Open Science

From The Embassy of Good Science

Open Science

What is this about?

Open Science is the movement to make scientific research outputs accessible to all. Open science is sometimes described as a decentralised and collaborative process, [1] and other times as a philosophical perspective that challenges secrecy and promotes the idea that sharing data and collaboration are inherently good, and in order to promote these, barriers to access research should be removed.[2] The key pillars of Open Science include open access to publications, open and FAIR data, and open source code.[3]

  1. Peters, M. A., & Roberts, P. (2015). Virtues of Openness: Education, Science, and Scholarship in the Digital Age. Routledge, New York.
  2. Peters, M. A., & Roberts, P. (2015). Virtues of Openness: Education, Science, and Scholarship in the Digital Age. Routledge, New York.
  3. Masuzzo, P., & Martens, L. (2017). Do you speak open science? Resources and tips to learn the language [Preprint]. https://doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.2689v1

Why is this important?

The promise of openness brings to mind a commitment to transparency and opportunities for greater engagement. By removing barriers to access research, the identification of errors and malpractice is facilitated, and the democratisation of knowledge production fostered.[1] In the context of research integrity, open science is seen as an enabler of reproducibility because it allows wider evaluation and scrutiny of research results. Thus, also aligning itself closely with Mertonian ethos, especially, communism and organized skepticism.[2]

Open access has also been subject to political review and discussion. For instance, beneficiaries of the European funding scheme called Horizon 2020, “must ensure open access (free of charge, online access for any user) to all peer-reviewed scientific publications relating to its results”. [3]

It is clear that the first beneficiary of Open Science practices is, Science. If it’s true that the role of Science in society is to create knowledge, drive progress, and guarantee better human lives than it does not surprise that all of this can be achieved faster and more efficiently by following transparent, inclusive and participatory practices. Moreover, it has been shown that Open Science can help Early Career Researchers (ECRs) succeed,[3] especially through the practice of preprints and open access publications (which promote visibility in the scientific community and therefore improve the chance to collect feedback and be cited[4]). Lastly, it has been shown that with access to scholarly articles, entrepreneurs and small businesses can accelerate innovation and discovery, which is advantageous for advancing the entrepreneurial state of society.[5]

  1. Nerlich, B., Raman, S., Hartley, S., Smith, A. (2018) Introduction. In: B. Nerlich, S. Hartley, S. Raman, and A. Smith (eds), Introduction, in Science and the Politics of Openness: Here be monsters. Manchester: Manchester University Press. pp. 1-11.
  2. Bowman, N. D., & Keene, J. R. (2018). A Layered Framework for Considering Open Science Practices. Communication Research Reports, 35(4), 363–372. https://doi.org/10.1080/08824096.2018.1513273
  3. 3.0 3.1 European Research Council (ERC). (2017). Guidelines on Implementation of Open Access to Scientific Publications and Research Data. Retrieved from https://ec.europa.eu/research/participants/data/ref/h2020/other/hi/oa-pilot/h2020-hi-erc-oa-guide_en.pdf
  4. McKiernan, E. C., Bourne, P. E., Brown, C. T., Buck, S., Kenall, A., Lin, J., … Yarkoni, T. (2016). How open science helps researchers succeed. ELife, 5, e16800. https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.16800
  5. Lonni Besançon. (2019). How can Open Science benefit your career? Retrieved October 20, 2019, from Open Science MOOC website: https://opensciencemooc.eu/community/2019/10/07/open-science-benefits/

For whom is this important?

What are the best practices?

When submitting the final, written output of their research, researchers can publish it in an Open Access Journal. The DOAJ indexes more than 13k of open access, high quality and peer-reviewed journals. Given that only a small portion of these open access journals require payment of an Article Processing Charge (APC),[1] researchers can choose from a variety of journals.  At the same time, researchers can post a preprint of their article to a preprint server (a list of preprint servers, organised by discipline is available here).

Research data can also be stored online in a research data repository. For an extensive list of repositories researchers can check Registry of Research Data Repositories and Databib. Zenodo is among the well-known repositories that allows researchers to archive various digital artefacts such as data sets, research software, reports, posters.

  1. Tennant, J. P., Waldner, F., Jacques, D. C., Masuzzo, P., Collister, L. B., & Hartgerink, Chris. H. J. (2016). The academic, economic and societal impacts of Open Access: An evidence-based review. F1000Research, 5, 632. https://doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.8460.3

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