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

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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.

Open Science: How to Implement It in a Multidisciplinary Faculty – 7 Recommendations

An interview with Ari J. Asmi

Ari J. Asmi is research infrastructure coordinator at the University of Helsinki, Faculty of Science, a multidisciplinary faculty. There he has been involved in the process of developing common and workable Open Science recommendations with all stakeholders for the medium-sized science-oriented university faculty. The result is seven recommendations, which he already presented at the Open Science Conference 2021 in a poster presentation.

Poster Seven Recommendations presented at the Open Science Conference 2021.

In the interview, he reports on how the recommendations came about, why it is so important to also have Open Science sceptics involved, what the biggest challenges were and still are in developing and implementing them, and what he would advise others who would themselves like to create suitable recommendations for a more Open Science practice at their own faculty.

Ari, you accompanied the process of developing a common Open Science policy at the Faculty of Science at the University of Helsinki. What was the outcome of this process?

We created a working group, with the help of the dean and the faculty administration. This group included representatives from all divisions of the Faculty of Science at the University of Helsinki, and importantly did not have only “Open Science advocates”, but mostly normal scientists and research coordinators from different divisions. We agreed that the Open Science recommendations should be easy to implement, with relatively quick time-scale (from months to few years), not resource demanding, and above all – acceptable to the science community in the faculty. This led to a suitable ambition level for the recommendations, which in turn helped their acceptance in the faculty. We agreed on seven key recommendations:

  1. Set the overall faculty policy on science products: “as open as possible, as closed as necessary”.
  2. Value the Open Science products in the staff annual development discussions.
  3. Consider Open Science products in unit, department and tenure track evaluations.
  4. Require listing of Open Science products in recruiting.
  5. Create a short, clear and well documented knowledge base of Open Science best practices in the faculty.
  6. Organise structured staff training on the best practices, facilitate peer support, and Open Science culture in the faculty.
  7. Develop Open Science content for curriculum MSc and Doctoral programmes.

Open Science recommendations should be easy to implement, with relatively quick time-scale (from months to few years), not resource demanding, and above all – acceptable to the science community in the faculty.
– Ari J. Asmi

The first recommendation is more a statement, second to fourth are based on long term change in internal science evaluation towards openness, fifth and sixth on helping the faculty staff to adjust for Open Science, and seventh towards future generations. A more detailed version of the recommandations can be found in this document: Open Science Recommendations for the Faculty of Science.

Open Science Recommendations for the Faculty of Science.

A key point was also to always look for a holistic view on scientific end products, not only on scientific journal articles. This includes then, e.g., software, datasets, teaching material, etc. Another key point for us was not to prescribe value difference between open/closed scientific products, but instead just highlight the openness in all activity, and asking to justify the closed products if needed.

(How) Have you practically implemented the seven recommendations in the faculty?

The recommendations were accepted with enthusiasm on the faculty board level and from the dean, which made including the development discussion and staff recruitment changes in principle easy. They were faculty decisions, however, so I am not sure how well they have yet been implemented by the divisions’ administrations. The knowledge base is clearly more effort requiring part, and even with some level of resources, it is very dependent on finding proper contact points on each division (and even individual groups) to give information on domain-specific repositories, journals, etc. I am now personally trying to recruit semi-volunteers to do these. The training part is quite well dependent on the knowledge base, and the inclusion of new Open Science courses to curricula will most likely happen on the next round of MSc and PhD programme development.

What were your biggest challenges? What were the biggest concerns from the faculty and researchers? How were you able to overcome the obstacles and convince the persons concerned?

The main issue came from time and resource limitation of researchers. There is already a lot of “extra” work added to the researchers, as administrative staff has been reduced, and some of the Open Science relevant tasks (e.g. data management plans) are seen by some researchers as additional burden. This was somewhat reflected on the response for the plan, and how we developed it. The idea of having a common knowledge base was directly responding to the idea of reducing time required for these tasks. Also, some worries were about too rapid changes on how research and researchers are evaluated, making career planning challenging. This was responded by specifically avoiding any specific value for Open Science products in comparison to traditional evaluation criteria.

To what extent were and are libraries involved in this process?

We had a few times some contact with the university library, and I am personally well connected to some parts of their team on Open Science. The recommendations themselves did not go through any kind of close evaluation with them, but their services will be of course extremely important for the knowledge base, training and potentially even career advancement follow up, i.e. on following the publication of Open Science products.

What are your tips for other faculties that would like to anchor these principles and put them into practice?

An important part was to have a working group with enough of sceptical people along with Open Science enthusiasts. It is easy to come up with very idealistic approaches, which cannot then be implemented. Ambition is good, but realistic and short-to-medium time frame and minimal resource needs worked at least for us well. Support from top level (faculty dean and university strategy) is important, but these things have to be supported from bottom as well – so having diversity is excellent addition.

We were talking to Ari J Asmi.

This article emerged from the Open Science Conference 2021. The next International Open Science Conference (#OSC2022) will be held on March 08-09, 2022. Stay tuned for more information on the conference website.

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  • The post Open Science: How to Implement It in a Multidisciplinary Faculty – 7 Recommendations first appeared on ZBW MediaTalk.

    Open Science Conference 2022 (Newsletter – Leibniz Research Alliance Open Science)

    The 9th International Open Science Conference will be held on March 08-09, 2022. Please save the date. Stay tuned for more information here: https://www.open-science-conference.eu/

    For this conference we invite you to submit an abstract for one of the following calls:

    The abstract submission deadline is October 15, 2021.

    The Open Science Conference 2022 is the 9th international conference of the Leibniz Research Alliance Open Science. The annual conference is dedicated to the Open Science movement.

    It provides a unique forum for researchers, librarians, practitioners, infrastructure providers, policy makers, and other important stakeholders to discuss the latest and future developments in Open Science.

    The conference offers insights into both practical and technical innovations that serve the implementation of open practices as well as current and pioneering developments in the global Open Science movement. Such developments are, for example, the increasing plea for open practices as lessons learned from global crises as well as recent discussions about the relation of Open Science and knowledge equity. The conference offers many opportunities for networking and exchange.

    Will there also be a Barcamp Open Science next year? Definitely, but help us to shape the future direction of the event via this quick survey.

    We look forward to seeing you next year!

     

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