Just released — new insights into OE in European Libraries of Higher Education 2022

We are pleased to announce the publication of our report, Open Education in European Libraries of Higher Education: Implementing the UNESCO Recommendation on OER.  The report presents the findings of the […]

The post Just released — new insights into OE in European Libraries of Higher Education 2022 appeared first on SPARC Europe.

Open Science Conference 2022: New Challenges at the Global Level

by Guido Scherp, Doreen Siegfried and Claudia Sittner

The Open Science Conference 2022 was more international than ever before. Almost 300 participants from 49 countries followed the 10 presentations and the panel discussion on the latest developments in the increasingly global Open Science ecosystem. While the talks often focused on the macro-level of the science system, additional 13 poster presentations took visitors to many best practice examples in different corners of Europe. Those who could not be there live could follow #OSC2022 on Twitter or watch the video recordings of the talks and presentations afterwards.

Tweet Leibniz Research Alliance Open Science: Thank you for being a part of this insightful three-day-event!

This year there was a cooperation with the German Commission for UNESCO (DUK). In the context of the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science, which have been adopted at the end of 2021, the DUK organised a panel discussion and a workshop. The global perspective on Open Science associated with the recommendation has certainly contributed to greater internationalisation, especially outside Europe.

Professor Klaus Tochtermann, chair of the conference, emphasised in his opening address that much has happened in the Open Science movement since the last OSC in 2021. For example, the EU now requires a clear commitment to support open practices in research proposals in the Horizon Europe framework programme. The EU had already put the topic of Open Science on the research agenda in 2015. At that time, the focus was on Open Innovation, Open Science and Open to the World. In addition, the EU Commission recently launched an initiative to reform the existing system of research evaluation.

Tweet OpenAire: #StandWithUkraine

In view of the Ukraine war, Tochtermann also emphasised the importance of value-driven science diplomacy and freedom of science, in which global cooperation plays a central role.

Current challenges of the Open Science transformation

Once again, many “classics” were represented at this year’s conference. These included contributions on the latest developments in the fields of research data, societal participation and science communication. However, some conference contributions this year addressed points of contact between Open Science and other areas and showed how strongly Open Science is ultimately interwoven with a fundamental transformation of the science system. Openness alone does not solve all the problems in the global and interlinked academic sector, but it does show which barriers in the science system are currently hindering the implementation of Open Science. It is also important to keep an eye on the unintended negative effects of this transformation.

Tweet Ulrike Küstes: Kudos and standing ovations to @rimamrahal and your very precise addresses of the demands for change in #research in terms of precarious work environments, tenure clock and ideas for a better science legislation at #osc2022

In her presentation “On the Importance of Permanent Employment Contracts for Research Quality and Robustness”, Rima-Maria Rahal discussed how much research quality suffers under current working conditions. These include, on the one hand, temporary positions and the competitive pressure in the science system. In Germany, this is currently characterized by the #IchBinHanna debate (German) on Twitter. On the other hand, the misguided incentive system with its focus on the impact factor complicates the situation for many researchers. Ultimately, these framework conditions also hinder the implementation of Open Science on a broad scale. Improving research practice offers the opportunity to initiate structural changes in favour of research quality and to link them to open principles such as reproducibility, transparency and collaboration.

In his presentation on “Data Tracking in Research: Academic Freedom at Risk?”, Joschka Selinger addressed the general development that scientific publishers are increasingly offering services for the entire research cycle. Against the backdrop of the Open Access development, they are transforming their business model from a pure content provider to a data analytics business (see DFG position paper).

Joschka Selinger, graphic: Karin Schliehe at Open Science Conference

This privatisation of science combined with the (non-transparent) collection and exploitation of “research behaviour” is problematic for academic freedom and the right to informational self-determination, as Felix Reda also recently pointed out in a contribution to MediaTalk. Therefore, awareness of this problem must be raised at scientific institutions in order to initiate appropriate measures to protect sensitive data.

Tweet Peter Kraker: Great Presentation by @tonyR_H on ensureing equity in open science at #os2022 – a crucial topic that deserves much more attention

In his presentation “Mitigating risks of cumulative advantage in the transition to Open Science: The ON-MERRIT project”, Tony Ross-Hellauer addressed the question of whether Open Science reinforces existing privileges in the science system or creates new ones. Ultimately, this involves factors such as APC fees that make participation in Open Science more difficult and turn it into a privilege or “cumulative advantage” for financially strong countries. These factors were examined in the Horizon 2020 project ON-MERRIT and corresponding recommendations were published in a final report. In addition to APCs, this also addresses the resource intensity of open research as well as reward and recognition practices.

The global perspective of Open Science

It became clear that a central element of the further development of Open Science is in any case the “UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science”. This recommendation has particularly shaped the global perspective on Open Science and expanded it to include aspects such as inclusivity, diversity, consideration of different science systems/cultures and equity. This became particularly clear in the panel of the German UNESCO Commission on “Promoting Open Science globally: the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science“.

Tweet Leibniz Research Alliance Open Science: Vera Lecoeuilhe reports on the negotiations an its challenges around the UNESCO recommendation on #OpenScience

In keynote speeches, Vera Lacoeuilhe, Peggy Oti-Boateng and Ghaith Fariz gave insights into the background of the recommendation and the process behind it. Negotiating such a recommendation is extremely difficult. This is despite the fact that it does not even result in legislation, but at most requires monitoring/reporting. In the end, however, there was a great consensus. The Corona pandemic has also shown how important open approaches and transnational collaborations are to overcome such challenges – even though it was a great challenge to create an atmosphere of trust in online meetings. Finally, the process leading up to a recommendation was itself inclusive, transparent and consultative in the spirit of Open Science: The text was also available for public comment in the meantime.

Tweet Leibniz Research Alliance Open Science: All panelists agree: Science is a global endeavor and thus shared responsibility is inevitable to make #OpenScinence a sucess

In the discussion that followed, it became very clear what great expectations and demands there are with regard to the topics of inclusion and equity. The panellists agreed that there must be a change: away from “science for a chosen few” to “science for all”. Access to science and the benefits of scientific progress must be guaranteed for all.

Panel discussion, graphic: Karin Schliehe at Open Science Conference

The issue of equity was strongly addressed using the example of the African continent (for example in the context of APCs). However, the discussion also focused on the outreach of the recommendation, the global dynamics it triggered, and a collective vision for Open Science. And finally, science was seen as central to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Open Science plays a crucial role in this.

Tweet OpenAire: Agree with Internet access as minimum right

The implementation of the recommendation will now continue in working groups, the panellists reported. The topics include funding, infrastructure, capacity building and the above-mentioned monitoring. There are already some activities for the implementation of Open Science in African countries: Eleven of these best practice examples were presented at the end of the conference at the UNESCO workshop “Fostering Open Science in Africa – Practices, Opportunities, Solutions” (PDF). Anyone who would like to contact the DUK in the context of implementing the recommendation or in relation to Open Science activities is welcome to reach out to Fatma Rebeggiani (email: Rebeggiani@unesco.de).

Latest Open Science developments and best practices

Although the global view played a major role at this year’s Open Science Conference, there were again many insights into local projects, several Open Science communities and best practice examples. Especially in the poster session with its 13 contributions, it was easy to get into touch with local project leaders about their challenges in implementing Open Science.

Refreshing as always was the presentation of new projects and approaches, for example the grassroots initiative by students for students, which we reported on here on MediaTalk. Representing the student-volunteer-led initiative, Iris Smal, Hilbrand Wouters and Christeen Saparamadu explained why it is so important to introduce students to the principles of Open Science as early as possible.

Another best practice example showed how an initiative of the Helmholtz Association is proceeding to “liberate data”. Through services, consultations or with the help of tools, researchers are supported there in the management or provision of research data. Efficient handling of metadata or knowing where to find data from different disciplines are also relevant here, Christine Lemster, Constanze Curdt and Sören Lorenz explained in their poster.

The insights into the first six months of Open Science at UNC-Wilmington (North Carolina, USA) by Open Science pioneers Lynnee Marie Argabright and Allison Michelle Kittinger were also exciting. Two completely new roles were created for the two of them: that of data librarians. The goal is to build a sustainable Open Science campus across disciplines. An important concern of the two Open Science newcomers is also to raise awareness of the research data life cycle.

Insights into how the Open Science movement is progressing in different countries have also become an integral part of the repertoire of the Open Science Conference. This time, projects from these countries were presented at the poster session:

This showed how much consideration must be given to the national or local framework conditions and country-specific sensitivities in such projects in order for them to work in the end.

Conclusion Open Science Conference 2022

This year’s Open Science Conference once again showed how the understanding of the term Open Science expands when viewed from a global perspective, and how a completely different standard emerges. Whereas principles such as transparency, openness and reusability have been the main focus up to now, UNESCO is directing the global view more towards inclusion, diversity and equity. It is becoming clear that there is not one definition and approach to Open Science, but rather many, depending on the perspective. However, the discussion about the UNESCO recommendation on Open Science has shown how important it is to agree on a few basic prerequisites in order to also meet the needs of countries from the so-called “global south”.

In any case, the global discussion is in many ways different from, for example, the European one. Nevertheless, Open Science cannot be viewed in isolation from the national or continental science system. This is certainly not a new insight, but one that was impressively demonstrated at the #OSC2022 UNESCO workshop by the many Open Science projects in African countries.

Tweet Leibniz Research Alliance Open Science: Three incredible days

Nevertheless, it is also essential to look at the world as a whole. After all, common challenges need to be overcome. The climate crisis, the fight against the global Corona pandemic or the supply of food and energy are just a few examples of why the opportunity for global cooperation should not be missed. And the gap between knowledge and science between the so-called Western countries and the global South is already too big. But if the Open Science ecosystem is to function globally, it is crucial to involve researchers from all over the world. Only in this way can the crises of our time be solved effectively and inclusively.

Web links for the Open Science Conference 2022

More tips for events

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About the Authors:

Dr Guido Scherp is Head of the “Open-Science-Transfer” department at the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics and Coordinator of the Leibniz Research Alliance Open Science. He can also be found on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Portrait: ZBW©, photographer: Sven Wied

Dr Doreen Siegfried is Head of Marketing and Public Relations. She can also be found on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Portrait: ZBW©

Claudia Sittner studied journalism and languages in Hamburg and London. She was a long time lecturer at the ZBW publication Wirtschaftsdienst – a journal for economic policy, and is now the managing editor of the blog ZBW MediaTalk. She is also a freelance travel blogger (German), speaker and author. She can also be found on LinkedIn, Twitter and Xing.
Portrait: Claudia Sittner©

The post Open Science Conference 2022: New Challenges at the Global Level first appeared on ZBW MediaTalk.

Behind the Scenes: UNESCO Declares Bookbinding as Intangible Cultural Heritage

by Claudia Sittner

What is „Intangible Cultural Heritage“?

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, Cultural and Communication Organization (UNESCO) defines this as “oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts”, according to the Website of the UNESCO about Intangible Cultural Heritage. Traditional crafts are also eligible. Examples of Intangible Cultural Heritage are German bread culture, Hessian „Kratzputz“ (an artistic, decorative plastering technique), fairy tale telling or East Frisian tea culture.

Elke Schnee, sign language and bookbinding at the ZBW

To explain what ZBW employee Elke Schnee has to do with UNESCO, you have to backtrack a bit. Schnee has been working in the bookbindery of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics for almost exactly 40 years. She did her apprenticeship there in the 1980s, and a little later her master’s degree (German „Meister“), before taking over the management of the then rather large bookbindery a short time later.

There were two deaf trainees there who were henceforth under her care. Out of the situation, she took the trainer aptitude test and learned sign language for four years. Above all, however, she learned sign language in practice, in conversations with colleagues and trainees, says Schnee. “I fell in love with sign language on my first day at the ZBW.

Sign language: for Elke Schnee it was a matter of course to learn them

There were already two deaf people there, and I was fascinated by how they talked to each other. Then I learned several signs right away”, reports the master bookbinder. In the video interview, she remembers exactly her first four words: book, coffee, milk and end of work (the German „Feierabend“). It has always been important for her to integrate all employees and trainees. Everyone should be heard and understood.

Over the years, she has shown 33 trainees how the ancient craft of bookbinding works in all its facets. Of these, 18 percent were deaf. Today, the bookbindery of the ZBW no longer trains, and it is not alone in this: while 150 people were still trained as bookbinders nationwide in 2019, there were only 60 left in 2020. “We have to stick and work together now, otherwise the centuries-old knowledge will gradually be lost”, Schnee appeals.

The BDBI and the UNESCO

It was not only this decline that prompted the Association of German Bookbinders (BDBI), in which Elke Schnee has been active for several years, to apply for a very special award: the inclusion in UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List. “Before we are declared a dying species, this seemed like a good measure”, Schnee explains. The BDBI members felt encouraged to do so because they often heard of similar crafts, such as organ craftsmanship, being included. UNESCO’s text about tradtional craftmanship worthy of protection quickly confirmed that the craft of bookbinding was suitable for application.

Background UNESCO in Germany

UNESCO first initiated the designation as Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2003. Under the motto “Knowledge.Skills.Passing on”, around 580 crafts and traditions from 130 countries have since been included in the international list. There are also national inventories. Germany joined the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2013. There are currently 131 entries on the national list including organ craftsmanship (Orgelbau), biike burning (an annual bonfire night celebration – Biikebrennen) and blue printing (a dyeing process for linen or cotton fabrics – Blaudruck).

Each German federal state may submit four proposals per year to the Secretariat of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs. If the proposals are approved there, the maximum of 64 proposals will be passed on to the Expert Committee on Intangible Cultural Heritage of the German UNESCO Commission. After a thorough examination, the Committee makes recommendations and forwards them to the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs and to the German Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media for confirmation. Only after this multi-stage procedure is the Intangible Cultural Heritage entered in the Federal Register. Gold and jewels do not qualify for this status. Why does one take on the effort anyway?

The application as Intangible Cultural Heritage

Back to Elke Schnee: She has been a member of the BDBI board since 2019, first as a guest member, since 2021 officially elected. And in this capacity, she has slipped into the very working group that dealt with the application for inclusion in the UNESCO list.

One morning, Schnee was sitting unsuspectingly in her first BDBI board meeting when she was told that two letters of recommendation had to be organised as quickly as possible. She then quickly found two supporters in the former Kiel Mayor Susanne Gaschke and the ZBW Director Klaus Tochtermann. Once this hurdle was cleared, the professional association submitted its application to the Ministry of Culture and Science of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), the BDBI’s home state, in November 2019.

Waiting for UNESCO

In the meantime, the association learned that it had cleared a first hurdle on the way to becoming an Intangible Cultural Heritage Site: its proposal had made it into the top 4 of NRW. Almost 1.5 years after the application, in the middle of the Corona pandemic in spring 2021, the good news came: the craft of bookbinding had made it onto the German UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The celebration was small due to the corona pandemic, a certificate was presented and the BDBI members were allowed to use the corresponding UNESCO logo from then on. “The craft of bookbinding has an important function for cultural heritage and the culture of remembrance”, it says in the current Nationwide Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage. And further: “Despite digitalisation, the craft of bookbinding has not lost its vitality. It contributes in particular to the preservation of old books and archival materials. Interested laypeople have the opportunity to attend courses at adult education centres or in private workshops and thus learn the basics of bookbinding.”

UNESCO Cultural Heritage, and now?

When asked what this award means to her personally, Elke Schnee says: “Of course it’s nice to know: It’s a profession that I’m not the only one who thinks it’s great, it has such a charm that many people think it’s good. But apart from that, for me it’s more like: OK, we’ve already come this far, we’re already so few that we get species protection.“

Elke Schnee was pleased, however, because at the same time as the craft of bookbinding, German sign language also made it onto the German UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

To all those who are also thinking about applying, she recommends: “Just do it! You can only win.” It is important to keep an eye on the deadlines, to get help and more people on board, and to proceed in a parallel and structured manner. The checklist (German) on the German UNESCO website would help.

Bookbinding soon to be a World Cultural Heritage?

Once a year, the Intergovernmental Committee for UNESCO inscribes new Intangible Cultural forms and good practice examples of the preservation of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity on the international UNESCO lists. So far, Germany has been involved with five entries. The following have been inscribed:

  • idea and practice of organising shared interests in cooperatives,
  • blue printing,
  • craft techniques and customary practices of cathedral workshops, or Bauhütten,
  • falconry,
  • organ craftsmanship and organ music.

And perhaps one day the craft of bookbinding will also find its way into this international list, especially since bookbinding exists in almost every country in the world. This will not prevent the shrinking of this profession in times of digitalisation, but at least it will create good conditions to make people aware that it is worth protecting and preserving.

And Elke Schnee?

She is thinking about a book about the craft of bookbinding, so that the centuries-old knowledge about books will really not get lost. Abolishing books and the craft of bookbinding is out of the question for her: “If people only work digitally, they will have to go to occupational therapy later on, where they will learn basket weaving and bookbinding. Simply to keep them healthy.”

And a little later: “It fills me with happiness when I see my work in the evening after a day in the workshop. I had such a day yesterday. It felt so good to see what I had done – I picked up the book again and thought: that was a good day.”

This text has been translated from German.

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About the Author:

Claudia Sittner studied journalism and languages in Hamburg and London. She was a long time lecturer at the ZBW publication Wirtschaftsdienst – a journal for economic policy, and is now the managing editor of the blog ZBW MediaTalk. She is also a freelance travel blogger (German), speaker and author. She can also be found on LinkedIn, Twitter and Xing.
Portrait: Claudia Sittner©

Photos: ZBW©, photographer: Sven Wied

The post Behind the Scenes: UNESCO Declares Bookbinding as Intangible Cultural Heritage first appeared on ZBW MediaTalk.

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