Safeguarding science in the wake of conflict – International Science Council

“Full adoption of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recommendation on open science is highlighted as a pathway for enabling displaced scholars to continue their work, and supporting the (re)development of fragile science systems. Crucially, stakeholders must work together to develop sustainable frameworks in higher education and research systems for a more predictable and effective approach to the phases of preparedness, response and rebuilding in the aftermath of conflict or disaster….”

To make ‘open science’ a reality, key issues must be advanced – International Year of Basic Sciences for Development

“To make open science a reality, three key issues, as a priority, ought to be advanced globally, according to Peter Gluckman, President of the International Science Council (ISC).

The shaping of the open science paradigm has largely been achieved through the work of national academies, international scientific unions and associations, and related bodies that are represented in the membership of the International Science Council (ISC). National and regional funders of science have increasingly supported the open science imperative by investing in supportive infrastructures and promoting open access publishing as a condition of funding.

Now, UNESCO has taken a stance to formalize these trends at the international level through its Recommendation on Open Science. Despite the gaps in this document, it could have some important positive outcomes….”

The future of scientific publishing – International Science Council

“This project explores the role of publishing in the scientific enterprise, asking how the scholarly publishing system can maximize benefit to global science and to wider audiences for scientific research….

Accessible publication of the results and ideas arising from research is a fundamental part of the scientific enterprise. Yet technological change, an explosion in demand for journal outlets, monopolistic behaviour on the part of some publishers, and the use of journal impact factors and cited publications as primary indicators of scientific merit have created systemic instability in scientific publishing.

Today many institutions and researchers are excluded from accessing articles that are hidden behind paywalls, and from publishing articles in journals with unaffordable fees. There are increasing calls for the reform of scientific publishing in order to further the global progress of science. It is clear that the system is no longer fulfilling the needs of its main audience: scholarly researchers and the institutions in which they work.

At the same time, Open Access is widely seen as a means to overcome inequities in access to knowledge, particularly in poorer countries and institutions, and ultimately to increase the use of scientific evidence in decision-making. However, funding models and routes to genuine Open Access for authors and readers are far from resolved. The scientific publishing model is ripe for renewal.

This project started under our previous Action Plan (2019-2021)….”

Senior Campaign Manager (Consultant position): The Future of Scientific Publishing Project

“Strong project management experience required along with experience and knowledge related to scientific publishing, especially recent developments in the sector including open access publishing….

Today many institutions and researchers are excluded from accessing articles that are hidden behind paywalls, and there are increasing calls for the reform of scientific publishing in order to further the global progress of science. The system is no longer fulfilling the needs of its main audience: scholarly researchers and the institutions in which they work. At the same time, Open Access is widely seen as a means to overcome inequities in access to knowledge, particularly in poorer countries and institutions, and ultimately to increase the use of scientific evidence in decision-making. However, routes to Open Access are far from resolved, as recent debates around the ‘Plan S’ initiative have demonstrated. The scientific publishing model is ripe for renewal….”

Science community steps up to reform open access

“The International Science Council (ISC) and ALLEA (All European Academies) last month drew the attention of the scientific community to the inadequacies of open access to research papers as currently implemented by publishers (see go.nature.com/3otps2d and go.nature.com/3cfp6bq). Open access to the record of science is essential for an equitable and inclusive global scientific enterprise and to the scientific self-correction that is crucial for rigour and public trust. The ISC statement sets out eight fundamental principles of publishing that need to be upheld in serving the needs of science, including mandating access to all evidential data and removing restrictive copyright.”

UNESCO General Conference adopts Open Science Recommendation

The road to the Open Science Recommendation being adopted commenced with a resolution from the 40th session of UNESCO’s General Conference in 2019, where 193 Member States tasked UNESCO with the development of an international standard-setting instrument.

That instrument, the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science, has now been adopted by Member States at its 41st General Conference.

Open Science and the UNESCO initiative – International Year of Basic Sciences for Development

“Although Open Science is not new, it stems from the publication of the first scientific journals in the late seventeenth century, profound new digital opportunities have inspired scientific communities to progressively mature and crystallize the essentials of a new Open Science movement. It enlarges scientific and social horizons in the pursuit of knowledge, its dissemination and use.

Intrinsic to this new paradigm are historic values of scientific self-organization, principles of freedom and responsibility, universal accessibility and sharing, inclusivity and equitability, together with responsibilities for education and capacity development, as reflected in the statutes of the International Science Council (ISC) and in its vision of “science as a global public good”. The expanded social networks of this new openness are exemplified in trends of increased multi-nationally authored scientific papers, the growth of trans-disciplinary collaboration and of citizen science.

The shaping of this new paradigm has largely been achieved through the work of the national academies, international scientific unions and associations, and related bodies that are represented in the membership of the ISC, and reflected in its statement on Open Science. National and regional funders of science have increasingly supported the Open Science imperative by investments in supportive infrastructures and promotion of open access publishing as a condition of funding….

Now UNESCO has taken a stance. It seeks to formalize these trends at an international level by placing a recommendation on Open Science before its 193 Member States for their endorsement. It has engaged with the scientific community over the last year to generate a long list of draft recommendations for open access to the published record of science, open data, open educational resources, open-source software and code, open hardware and infrastructures, and open engagement with society.

The draft’s first contact with political reality, in the form of national representatives, took place in early May 2021. Representatives were almost universally supportive, and even added “bite” on some crucial issues….”

A new social contract must include genuine participation and partnership of Indigenous peoples in decision-making about research – International Science Council

“The free and responsible practice of science is fundamental to scientific advancement and human and environmental well-being. Such practice, in all its aspects, requires freedom of movement, association, expression and communication for scientists, as well as equitable access to data, information, and other resources for research. It requires responsibility at all levels to carry out and communicate scientific work with integrity, respect, fairness, trustworthiness, and transparency, recognizing its benefits and possible harms. In advocating the free and responsible practice of science, the Council promotes equitable opportunities for access to science and its benefits, and opposes discrimination based on such factors as ethnic origin, religion, citizenship, language, political or other opinion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, or age….”

Statement from the International Science Council delegation to the UNESCO Special Committee meeting on Open Science, 6-12 May 2021

“Now UNESCO has taken a stance. It seeks to formalize these trends at an international level by placing a recommendation on Open Science before its 193 Member States for their endorsement3 . It has engaged with the scientific community over the last year to generate a long list of draft recommendations for open access to the published record of science, open data, open educational resources, open-source software and code, open hardware and infrastructures, and open engagement with society. The draft’s first contact with political reality, in the form of national representatives, took place in early May 2021. Representatives were almost universally supportive, and even added “bite” on some crucial issues. For example, there is an increasing awareness of the moves of some major commercial publishers to evolve into broadly based “science/knowledge platforms”, able increasingly to monopolize not only access to scientific knowledge but also to data about science and scientists, their evaluation, scientometrics, management, networking, priorities and funding, with little accountability to the scientific community or its organizations 4 . Indeed, the commercial public sector has been more than effective in monetizing scholarly output, creating an oligopoly of control, and is learning how to take control over additional aspects of the research life cycle, now especially focused on the interaction between publishing, data repositories, and access to data. Awareness of these trends was reflected in a critical insertion in the text by UNESCO Member States that: “The monitoring of Open Science should be explicitly kept under public oversight, including the scientific community, and whenever possible supported by open non-proprietary and transparent infrastructures. This monitoring aspect could include but should not be delegated to the private sector.”

The UNESCO recommendation and potential cascading interventions by Member States could develop along two divergent pathways. They could enhance governmental support for the scientific community, and the stakeholder ecosystem of which it is part, as they develop new policies, infrastructures and collaboration strategies that serve the Open Science paradigm as it has progressively evolved over the last two decades. Alternatively, Member States could disregard the tradition whereby the scientific community self-organizes to achieve its purposes, and come to specify, or even regulate, how it should be organized. We are strongly in favour of the former, and concerned about the potential of the latter, which could create a mode of Open Science that opens the door: “to capture of publicly funded research value by commercial platforms, yet more ‘metrics’ of productivity to ‘incentivize’ scholars to work harder and a focus on the system-wide progress of science, ignoring costs and benefits to individuals, whether scientists or non-scientists” 5 . Nonetheless, we welcome the draft UNESCO recommendation most strongly, with the comment that awareness of danger is the first step in averting it.”

Open Science and the UNESCO initiative – opportunity to republish ISC statement – International Science Council

In this statement made by the ISC delegation to the UNESCO Special Committee meeting on Open Science, 6-12 May 2021, the delegation explores how the recommendation and potential cascading interventions by Member States could develop along two divergent pathways

New Steering Group sets direction for the second phase of the Scientific Publishing project – International Science Council

“Following the successful first phase of the project, which involved extensive consultations with the global scientific community as represented by ISC Members, and resulted in the ISC Report “Opening the record of science”, the ISC is stepping into the next phase under the guidance of the Steering Group. …”

Results: The ISC Survey on the first draft of the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science – International Science Council

“The UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science is envisaged as important step in promoting a global understanding of the meaning, opportunities, and challenges of Open Science. The ISC, along with the IAP, our UN Major Group for the Scientific and Technological Community partners WFEO, and ALLEA, assisted UNESCO in gathering comments on the first draft of the Recommendation from the scientific community through an online survey at the end of 2020.

The perspectives of the international scientific community and their assessment of the draft text gathered through the survey will assist UNESCO and its Member States in the development of the final text of the Recommendation on Open Science, expected to be adopted by Member States in November 2021.

The responses were generally positive towards the UNESCO Recommendations and highlighted some key concerns and gaps….”