for portfolio management and one for user-base optimisation. These guiding models lay out the key principles of an  effective national RI portfolio management system and identify the factors that should be considered by RI managers with regards to optimising the user-base of national RIs. Both guiding models take into consideration the diversity of national systems and RI operation approaches.

This report also contains a series of more generic policy recommendations and suggested actions for RI portfolio managers and RI managers.

[From the body of the report:]

As described in Section 8.1.2, data-driven RIs often do not have complex access mechanisms in place, as they mostly provide open access. Such access often means reducing the number of steps needed by a user to gain access to data. This can have knock-on implications for the ability of RIs to accurately monitor user access: for instance, the removal of login portals that were previously used to provide data access statistics….

Requiring users to submit Data Management Plans (DMPs) prior to the provision of access to an RI may encourage users to consider compliance with FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) data principles whilst planning their project (Wilkinson et al., 2016[12]). The alignment of requirements for Data Management Plans (Science Europe, 2018[13]) used for RI access provision and those used more generally in academic research should be considered to facilitate their adoption by researchers….

The two opposing extremes, described above, of either FAIR / open access or very limited data access provision, highlight the diversity in approaches of national RIs towards data access, and the lack of clear policy guidance…..

It is important that RIs have an open and transparent data policies in line with the FAIR principles to broaden their user base. Collaborating with other RIs to federate repositories and harmonize meta-data may be an important step in standardising open and transparent data policies across the RI community. …

There are a wide variety of pricing policies, both between and also within individual RIs, and the need for some flexibility is recognised. RIs should ensure that their pricing policies for all access modes are clear and cost-transparent, and that merit-based academic usage is provided openly and ‘free-from-costs’, wherever possible. …

SE-OECD Policy Paper on Optimising the Operation and Use of National Research Infrastructures – Science Europe

“The majority of research infrastructures (RIs) are funded, managed, and operated within national systems. They mostly provide services to national research communities.

As research budgets are limited, and governments and funding agencies need to support increasingly large and complex RIs and RI portfolios, Science Europe and the OECD Global Science Forum joined forces to analyse how to optimise their operation and use within a national context….”

Call for Evidence: Use of Open Government Data in COVID-19 Outbreak – Google Docs

“The OECD Secretariat, through the Digital Government and Data Unit, is calling for evidence on the release and use of Open Government Data (OGD) in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. We would like to hear from you about what data are being released and how different actors (such as entrepreneurs, media, researchers, CSOs, and the own public sector) are innovating with them to support countries’ policies and actions….”

Blockchain and OECD data repositories: opportunities and policymaking implications | Library Hi Tech | Vol 37, No 1

Abstract:  The purpose of this paper is to employ the case of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) data repositories to examine the potential of blockchain technology in the context of addressing basic contemporary societal concerns, such as transparency, accountability and trust in the policymaking process. Current approaches to sharing data employ standardized metadata, in which the provider of the service is assumed to be a trusted party. However, derived data, analytic processes or links from policies, are in many cases not shared in the same form, thus breaking the provenance trace and making the repetition of analysis conducted in the past difficult. Similarly, it becomes tricky to test whether certain conditions justifying policies implemented still apply. A higher level of reuse would require a decentralized approach to sharing both data and analytic scripts and software. This could be supported by a combination of blockchain and decentralized file system technology.

Design/methodology/approach

 

The findings presented in this paper have been derived from an analysis of a case study, i.e., analytics using data made available by the OECD. The set of data the OECD provides is vast and is used broadly. The argument is structured as follows. First, current issues and topics shaping the debate on blockchain are outlined. Then, a redefinition of the main artifacts on which some simple or convoluted analytic results are based is revised for some concrete purposes. The requirements on provenance, trust and repeatability are discussed with regards to the architecture proposed, and a proof of concept using smart contracts is used for reasoning on relevant scenarios.

Findings

 

A combination of decentralized file systems and an open blockchain such as Ethereum supporting smart contracts can ascertain that the set of artifacts used for the analytics is shared. This enables the sequence underlying the successive stages of research and/or policymaking to be preserved. This suggests that, in turn, and ex post, it becomes possible to test whether evidence supporting certain findings and/or policy decisions still hold. Moreover, unlike traditional databases, blockchain technology makes it possible that immutable records can be stored. This means that the artifacts can be used for further exploitation or repetition of results. In practical terms, the use of blockchain technology creates the opportunity to enhance the evidence-based approach to policy design and policy recommendations that the OECD fosters. That is, it might enable the stakeholders not only to use the data available in the OECD repositories but also to assess corrections to a given policy strategy or modify its scope.

Blockchain and OECD data repositories: opportunities and policymaking implications | Library Hi Tech | Vol 37, No 1

Abstract:  The purpose of this paper is to employ the case of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) data repositories to examine the potential of blockchain technology in the context of addressing basic contemporary societal concerns, such as transparency, accountability and trust in the policymaking process. Current approaches to sharing data employ standardized metadata, in which the provider of the service is assumed to be a trusted party. However, derived data, analytic processes or links from policies, are in many cases not shared in the same form, thus breaking the provenance trace and making the repetition of analysis conducted in the past difficult. Similarly, it becomes tricky to test whether certain conditions justifying policies implemented still apply. A higher level of reuse would require a decentralized approach to sharing both data and analytic scripts and software. This could be supported by a combination of blockchain and decentralized file system technology.

Design/methodology/approach

 

The findings presented in this paper have been derived from an analysis of a case study, i.e., analytics using data made available by the OECD. The set of data the OECD provides is vast and is used broadly. The argument is structured as follows. First, current issues and topics shaping the debate on blockchain are outlined. Then, a redefinition of the main artifacts on which some simple or convoluted analytic results are based is revised for some concrete purposes. The requirements on provenance, trust and repeatability are discussed with regards to the architecture proposed, and a proof of concept using smart contracts is used for reasoning on relevant scenarios.

Findings

 

A combination of decentralized file systems and an open blockchain such as Ethereum supporting smart contracts can ascertain that the set of artifacts used for the analytics is shared. This enables the sequence underlying the successive stages of research and/or policymaking to be preserved. This suggests that, in turn, and ex post, it becomes possible to test whether evidence supporting certain findings and/or policy decisions still hold. Moreover, unlike traditional databases, blockchain technology makes it possible that immutable records can be stored. This means that the artifacts can be used for further exploitation or repetition of results. In practical terms, the use of blockchain technology creates the opportunity to enhance the evidence-based approach to policy design and policy recommendations that the OECD fosters. That is, it might enable the stakeholders not only to use the data available in the OECD repositories but also to assess corrections to a given policy strategy or modify its scope.

Declaration on Access to Research Data from Public Funding

THE GOVERNMENTS of Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Russian Federation, the Slovak Republic, the Republic of South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States: …

DECLARE THEIR COMMITMENT TO:

Work towards the establishment of access regimes for digital research data from public funding in accordance with the following objectives and principles: …”

OECD Principles and Guidelines for Access to Research Data from Public Funding

The attached Principles and Guidelines are meant to apply to research data that are gathered using public funds for the purposes of producing publicly accessible knowledge. The nature of “public funding” of research varies significantly from one country to the next, as do existing data access policies and practices at the national, disciplinary and institutional levels. These differences call for a flexible approach in developing data access arrangements. The balance between the costs of improved access to research data and the benefits that result from such access will need to be judged by individual national governments and their research communities.” 

Australian Government Response to the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Intellectual Property Arrangements

At p. 18: “Recommendation 16.1 The Australian, and State and Territory governments should implement an open access policy for publicly funded research. The policy should provide free and open access arrangements for all publications funded by governments, directly or through university funding, within 12 months of publication. The policy should minimise exemptions. The Australian Government should seek to establish the same policy for international agencies to which it is a contributory funder, but which still charge for their publications, such as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development….”