Open Science Knowledge Platform: A Journey to a Dynamic Resource
In 2022, CWTS held a series of open science seminars together with the Research Councils of The Netherlands (NWO) and Norway (RCN). Now, all resources from the seminars are available on a new Open Science Knowledge Platform. This blogpost reflects on building this platform and next steps to come.
Open science has gained significant momentum over the past few years, with various movements and initiatives emerging to promote sharing of scientific knowledge, data, and resources with the wider community. Open science is a broad term encompassing a range of practices that strive to increase transparency, inclusivity, and accessibility in science. The expected benefits of open science are manifold, from accelerating scientific progress, enhancing scientific rigour, promoting responsible research, and ensuring public trust in science.
With that in mind, the research councils of the Netherlands (NWO) and Norway (RCN) joined hands with CWTS to organize a seminar series on open science throughout 2022. The seminars aimed to enrich and expand the understanding of open science within the agencies, focusing on programme and policy officers and connected professionals interested in the subject.
Aware of the challenges to reaching all those interested within NWO and RCN, we decided to create a knowledge platform to store and share the content from the seminars so they could be attended asynchronously. Moreover, recognizing the value of the produced content to a broader audience, we decided to put the idea of openness into practice, making the platform open to the public.
The knowledge platform features videos from the seminar series presentations, including lectures from Thed van Leeuwen, Ludo Waltman, Wolfgang Kaltenbrunner, and myself. Open science champions, as we call the many experts that shared experiences and their perspectives with our audience, are also there. Additionally, the platform includes support materials, access to the slides used in our presentations, links to relevant resources and literature, and more.
The seminar series consisted of four individual seminars, included as different sections in the platform. Each one of them covered specific aspects of open science:
The first seminar provided an overview of the complexity of open science as more of an umbrella term than a well-defined concept. From that perspective, open science refers to a series of movements to remove barriers to sharing any scientific output, resources, methods, or tools and bringing scientific results closer to the general public. Through a series of examples, we adopted the model of five schools of thought proposed by Fecher and Friesike (2014) to understand open science in its multiple dimensions, from being democratic to its role in recognition and rewards.
The second seminar delved into open scholarly communication. It covered topics such as open access publishing, article processing charges (APCs), Plan S, pre-printing, and open peer review. The seminar also covered newer forms of scholarly publishing, with diverse levels of openness, and the transition towards a more democratic future in science.
The third seminar focused on aspects connected to the infrastructure school of open science, including open data, how to make data FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable), and data management plans, as well as recent developments in the sharing of code and software. The seminar also covered necessary infrastructures for open science, such as repositories.
The fourth seminar approached an important ongoing development in the academic world, connecting openness to issues related to recognition & rewards and responsible research assessment. The seminar covered the current state of those issues and the challenges that arise from them. It also discussed responsible research assessment, the development of national matrixes for career assessment, the movement towards adopting narrative CVs, and the importance of transparency and reproducibility in open science.
To call something a knowledge platform is undoubtedly ambitious. Our four open science seminars were designed to introduce fundamental concepts and to put these in the context of ongoing policy initiatives. We recognize there is still much more to explore, so we built the platform to be updated and expanded. In this way, new topics can be added to follow the development of open science and enrich the platform's content.
For instance, at CWTS, we already plan to delve into topics such as the open science pillars proposed by the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science and the convergence of open science and Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI). We are also interested, for instance, in learning from the Global South's efforts in the diamond open access model over the past two decades.
We also welcome contributions from new open science champions, as the platform is open to growth and development. If you would like to be part of this effort, please reach out to me. Launching the open science knowledge platform is a first step to something bigger, to a dynamic resource that evolves, reflecting the constantly changing nature of open science.
Reflections on a co-creation process
The journey to prepare our seminar series and organize the contents into a knowledge platform has been quite interesting and rewarding. While we had the chance to debate the state of the art of open science within CWTS, we had to build a practical program that could be valuable to those working with the topic at different levels, including funding, evaluation, and policy design. That was a mission accomplished by adopting a co-creation perspective with our partners at NWO and RCN. So, we very much like to thank Maria Cruz, Anthony Gadsdon, Marte Qvenild, and Christian Lund not only for fruitful discussions around the program and the outcomes, but also for an active partnership in every seminar.
Furthermore, it’s also quite important for us to thank our champions. Early in the design of the seminar series, we decided to invite additional experts to contribute with their own ideas, perspectives, and experiences on open science. The nine champions that joined us have expanded our own understanding on open science and helped us create a much more comprehensive seminars than we would be able to do alone. So, we also extend our thanks to Sonja Grossberndt, Sanli Faez, John Arne Røttingen, Anne Scheel, Anna van’t Veer, Marjan Grootveld, Korbinian Böls, Kim Huijpen, and Alexander Jensenius.
And with that, see you at the Open Science Knowledge Platform!