What is Open Science?

Open Science or Open Scholarship stands for the transition to a new, more open and participatory way of conducting, publishing and evaluating scholarly research. Central to this concept is the goal of increasing cooperation and transparency in all research stages. This is achieved, among other ways, by sharing research data, publications, software, tools and results as early and open as possible.

According to the UNESCO recommendation on Open Science, Open Science is aiming to make scientific knowledge openly available, accessible and reusable for everyone, to increase scientific collaborations and sharing of information for the benefits of science and society.

Using open methods can lead to more robust scientific results, more efficient research and (faster) access to scientific results for everyone.

New digital possibilities

Open Science stems, among other things, from the growing digitisation of science. Never before was it possible to share and digitally analyse such large quantities of research data as it is today. Online collaboration among researchers from around the world is the “new normal” way of working.

Open Science: not a goal in itself

A great deal of effort and progress are still required to arrive at the new normal. For data sharing it is important to describe the data well; researchers and other audiences must be able to find and understand it. Multidisciplinary agreements about minimum standards, tools and interoperability are needed, following the concept of ‘as open as possible, as closed as necessary.’

Appropriate infrastructure to support Open Science practices are essential. Services to support these practices must connect to the new, open way of working. Differences between the domains exist and can be significant. While processes may differ, these should be coordinated where possible.

Culture change

Open Science is more than the sharing of research data, publications and tools. It is also a transition to a new, inclusive way of working collectively. Through Open Science, the focus shifts to working in (interdisciplinary) teams and making results also more accessible to non-scientists. To achieve the necessary cultural change in academia, a new, widely-accepted incentive and reward system for researchers is required.