A short overview of the Festival

National Open Science Festival 2022

On 1 September 2022, the second edition of the Netherlands National Open Science Festival took place at the Vrije Universiteit (VU) in Amsterdam. Around 300 participants attended the plenary sessions led by rector of the VU Jeroen Geurts and Hilde van Wijngaarden, VU library director, with over 400 more joining via the live stream.

Next to that, attendees learned and connected in 18 community led workshops and sessions in a spirited vibe.

Plenary sessions
Rector Jeroen Geurts and VU library director Hilde van Wijngaarden led the plenary sessions and the well-attended Policy session. When asked ‘Is science open enough’, Jeroen Geurts himself stated: ‘No. When researchers feel the need to publish in Nature they tend to sit on their data for a long time. That’s why Recognition and Rewards has to become an international movement as an integral aspect of Open Science.’ His answer gives an idea of all the different elements of Open Science that were discussed. When asking the audience what their main drivers to practice open science were, answers included: ‘This is the way to work towards a better world’; ‘discontent with the current system’; ‘It is the only thing that makes sense’, ‘Bring science to the people outside of academia’ and ‘I could not afford the closed science’.

When Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf joined the conversation, he emphasized the importance of Open Science by stating that the spread of knowledge is the best way to fight global inequality. He also joked: ‘We scientists see ourselves as a smart community; but then I ask you: how did we ended up with such a dumb publishing system?’

Knowing that there are still a lot of questions to be answered, the minister said that Open Science is here to stay. In his Policy Letter (17 June 2022) he announced that 20 million euro per year will be made available for Open Science starting next year. He has asked NWO to take responsibility for the spending of these funds and to set up a ‘Regieorgaan Open Science’.

Interactive workshops and sessions
A few examples of how hands on the community led sessions and workshops were:

Research dream teams
The well-attended workshop Building Research Dream Teams: How to build team science and how to collaborate with not so obvious others the participantsdiscussed a fictional research project. Participants had to come up with the most important aspects of the project, that included collaboration with stakeholders, handling privacy, ethic, academic value and commercialization, the role of citizens et cetera, to finally come up with what this workshop was all about: what are necessary roles to realize the projects goals? Are those academic or support, or is that divide becoming more and more superfluous nowadays?  

Publishing in Diamond Open Access format
Another workshop focused on Diamond Open Access publishing: how to publish a book or journal as Diamond Open Access and how to create the right policy to support Diamond Open Access publishing. Participants had to answer the question: Suppose there is room for a new Diamond Open Access journal, where do you start? How do you find the funds and people who will collaborate? A journal needs experienced and motivated editing staff, so how do you find funds for salaries? Can you make the editing process more efficient by combining smaller titles?  The policy group discussed the issue that publishing in journals like Nature is still more valued than publishing in new journals by many. In the context of Recognition and Rewards it would be desirable to change this.

Citizen Science
In the workshop Creating an audience for Citizen Science projects: the historical data base of Suriname and Curaçao (HDSC) Use Case historian Coen van Galen dived into the question of finding  volunteers for your citizen science project. For HDSC they were helped by the media (even the NOS news) and they tried to find their audience at targeted events. Van Galen: “It’s important to know what is in it for the volunteers, to choose your target group precisely, be very clear about the purpose of the study to volunteers and keep in touch during the project.”

Market place
During lunch the participants could visit 11 booths in the Atrium of the NU Building representing communities and research groups that are involved in Open Science. Among them were Opening up the Social Sciences though digital data infrastructure (ODISSEI), the Student Initiative for Open Science (SIOS), the Amsterdam Science Park Study Group, a local community of computational life scientists to promote Open Science practices and the bottom up Open Science Communities.

For the full list of sessions, workshops and market place booths, please see the full programme of the day.