A roadmap for cultural change towards Open Science

LERU reportIn the report “Open Science and its role in universities: A roadmap for cultural change”, the League of European Research Universities (LERU) offers advice to universities to implement and embrace Open Science.

"Bringing about change at universities requires 1/ leadership, vision, strategy and adequate resources for implementation, 2/ a mix of targeted measures to achieve cultural change, 3/ transparency, accountability and monitoring, and 4/ trust and confidence in a shared vision."

The first part of the report focuses on opportunities, challenges and cultural change in universities. In particular, LERU identifies seven challenges that need to be overcome in order for Open Science to reach its full potential:

  1. The prevalence of copyright assignment to commercial publishers and weak copyright literacy amongst researchers;
  2. The costs involved in developing Open Science approaches and in constructing local infrastructure;
  3. Acknowledging that not everything can be open (e.g., patient data);
  4. Finding agreement on metrics, and agreeing on new models for evaluation;
  5. Recognizing that not all communities or countries are all equally committed to openness, and therefore, it is inevitable that there will be leaders and followers in a time of transition;
  6. Getting all stakeholders to collectively and cooperatively start embracing Open Science;
  7. Culture change.

The second part of the report discusses the eight pillars of Open Science identified by the European Commission - the future of scholarly publishing, FAIR data, the European Open Science Cloud, education and skills, rewards and incentives, next-generation metrics (‘Altmetrics’), research integrity and citizen science - and what the implementation of open science approaches in each of them means at the institutional level. Taking the perspective of different stakeholders in the research/educational ecosystem, the report identifies several benefits of universities fully embracing open science principles and values, while also addressing the challenges universities face in doing so and offering advice to overcome them.

The report finishes by acknowledging that the transition to Open Science is a process, not a single event, and emphasizing the need for culture change. To successfully embed change at the institutional level, LERU encourages universities to:

Appoint a senior manager to lead Open Science approaches across all eight pillars of the Open Science debate identified by the European Commission.

Develop a programme of cultural change, which is necessary to support the changes in principle and practice which Open Science brings.

Establish advocacy programmes, which should identify the benefits of Open Science approaches, whilst being realistic about the challenges.

Draw up a communication strategy, which enables the whole university body to become familiar with Open Science practices.

Take a look at LERU’s other recommendations for universities on the eight dimensions of Open Science!

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