Best Practice: The First Six Month of Open Science at the University of North Carolina Wilmington

An Interview Lynnee Argabright and Allison Michelle Kittinger, William Madison Randall Bibliothek at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW)

A new central department was created for you with the posts of research data librarian and scholarly communications librarian. How did you go about filling these new roles?

Allison Michelle Kittinger (Scholarly Communications Librarian): As soon as I assumed this position, I became the voice of my institution in scholarly communications spaces. I was our representative for scholarly communications committees within our library and in our university system. This gave me a lot of connections and a kind of support network off the bat that gave me a good picture of what had been happening so far around scholarly communications and Open Science here. Many of my roles, such as managing Open Access and Open Education funding and overseeing the institutional repository were inherited from librarians that began this work on campus when it was not in their job description. Now, I am the point person to continue this work and grow it into a community.

Lynnee Argabright (Research Data Librarian): Lynnee Argabright (Research Data Librarian): I began thinking about this new role by considering the research data lifecycle—data collection, cleaning, analysis, visualisation, sharing …— and looking at academic literature to see what other data librarians have done. A good one was “Academic Libraries and Research Data Services” (PDF) and the follow-up study “Research Data Services in Academic Libraries: Where are We Today?”. It helped me scope out what a data librarian could do, and then I scaled down to thinking what I could do immediately versus in the future. I also thought about my support capacity as a single unit servicing the campus, with potential collaborations with non-data-specific others. I talked with many people on campus about their data needs and about the current data infrastructure and support. Based on that, I am allocating my time on a rollout schedule (see discussion of “maturity models” in “Maturing research data services and the transformation of academic libraries”) to learn about/plan/develop services for particular data lifecycle areas—such as reviewing Data Management Plans and teaching data analysis in R workshops—before I market those specific services to campus. Data discovery was a lifecycle area I could start on right away, joining the subject librarians in their course instruction sessions about finding research results and getting follow-up consultations for finding Open Data.

What are your goals in the new jobs, i.e. for the first year of Open Science at UNCW?

Allison: Awareness, always! Faculty are hungry for the services we offer but not all of them know we are here and doing the work now. My main goal now that much of my role has been established is to raise awareness of the

Lynnee: A big priority for me is to intentionally and transparently fit in Open Science to as many of my data services as possible. Am I teaching about data discovery? I could show Open Data sources. Am I consulting on data privacy? I could bring up how to de-identify data so the data could potentially be shared. Did I get a question about data analysis? I could recommend Open Source tools.

One particular initiative I want to get started in my first year is data sharing. Promoting data sharing on campus would be of value to a campus with newly increased research intensity expectations; not only because researchers new to getting grants now often face the expectation to share their data, but also because sharing data will help showcase UNCW-produced research to the world. However, repository deposit participation does not happen overnight—as another OSC poster explains—so a first year goal to get involved with data sharing has been to get a feel for administering the technical Dataverse infrastructure we have, begin mentioning the benefits of data sharing in other data conversations to fuel awareness, and start looking into how to ease the experience of preparing data to be shared.

An Increased Use of the Institutional Repository by Researchers from 7% to 45%: Lessons from the Open Access Campaign at the School of Economics and Business, University of Ljubljana

I began too excitedly by offering a workshop about data sharing and Dataverse, to generally go over the benefits of sharing data, as well as to demo how to use Dataverse … and only one person showed up, so Allison’s point about awareness is super important.

What were the biggest road blocks so far? How did you manage to overcome them?

Allison: Being new in part, but that is overcome by time and making connections. Sometimes not knowing who to reach out to or collaborate with because we’ve never made those connections before on campus. Everyone is learning together. I think a lack of awareness can be a roadblock, but in general once I’ve explained my role and what I do to people who weren’t aware of me they are very receptive. I credit that to the culture at our institution.

Lynnee: My new department has been asked to go through the subject librarians if they want to reach out to researchers, so a roadblock I’m facing in my new role is getting patrons to know I exist and even to think that the library could be involved in data in the first place. One of the strategies I tried within my first six months was to begin planning campus-wide programming that celebrated international events.

I helped Allison with planning Open Access Week in October 2021, and proposed to co-host a Love Data Week in February 2022 with another campus office partner. Hosting these programmes could simultaneously teach researchers data skills, build a campus community for data activity, and boost awareness that the library is involved with data.

Since then, I’ve gotten more researcher participation in workshops and consultations, and other research staff are reaching out to collaborate. I recognise running campus-wide programming takes a lot of work up front to plan and it may not take off at first, but it did help me get recognised, and it will slowly build up the library’s brand in the data sphere. Here are my reflections about making event planning sustainable.

The job profiles of modern librarians have diversified greatly in recent years. However, many people still have the image of the old lady with a bun putting dusty books on shelves in their minds when they think of libraries. Where do you think this perception gap comes from?

Allison: The public perception of librarians I would guess comes from media stereotypes about public libraries. I’d think academic libraries are not the first type of library people think about when they think of libraries. Especially in roles like ours, they can be removed from students and the public and focused more on faculty and research activity. Open Science shows a path for us to engage with all these populations and stay research-focused at the same time. Our institution is known for student and community engagement, so I always have an eye towards the research happening in those spaces too. Visibility is the key to closing existing perception gaps.

Lynnee: This is a classic case of “You do not know what you do not know”; if nothing intervenes in an individual’s interactions with the library, the use of the library as a quiet place for books will remain. How do we change this perception? Library spaces that remove the books in exchange for group work areas, that provide classroom and exhibit and maker spaces, and that allow food can begin to change what the physical library means. Librarians embedding into classes to cover more than journal subscriptions and participating in campus committees can begin to change what library representation means.

Whenever I hear “the library can help with that?” (which I hear frequently in this new research role), I consider it a huge win. Yes, we are getting involved in active research engagement and collaborations. Yes, we are moving the needle on infrastructure that supports Open Science. Each small thing we do in our answers to everyday consultations or in flyers around the campus can be a perception shift away from “Bun Lady.”

Why is it so important for modern library staff to do marketing and public relations for their services?

Allison: I’ve seen direct marketing work firsthand. Our library dean sends out personal congratulatory emails to researchers when they publish an article, and includes a sentence about depositing their work in the institutional repository with me copied. Faculty love this recognition, and they are happy to use the repository when they are made aware of it. In addition, press releases have worked really well for Open Access and Open Publishing initiatives. We published a press release about a faculty member publishing our first open textbook with the library in partnership with UNC Press, and now we have more faculty interested in publishing their work in the same way.

Lynnee: Marketing highlights what services the library offers and is especially important when participating in new areas of research support. Since the library had not really provided data support previously, I started by developing partnerships with the other research support offices, such as the grants office, the Institutional Review Board office, the graduate school administrators, the faculty support office, and Campus IT.

These offices may have overlaps in data services, or may be contact points that researchers are coming to for help, and if these offices know about me, they can direct patrons with data needs to come to me. For example, I was preparing for a Data Management Plan workshop and told our grants office about it, since the deadline for their internal funding opportunities was approaching. They sent out the workshop news in their email listserv. Based on the timing of their email and of people’s registrations, this marketing was the cause of most of my attendees—none of whom had previously met me.

How can you build up a sustainable Open Science campus in times of temporary employment?

Allison: Not just positions; funding can be temporary, organisational structures can be temporary. My definition of sustainability is the work can be picked up if someone leaves off, and it has a continued commitment for support on a broader level. For example, our APC fund in the library was not funded next year. Only the library was funding it, and in the reorganisation we’ve had recently our funds are spread more thinly across more departments. Where I see us going is more diamond Open Access publishing and more institutional read-and-publish deals that cover these costs for faculty. And that shows that a lack of sustainability can be an opportunity to move closer to our true values as well. Sustainability should also be a path to growth.

Lynnee: I think this is where promoting data management practices can be particularly helpful for Open Science. Documentation of processes during data collection and data processing can greatly help a lab as students cycle in and out. Compiling documentation files can then be easier to share in a repository when the research project is completed. I can encourage the use of Open Source collaborative software, such as Open Science Framework and e-lab notebooks, which can show transparency of a team’s process through version logs, editing logs, and data file permissions. Influencing researchers to pick up use of these tools or practices and become familiar with them in their workflows can make Open Science a practical, efficient, and collaborative way to do research.

What are the lessons you have learned in the first six months of Open Science?

Allison: That sustainability also can’t exist without collaboration. That’s true in Open Science initiatives and in roles supporting them. It takes a team like our department and buy-in from the library and other campus entities to grow these programmes. If you’re the “one person” in charge of all of these things, and you can only use your own resources and nobody else’s, it can feel like you’re alone in the work, and it would all crumble if you leave. But I haven’t felt that way, and for anyone looking to establish Open Science roles, it is crucial that nobody feels so.

Lynnee Marie Argabright and Allison Michelle Kittinger: The First 6 Months of Open Science

Lynnee: I discovered I do not have to be a perfect expert in all areas of my job—often, what I know is already far more than what my patrons know, and if I am unsure about a question, I can explore with the patron for answers. Another lesson I picked up by learning the culture of my university is to think about Open Science in terms of my university’s and patrons’ needs. Our institution recently went from an R3 to an R2 Carnegie classification, which means the campus has a larger emphasis on research than before; thus, more of my patrons may need help with research-related skills — for example, how to write data management plans (DMPs) for grant applications. While reviewing DMPs, I can work in Open Science by asking them how they plan to share their data afterwards, which gets into what data repositories are reliable and how to be responsible about sharing sensitive data.

This might also be interesting for you:

We were talking to:

Allison Michelle Kittinger is the scholarly communications librarian at UNC Wilmington. She manages all things concerning Open Publishing, including an Open Education fund, Open Access initiatives, Open Journal support, and the campus institutional repository. She can also be found on ORCID.
Portrait: UNCW©, photographer: Jeff Janowski

Lynnee Marie Argabright is the research data librarian at UNC Wilmington. She provides guidance about collecting, using, managing, and sharing data in research, through instructional workshops or individual consultations. Lynnee has previous work experience in areas such as Open Access outreach, bibliometric network analysis visualisation, finding economic data, and higher education textbook and monograph publishing. She can also be found on Twitter and ORCID.
Portrait: UNCW©, photographer: Jeff Janowski

The post Best Practice: The First Six Month of Open Science at the University of North Carolina Wilmington first appeared on ZBW MediaTalk.

Barcamp Open Science 2022: Connecting and Strengthening the Communities!

by Yvana Glasenapp, Esther Plomp, Mindy Thuna, Antonia Schrader, Victor Venema, Mika Pflüger, Guido Scherp and Claudia Sittner

As a pre-event of the Open Science Conference , the Leibniz Research Alliance Open Science and Wikimedia Germany once again invited participants to the annual Barcamp Open Science (#oscibar) on 7 March. The Barcamp was once again held completely online. By now well-versed in online events, a good 100 participants turned up. They came to openly discuss a diverse range of topics from the Open Science universe with like-minded people.

As at the Barcamp Open Science 2021, the spontaneous compilation of the programme showed that the majority of the sessions had already been planned and prepared in advance. After all, the spectrum of topics ranged from very broad topics such as “How to start an Open Science community?” to absolutely niche discussions, such as the one about the German Data Use Act (Datennutzungsgesetz). But no matter how specific the topic, there were always enough interested people in the session rooms for a fruitful discussion.

Ignition Talk by Rima-Maria Rahal

In this year’s “Ignition Talk”, Rima-Maria Rahal skilfully summed up the precarious working conditions in the science system. These include, on the one hand, temporary positions and the competitive pressure in the science system (in Germany, this is currently characterised by the #IchBinHanna debate, German), and on the other hand, the misguided incentive system with its focus on the impact factor. Not surprisingly, her five thoughts on more sustainable employment in science also met with great approval on Twitter.

Rima-Maria Rahal: Fünf Thoughts for More Sustainable Employment

Those interested in her talk “On the Importance of Permanent Employment Contracts for Research Quality and Robustness” can watch it on YouTube (recording of the same talk at the Open Science Conference).

In the following, some of the session initiators have summarised the highlights and most interesting insights from their discussions:

How to start an Open Science community?
by Yvana Glasenapp, Leibniz University Hannover

Open Science activities take place at many institutions at the level of individuals or working groups, without there being any exchange between them.

In this session we discussed the question of what means can be used to build a community of those interested in Open Science: What basic requirements are needed? What best practice examples are there? Ideas can be found, for example, in this “Open Science Community Starter Kit”.

Die The Four Sages of Developing an Open Science Community from the „Open Science Community Starter Kit “ (CC BY NC SA 4.0)

There is a perception among many that there is a gap between the existing information offered by central institutions such as libraries and research services and the actual implementer community. These central bodies can take on a coordinating role to promote existing activities and network participating groups. It is important to respect the specialisation within the Open Science community. Grassroots initiatives often form in their field due to specific needs in the professional community.

Key persons such as data stewards, who are in direct contact with researchers, can establish contacts for stronger networking among Open Science actors. The communication of Open Science principles should not be too abstract. Incentives and the demonstration of concrete advantages can increase the motivation to use Open Science practices.

Conclusion: If a central institution from the research ecosystem wants to establish an Open Science community, it would do well to focus, for example, on promoting existing grassroots initiatives and to offer concrete, directly applicable Open Science tools.

Moving Open Science at the
institutional/departmental level
by Esther Plomp, Delft University of Technology

In this session all 22 participants introduced themselves and presented a successful (or not so successful!) case study from their institution.

Opportunities for Open Science

A wide variety of examples of improving awareness or rewarding Open Research practices were shared: Several universities have policies in place on Research Data or Open Access. These can be used to refer researchers to and are especially helpful when combined with personal success stories. Some universities offer (small) grants to support Open Science practices (Nanyang Technological University Singapore, University of Mannheim, German). Several universities offer trainings to improve Open Science practices, or support staff who can help.

Offering recommendations or tools that facilitate researchers to open up their workflows are welcome. Bottom-up communities or grassroots initiatives are important drivers for change.

Conferences, such as the Scholarship Values Summit, or blogs could be a way to increase awareness about Open Science (ZBW Blog on Open Science). You can also share your institute’s progress on Open Science practices via a dashboard, an example is the Charité Dashboard on Responsible Research.

Challenges for Open Science

On the other hand, some challenges were also mentioned: For example, Open Science is not prioritised as the current research evaluation system is still very focused on traditional research impact metrics. It can also be difficult to enthuse researchers to attend events. It works better to meet them where they are.

Not everyone is aware of all the different aspects of Open Science (sometimes it is equated with Open Access) and it can also be quite overwhelming. It may be helpful to use different terms such as research integrity or sustainable science to engage people more successfully with Open Science practices. More training is also needed.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution! If new tools are offered to researchers, they should ideally be robust and simplify existing workflows without causing additional problems.

Conclusion: Our main conclusions from the session were that we have a lot of experts and successful case studies to learn from. It is also important to have enthusiastic people who can push for progress in the departments and institutes!

How can libraries support researchers for Open Science?
by Mindy Thuna, University of Toronto Libraries

There were ten participants in this session from institutions in South Africa, Germany, Spain, Luxembourg and Canada.

Four key points that arose:

1. One of the first things that came up in dialogue was that Open Science is a very large umbrella that contains a LOT of pieces/separate things within it. Because there are so many moving parts in this giant ecosystem, it is hard to get started in offering supports, and some areas get a lot less attention than others. Open Access and Open Data seem to consistently be flagged first as the areas that generate a lot of attention/support while Open Software and even Citizen Science received a lot less attention from libraries.

2. Come to us versus go to them: Another point of conversation was whether or not the researchers are coming to us (as a library) to get support for their own Open Science endeavours. It was consistently noted that they are not generally thinking about the library when they are thinking, e.g., about research data or Open Access publishing. The library is not on their radar as a natural place to find this type of support/help until they have experienced it for themselves and realise the library might offer supports in these areas.

From this starting point, the conversation morphed to focus on the educational aspect of what libraries offer – i.e. making information available. But it was flagged that we often have a bubble where the information is located that is not often browsed. So the community is a key player in getting the conversation started, particularly as part of everyday research life. This way, the library can be better integrated into the regular flow of research activities when information/help is needed.

3. The value of face-to-face engagement: People discussed the need to identify and work with the “cheerleaders” to get an active word-of-mouth network going to educate more university staff and students about Open Science (rather than relying on Libguides and webpages to do so more passively). Libraries could be more proactive and work more closely with the scientific community to co-create Open Science related products. Provision of information is something we do well, but we often spend less time on personal interactions and more on providing things digitally. Some of the attendees felt this might be detrimental to really understanding the needs of our faculty. More time and energy should be spend on understanding the specific needs of scientists and shaping the scientific communication system rather than reacting to whatever comes our way.

4. The role of libraries as a connecting element: The library is uniquely placed to see across subject disciplines and serve in the role of connector. In this way, it can help facilitate collaborations/build partnerships across other units of the organisation and assist in enabling the exchange of knowledge between people. It was suggested that libraries should be more outgoing in what they (can) do and get more involved in the dialogue with researchers. One point that was debated is the need for the library to acknowledge that it is not and cannot really be a neutral space – certainly not if Open Science is to be encouraged rather than just supported.

Persistent identifiers and how they can foster Open Science
by Antonia Schrader, Helmholtz Open Science Office

Whether journal article, book chapter, data set or sample – these results of science and research must be made openly accessible in an increasingly digital scientific landscape, and at the same time made unambiguously and permanently findable. This should support the exchange of information within science from “closed” to “open” science and promote the transfer of findings to society.

Persistent identifiers (PIDs) play a central role here. They ensure that scientific resources can be cited and referenced. Once assigned, the PID always remains the same, even if the name or URL of an information object changes.

The participants in the spontaneous barcamp session all agreed on this central importance of PIDs for the digital science landscape. All of them were familiar with the principle of PIDs and have contact points in their daily work, especially with DOIs and ORCID iDs (Open Researcher and Contributor iD). In addition to the enormous potential of PIDs, however, the participants also saw challenges in their use and establishment. It became clear that there are still technical as well as ethical and data protection issues to consider.

There was consensus that these questions must be accompanied by a broad education on PIDs, their purpose and how they work; among the scientific staff of research institutions as well as among researchers. Websites tailored to the topic from ORCID DE (German) or Forschungsdaten.org (German) offer a good introduction.

Translating scholarly works opens science
by Victor Venema, Translate Science

Translating scholarly works opens science for more contributors (who do important work, but are not proficient in writing English), avoids double work and it opens the fruits of science to larger communities. Translated scientific articles open science to science enthusiasts, activists, advisors, trainers, consultants, architects, doctors, journalists, planners, administrators, technicians and scientists. Such a lower barrier to participating in science is especially important on topics such as climate change, environment, agriculture and health.

In this session we discussed why translations are important, tools that could help making and finding translations and foreign language works. An interesting thought was that currently blogs are important for finding foreign scientific articles, which illustrates how much harder it is to find such works and suggests allies to work with. The difficulty of finding foreign works emphasises the importance of at least translating titles and abstracts. Search engines that include automatically translated keywords can also help discovery.

The slides of the session “Translating scholarly articles opens science” can be found here.

Open Data before publication
by Mika Pflüger, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

In this session we discussed approaches and tools to collaborate on scientific data openly. The starting point of the discussion was the assessment that publishing scientific data openly is already quite well supported and works smoothly thanks to platforms like Zenodo. In contrast, open pre-publication collaboration is difficult because the available platforms impose restrictions, either on the size of the datasets or on the research area supported. Self-hosting a data collaboration platform like gin – Modern Research Data Management for Neuroscience is one solution, but usually not feasible for individual researchers or working groups.

We also talked briefly about experiences with open pre-publication collaboration. Experiences are limited so far, but fruitful collaboration can establish when the datasets in question are useful to a broader group of scientists and contribution is easy and quick. Furthermore, adapting data workflows so that intermediate results and workflows are openly accessible also has benefits for reproducibility and data organisation in general.

Conclusion of the Barcamp Open Science 2022

The Barcamp once again proved to be a suitable opportunity to meet both Open Science veterans and newcomers and to engage in low-threshold conversation. Particularly popular this time were the extensive rounds of introductions in the individual sessions, which not only minimised the inhibition threshold for speaking, but also helped all those present to classify their video conference counterpart in a professional manner and, if desired, to make a note of the contact for later. Topics were dealt with in breadth by many or in depth by a few. Sometimes two people are enough for the latter. In the end, it became clear that the most important thing is to network representatives from the different communities and to promote their exchange.

Thank you and see you next year!

Behind the scenes this year, the organising team had taken up feedback from the community that had arisen in the context of a survey on the future of the Barcamp Open Science. For example, there was an onboarding session especially for newcomers to the Barcamp to explain the format and procedure again and to “break the ice” beforehand. Even though we would like to hold the Barcamp in presence again, and this is also desired, there is also a clear vote for an online format. This is more inclusive and important for international participation. Ultimately, our goal is to further develop and consolidate the format together with the community. And we are open to new partners.

This text has been translated from German.

Web links to the Barcamp Open Science

More tips for events

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About the authors (alphabetical)

Dr Yvana Glasenapp is a research officer specialising in research data management and Open Science at Leibniz University Hannover (LUH). Her professional background is in biology. She can be found on XING, LinkedIn and ORCID.
Portrait: Yvana Glasenapp©

Dr Mika Pflüger works in the research software engineering group at Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. He currently works on a better integration of simple climate models into the PIAM suite of integrated assessment models. Mika Pflüger can be found on Twitter.
Portrait: PIK/Klemens Karkow©

Dr Esther Plomp is a Data Steward at the Faculty of Applied Sciences, Delft University of Technology, in the Netherlands. She works towards contributing to a more equitable way of knowledge generation and facilitating others in working more transparently through her involvements in various open research communities including The Turing Way, Open Research Calendar, IsoArcH and Open Life Science. Esther Plomp can be found on Twitter, LinkedIn and GitHub.
Portrait: Esther Plomp©

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

Antonia Schrader has been working in the Helmholtz Open Science Office since 2020. There she supports the Helmholtz Association in shaping the cultural change towards Open Science. She promotes the dialogue on Open Science within and outside Helmholtz and regularly organises forums and online seminars (German) together with her colleagues. Antonia Schrader is active in ORCID DE, a project funded by the German Research Foundation to promote and disseminate ORCID iD (German), a persistent identifier (PID) for the permanent and unique identification of individuals. Antonia Schrader can be found on Twitter, LinkedIn and XING.
Portrait: Antonia Schrader, CC BY-ND

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©

Mindy Thuna has been a librarian since 2005. Before, she has worked as an educator in a variety of eclectic locations, including The National Museum of Kenya in Nairobi. Wearing her librarian hat, Mindy has had numerous fabulous librarian titles including the AstraZeneca Science liaison librarian, the Research Enterprise Librarian, Head of the Engineering & Computer Science Library and her current role as the Associate Chief Librarian for Science Research & Information at the University of Toronto Libraries in Canada. Her research is also rather eclectic but focuses on people’s interactions with and perception of concepts relating to information, with her current focus being on faculty and Open Science practices. Mindy Thuna can also be found on ORCID and Twitter.
Portrait: Mindy Thuna©

Victor Venema works on historical climate data with colleagues all around the world where descriptions of the measurement methods are normally in local languages. He organised the barcamp session as member of Translate Science, an initiative that was recently founded to promote the translation of scientific articles. Translate Science has a Wiki, a blog, an email distribution list and can be found on the Fediverse.

The post Barcamp Open Science 2022: Connecting and Strengthening the Communities! first appeared on ZBW MediaTalk.

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.

First Open Science Retreat: On the Future of Research Evaluation

by Anna Maria Höfler, Isabella Peters, Guido Scherp, Doreen Siegfried and Klaus Tochtermann

Open Science is known to cover a broad range of topics. The implementation of open practices is quite complex and requires involving various stakeholders, including research performing organisations, libraries and research infrastructures, publishers and service providers, and policy makers. Among other things, regular exchange and networking within and between these groups are necessary to accompany and support efforts towards more openness – ultimately, transforming them into a joint and global movement.

That is why the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics has now launched the international “Open Science Retreat” as a new online exchange and networking format to discuss current and global challenges in the implementation of Open Science and the shared vision of an Open Science ecosystem. The format aims especially at the stakeholder groups mentioned above.

Within two compact sessions over two consecutive days, around 30 international experts from the different stakeholder groups are given the opportunity to dive deeper into a specific topic, to share their own expertise and experience, and to record their thoughts on this. The first Open Science Retreat took place at the end of October 2021 and focused on the “Research Evaluation – Promoting the Open Science movement”.

Four provocations on the evaluation of Open Science

To start off the discussion, Isabella Peters (ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics) reflected in an impulse talk on the extent to which open practices are currently recognised in research evaluation. Therefore, she formulated four provocations:

Four Provocations for the evaluation of Open Science.

  1. We drown in Open Science metrics and indicators – but we do not understand what they mean There are a plethora of approaches and recommendations on how to evaluate Open Science and which indicators might be suitable for assessing Open Science practices, for evaluating Open Science careers, for monitoring the progress towards the great amount of research products that are openly available. There are even automatic Open Science assessment tools on the market already. There is a well-equipped suite of Open Science indicators and metrics, which can be used to provide quantitative summaries about the research landscape and Open Science. However, there is a clear lack of contextualisation of these metrics and a lack of understanding of what the indicators indicate, and what they really mean for the research community.
  2. We drown in guidelines on how to use Open Science metrics and indicators – but we do not know what to use them for. There is a huge flower bouquet of guidelines and recommendations on how to bring Open Science indicators into practice. All of them discuss under which circumstances metrics and indicators are useful tools and when they are able to provide reasonable insights. And all of them list the circumstances under which indicators are not the right tools, for example, when they are not used responsibly. The key of responsible use is the alignment of the goals and the context of the evaluation with the suitable indicators. In terms of Open Science or in terms of promoting Open Science often neither the goals nor the alignment strategy is clear.
  3. We can stop promoting Open Science as soon as 100% of the research output is open – if we believe there is not more to achieve. If we understand Open Science as research outputs made openly available, with the right incentives, e.g. funding, the Open Science journey may end sooner than thought. However, often more and other features are associated with openness, e.g. the reproducibility or the credibility of science which is believed to be increased through Open Science practices. These goals of Open Science are not yet addressed by most of the proposed Open Science indicators. There is a lack of a community-driven discussion of what goals should actually be achieved with Open Science.
  4. Do it all or die tryin‘: Open Science overwhelms researchers. Sometimes it seems that there is only all or nothing in Open Science – at least only ALL is rewarded – the others have to justify themselves. Who is a good open scientist anyway – who is an Open Science champion? Is it only this researcher that reaches 100% or high scores in all Open Science indicators that have been proposed? Propagating the all-or-nothing-principle might be counterproductive. Researchers do not start doing Open Science because doing everything and targeting 100% everywhere in every indicator is neither practical nor possible for them.

Open Science and research evaluation: what have we (not) learned?

Taking up this impulse, the participants were divided into two breakout groups on the first day to reflect on the last ten years of Open Science and to discuss the question: What do we already know about Open Science and research evaluation and what do we not know?

One result of the discussion was that even if the attention on Open Science has been achieved and its general values with respect to research integrity and good science practice are largely accepted, the term and its implementation seem still unclear (with the risk of ‘open washing’) for many. A coherent definition and understanding of what Open Science is still lacking. And what are the goals and expectations, and consequently what shall be measured, why and for whom (cui bono?)? This is associated with the general question: What is quality of research and what is good quality of research? Consequently, the required change of research culture takes longer than necessary. And it seems useful to talk more to people who don’t see the point in Open Science practices. Their reasons against Open Science could provide more insights to remove the last barriers.

The participants further discussed the role of metrics. Open Science and subsequently metrics need a subject- and discipline-specific consensus. A common set of metrics for all scientific disciplines has not proven to be realistic. Metrics that fit certain disciplines and needs can be a good, and maybe in the beginning small, starting point to advance open practices. A lesson learned from (citation-based) bibliometrics (in which we are somehow trapped) is that applying metrics rather at the institutional and group level instead on the level of individual researchers is seen as a successful way to promote open practices and culture change. This also provides a better way to measure Open Science assets such as collaboration. And besides measuring the research outcome or outputs, also procedural criteria (methodology) and further forms of contributions (including negative results) should be evaluated, of course. In the end, however, there is still a lack of indicators to assess the quality of research – a challenge that traditional ‘closed science’ metrics also face.

Finally, another outcome of the discussion is that financing Open Science, especially in the transition phase, is still unclear. A model for its sustainable funding and its integration into regular research funding is still an open issue. In this regard, this is also an issue of equity in accessibility to Open Science as a public common good, as addressed in the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science.

Vision: How could an Open Science world look like in ten years?

On the second day of the Open Science Retreat, participants were again divided into two breakout groups. They were asked to develop a vision of how an Open Science ecosystem would look like in ten years, when research evaluation has been successful in promoting open practices. The discussions revolved around the following topics, all of which have to be accompanied by a change in attitude.

Types of publications: There will be a tendency towards “micro-publications” (i. e. information is shared when it is available) and machine-based approaches for evaluating these micro-publications should be applied. However, differentiation might be necessary for the various scientific disciplines.

Attributions to authors vs. institutions: Publications should be assigned to institutions rather than individuals and corresponding mechanisms are needed to clearly attribute/credit the individual contributions. “Negative” results should of course be published as a contribution to science. Furthermore, the role of reviewers should be attributed as contributors to the improvement of scientific work.

Shifts in roles of stakeholders: New ways of publishing processes to increase transparency and a separate review process should be applied. And the question should be solved: do we want funders to be involved in the evaluation and review process (independent of reputation)? There is a danger of assigning too much power to one stakeholder (e. g. funders). Thus, a future Open Science ecosystem has to be in control of the “checks and balances”.

Policies regarding research evaluation: They should be open and FAIR based on the question: who is supposed to share what in which time frame? Therefore, tools need to be in place to evaluate whether these policies meet FAIR and transparency criteria (e.g. currently there is no document version control, no DOI for call for tenders, etc.).

Finally, each participant was asked to formulate an own vision of a future Open Science world as concisely as possible in the form and length of a ‘tweet’. A voting derived the following top aspects for this vision:

  • In ten years sharing data and software has become an essential component of good scientific practice. Responsible data management to ensure data quality is part of students’ curriculum from the very beginning.
  • An efficient research data management infrastructure of tools and support is available for everybody. Adequate funding is provided to cover efforts for Open Science.
  • Data and software publications have become “full citizens” of the publication world, contributing to researchers’ reputation.
  • Reproducibility of research results is achieved.
  • Publishing negative results will be the normal, researchers will not be blamed for them.
  • People and open infrastructure are funded, not projects. They are evaluated based on the past performance.
  • As research is open, it is fully evaluated by external entities thereby removing internal politics.
  • The term “Open Science” is a thing of the past, since research in science and other fields has opened up such that the open/closed distinction is only necessary when there are good reasons for not sharing, but then at least these reasons are shared in an open and FAIR way.

Save the date for upcoming Open Science Retreats

The discussions were of course much more extensive and complex than can be presented here. And the participants themselves documented a great amount. All tweets and more can be read in anonymised form in the corresponding collaborative pad.

You are an Open Science advocate and would like to exchange your experiences and ideas with a group of 30 like-minded international Open Science enthusiasts from completely different domains? The dates for the next two retreats, both events will of course take place online, and their topics are already set.

  • 15/16 February 2022: Sustainable and reliable Open Science Infrastructures and Tools
  • 14/15 June 2022: Economic actors in the context of Open Science – The role of the private sector in the field of Open Science

This might also interest you:

  • Website Open Science Retreat
  • Hashtag: #openscienceretreat
  • Reflections on the evaluation of Open Science
  • Open Science Retreat on Research Evaluation – anonymised collaborative notes condensed into one document
  • Open Science Podcasts: 7 + 3 Tips for Your Ears
  • Publishing Behaviour in Economics: Coronavirus Pandemic Turns out to Be a Temporary Shock
  • One Year of Open Access: The journals Wirtschaftsdienst and Intereconomics Take Stock
  • Open Science: How to Implement it in a Multidisciplinary Faculty – 7 Recommendations
  • Open Economics Guide: New Open Science Support for Economics Researchers
  • Barcamp Open Science 2021: Opening up new perspectives
  • Open Science Conference 2021: On the Way to the “New Normal”
  • Rethinking Events Digitally: a ZBW Guide for Successful Online Events
  • About the authors:
    Dr Anna Maria Höfler is coordinator for science policy activities. Her key activities are Research Data and Open Science.
    Portrait, photographer: Rupert Pessl©

    Prof. Dr Isabella Peters is Professor of Web Science. Her key activities are Social Media and Web 2.0 (in particular user-generated content), Science 2.0, Scholarly communication on the Social Web, Altmetrics, DFG project “*metrics”, Knowledge representation, Information Retrieval.
    Portrait: ZBW©

    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.
    Portrait: ZBW©, photographer: Sven Wied

    Dr Doreen Siegfried is Head of Marketing and Public Relations.
    Portrait: ZBW©

    Professor Dr Klaus Tochtermann is Director of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics. For many years he has been committed to Open Science on a national and international level. He is a Member of the Board of Directors of the EOSC Association (European Open Science Cloud).
    Portrait: ZBW©, photographer Sven Wied

    The post First Open Science Retreat: On the Future of Research Evaluation first appeared on ZBW MediaTalk.

    Open Economics Guide: New Open Science Support for Economics Researchers

    by Birgit Fingerle and Guido Scherp

    Open Science represents the best practice for academic work and is a toolkit for “good scientific practice”. In addition to the general benefits of Open Science for the scholarly system and society, Open Science offers many individual benefits for researchers. Among them are a higher visibility of research work and a greater impact in research and society.

    Nevertheless, many researchers in economics and business studies see hurdles and are discouraged from practicing Open Science: A lack of time and of appropriate support are the main reasons for their hesitation. This was revealed by the 2019/2020 study “Die Bedeutung von Open Science in den Wirtschaftswissenschaften – Ergebnisbericht einer Online-Befragung unter Forschenden der Wirtschaftswissenschaften an deutschen Hochschulen 2019” (“The Importance of Open Science in Economics – Result Report of an Online Survey among Researchers in Economics at German Universities 2019”) conducted by the ZBW. See our blog post Open Economics: Study on Open Science Principles and Practice in Economics reporting the studies main findings. Furthermore, the survey on which the study was based expressed a strong desire for support in the form of online materials, especially with regard to Open Science platforms, tools and applications.

    With the new Open Economics Guide (German), the ZBW aims to address these wishes and to support economics and business studies researchers in implementing open practices.

    Support for open science practice

    The Open Economics Guide addresses the challenges and support needs identified in the study. It is based on the perspective and the needs of economics and business studies researchers. It takes into account, for example, that for them lack of time is the top obstacle to Open Science. This is why the texts of the Guide are concise and clear. Therefore, the Open Economics Guide starts with concrete benefits for researchers, for example by recommending first steps for getting started with Open Science easily and quickly to implement.

    Accordingly, where necessary, the content reflects the specifics of economics and business studies research. The Open Economics Guide is also based on systematically reviewed existing content, which it picks up or refers to and recommends where necessary. Since the range of information, tutorials and tools related to Open Science is constantly growing, the Open Economics Guide offers good orientation for researchers and takes up current developments.

    The ZBW has thus designed the Open Economics Guide as the central entry point specifically for Open Science in economics and business studies, initially for German-speaking countries. In the Open Economics Guide, economists can discover how openness enriches their research and how they can benefit from the advantages of open research.

    Quick start, tool overview and knowledge base

    The Open Economics Guide supports economics and business studies researchers with practical tips, methods and tools to practice Open Science independently and successfully and thus to promote their academic career. To this end, the Guide contains, among other things:

    • easy-to-understand quick-start guides to Open Science topics (currently Open Science, Open Access, Open Data and Open Tools),
    • a comprehensive overview of more than 70 tools (German), subdivided by the phases of the research workflow,
    • a growing knowledge database with currently about 100 entries (German) with extensive background information and practical tips on how to proceed,
    • a clear glossary (German), which answers comprehension questions about the most important terms related to open research at a glance.

    Content under open license and further expansion

    The content of the Open Economics Guide is offered under an open license as far as possible. Thus, it can be reused in other contexts according to the principles of Open Science, for example by other libraries for their researchers.

    The Open Economics Guide will be continuously expanded and extended. For instance, further focal points, such as Open Educational Resources and Open Research Software, will be added. All aspects of Open Science relevant to economics and business studies research will be covered. In doing so, a close communication as well as a close cooperation with researchers of economics and business studies will be strived for, in order to develop new contents also jointly. In addition, the guide will aim at an international target group in the future.

    Visit the Open Economics Guide now

    Featured Image: Mockup created by freepik – www.freepik.com

    The post Open Economics Guide: New Open Science Support for Economics Researchers first appeared on ZBW MediaTalk.