An inclusive approach to open science | Science and the Web 2013-07-02


" ... In my perception, the discourse in open science often runs along the lines of open vs. closed approaches. A lot of effort is put into determining what is truly open and what is actually still closed. In open access for example, there is a heated debate whether to choose the green or the gold road with advocates on both sides ferociously arguing why only one of the two can only be considered as true open access. Whereas this discussion surely has some merit, most researchers have to worry more about whether their efforts are recognized by the community than what constitutes true openness ... Most researchers are neither completely open nor completely closed. There is no black and white, but different shades of grey. Nonetheless, there are many researchers out there who make their publications available or put their source code online. In my opinion, it is necessary to get these researchers aboard, not to drive them away with endless debates whether their research is 'truly' open. Don’t get me wrong: it is important to have discussions about the optimal characteristics of open science, but not at the expense of making open science an elitist club where only a small minority can enter that satisfies all criteria. From a community perspective, it is the commitment to openness that matters, and the willingness to promote this openness on editorial boards and program committees.  It seems that such a holistic view is gaining some traction: in a recent Web Science paper, R. Fyson, J. Simon and L. Carr discuss the interplay between actors regarding open access publications. Another good example of an inclusive approach is the Open Science Project here in Graz. The Open Science Project is a group of students led by Stefan Kasberger that tries to do all of their study-related work according to open science practices. This means that they try to use open source software for their homework assignments and make the results publicly available. They go to great lengths in their effort as they also try to persuade lecturers to follow their example and make their scripts openly accessible.  At a recent meeting of the Austrian chapter of the OKFN Open Science, we started discussing an inclusive  approach to open science. This motivated me to write a first draft for a petition which you can find below. So my question is: would you sign such a petition? Do you think it is engaging/far going/well worded enough? Let me know what you think in the comments or join us at the OKFN Padwhere you can help us to collaboratively edit the text ...  'Science is one of the greatest endeavours of mankind. It has enjoyed  enormous growth since its inception more than 400 years ago. Science has  not only produced an incredible amount of knowledge, it has also created  tools for communication and quality control. Journals, conferences, peer  review to name just a few. Lately, serious shortcomings of these  established instruments have surfaced. Scientific results are often irreproducible and lead to ill-guided decisions. Retraction rates are on  the rise. There have been many cases of high profile scientific fraud.  In our view, all of these problems can be addressed by a more open approach to science. We see Open Science as making the scientific  process and all of its outcomes openly accessible to the general public. Open Science would benefit science, because it would make results more  reproducible, and quality control more transparent. Open Science would also benefit the society by including more people in the process and sparking open innovation.  Besides the greater good, open science also benefits individual scientists. Research has shown that papers that are openly accessible are cited more  often. If you share source code and data, you could get credited for  these parts of your research as well. If you talk about your methodology and share it with others, this will bring attention to your work. The internet provides us with the technology to make Open Science possible. In our view, it is time to embrace these possibilities and innovate in the scientific process.  It is very important to note that we see Open Science as a community effort that can only work if we include as many people as possible. We know that it is not possible to open up entire work processes  overnight. In our view, this is not necessary to contribute to an Open Science. The idea is to open everything up that you already can and work towards establishing open practices in your work and your  community. You might already have papers that you are allowed to share in a personal and institutional repository. You might have source code or data that you can easily publish under a permissive license. And you might be sitting on a board and committee where you can bring open practices in


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Open Access Tracking Project (OATP) »

Tags: oa.comment oa.advocacy oa.open_science oa.declarations oa.okfn oa.open_science_project

Date tagged:

07/02/2013, 18:42

Date published:

07/02/2013, 14:42