Disclaimer This document is a living document reflecting the present state of open science evolution. It is based on the input of many participating experts and stakeholders of the Amsterdam Conference 'Open Science – From Vision to Action', hosted by the Netherlands' EU Presidency on 4 and 5 April 2016. Participation in the conference does not constitute formal commitment to the content of this Call for Action.
Open science is about the way researchers work, collaborate, interact, share resources and disseminate results. A systemic change towards open science is driven by new technologies and data, the increasing demand in society to address the societal challenges of our times and the readiness of citizens to participate in research.
Increased openness and rapid, convenient and high-quality scientific communication - not just among researchers themselves but between researchers and society at large - will bring huge benefits for science itself, as well as for its connection with society. Open science has impact and has the potential to increase the quality and benefits of science by making it faster, more responsive to societal challenges, more inclusive and more accessible to new users. An example of this potential is the response to the outbreak of viral diseases such as Ebola and Zika. Access to the most recent scientific knowledge for a broad group of potential contributors, including new or unknown users of knowledge, has brought solutions closer. Open science also increases business opportunities. The speed at which innovative products and services are being developed is steadily increasing. Only companies (notably SMEs), entrepreneurs and innovative young people that have access to the latest scientific knowledge are able to apply this knowledge and to develop new market possibilities. Citizen science brings research closer to society and society closer to research.
A speedy transition is needed
For Europe to remain at the forefront and to ensure sustainable growth in the future, open science holds many promises. Reality, however, has not caught up yet with the emerging possibilities. The majority of scientific publications, research data and other research outputs are not freely accessible or reusable for potential users. Assessment, reward and evaluation systems in science are still measuring the old way. Although these issues are recognised and countless initiatives have been developed during recent years, policies are not aligned, and expertise can be shared more and better. There is a strong need for cooperation, common targets, real change, and stocktaking on a regular basis for a speedy transition towards open science.
The good news is that there is political and societal momentum. More and more researchers are supporting the transition and are moving towards open science in the way they work. Organisations from the scientific community are urging politicians to act. The European Commission and the Council of the European Union have expressed that they are prepared to take a leading role to facilitate and accelerate the transition towards open science.
From vision to action
This Call for Action is the main result of the Amsterdam conference on 'Open Science – From Vision to Action' hosted by the Netherlands' EU presidency on 4 and 5 April 2016. It is a living document reflecting the present state of open science evolution. Based on the input of all participating experts and stakeholders Stakeholders include research funders, Research Performing Organisations (including researchers, libraries and support staff), publishers (including information service providers) and businesses. as well as outcomes of preceding international meetings and reports, a multi-actor approach was formulated to reach two important pan-European goals for 2020.
1. Full open access for all scientific publications. This requires leadership and can be accelerated through new publishing models and compliance with standards set
2. A fundamentally new approach towards optimal reuse of research data. Data sharing and stewardship is the default approach for all publicly funded research. This requires definitions, standards and infrastructures.
To reach these goals by 2020 we need flanking policy:
3. New assessment, reward and evaluation systems. New systems that really deal with the core of knowledge creation and account for the impact of scientific research on science and society at large, including the economy, and incentivise citizen science
4. Continuous sharing of expertise. This includes sharing best practices and information, alignment of policies and regular monitoring-based stocktaking.
Twelve action items with concrete actions to be taken
Twelve action items have been included in this Call for Action. They all contribute to the transition towards open science and have been grouped around five cross-cutting themes that follow the structure of the European Open Science Agenda as proposed by the European Commission. This may help for a quick-start of the Open Science Policy Platform that will be established in May 2016. Each action item contains concrete actions that can be taken immediately by the Member States, the European Commission and the stakeholders:
Removing barriers to open science
1. Change assessment, evaluation and reward systems in science
2. Facilitate text and data mining of content
3. Improve insight into IPR and issues such as privacy
4. Create transparency on the costs and conditions of academic communication
Fostering and creating incentives for open science
7. Adopt open access principles
8. Stimulate new publishing models for knowledge transfer
9. Stimulate evidence-based research on innovations in open science
Mainstreaming and further promoting open science policies
10. Develop, implement, monitor and refine open access plans
Stimulating and embedding open science in science and society
11. Involve researchers and new users in open science
12. Encourage stakeholders to share expertise and information on open science