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

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

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

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

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

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

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