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A new start for Europe: opening up to an ERA of innovation, Bruxelles, 22–23 June 2015

A new start for Europe: opening up to an ERA of innovation, Bruxelles, 22–23 June 2015
The future development of the European Research Area (ERA) was discussed at the conference A new start for Europe: opening up to an ERA of innovation that was attended by more than 500 participants.

The first day was dedicated to the Open Science, and the second day to the world-class research and innovation ecosystem for Europe and to the improvement of its framework conditions. In this report we present the current and planned activities of the European Commission on Open Science. The Competitiveness Council (the meeting of ministers for science from EU Member States) has discussed the key results and insights from the public consultation on Open Science on 29 May 2015.

The timetable of the bottom-up process for the preparation of the European Open Science Agenda in the next one-year period is:
  •  Autumn 2015: stakeholder discussions;
  •  Autumn 2015–Spring 2016: a concrete plan for Open Science;
  •  4–5 April 2016: conference on Open Science under the Dutch Presidency of the European Union;
  •  May 2016: presentation of the European Open Science Agenda to the Competitiveness Council.
In the keynote address the European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas laid out his priorities which are Open Innovation, Open Science and Openness to the World. The first chapter of ERA that has started 15 years ago was about the physical ERA and bringing together research and innovation (physical cooperation, mobility of researchers in different countries, cross-border research cooperation). The first chapter will be completed by June 2016 with the meeting of Commissioner Moedas with all the countries that have introduced national ERA action plans. At the same time the next ERA chapter will start with opening up the research and innovation systems and bringing together the physical and the digital (i.e., open innovation, open science and openness to the world, in short the Innovation ERA). The proposed new activities are development of the European Fund(s) for the investment in new generations of great European innovative companies, the Seal of Excellence for applicants that are evaluated as excellent, but cannot obtain funding from Horizon 2020 and will be helped to access Structural Funds, the European Innovation Council (to support excellence in innovation as the European Research Council is supporting excellence in research), Open Science, European Science Cloud Project, the European Research Integrity Initiative, and the global Common Research Area. Open access publication is already a requirement under Horizon 2020, Commissioner Moedas plans to seriously look at the open research data in the next twelve months (to set standards for the management, interoperability and quality of research data, and to decide on further support or requirements in Horizon 2020 after the mid term review).

Jack Metthey and Thierry van der Pyl from the European Commission presented the key results and insights from the public consultation on Science 2.0  ( re-named Open Science according to the suggestions of the respondents). The key drivers of Open Science are availability of digital technologies and their increased capacities as well as researchers looking for new ways of disseminating their output and for new ways of collaboration. The major barriers for Open Science are concerns about the quality assurance of new and non-traditional research outputs, lack of credit-giving to Science 2.0 and lack of integration into the existing infrastructures. The most important benefits of Open Science are more collaboration and new forms of collaboration, breaking down discipline barriers and interactions with actors outside the research community. The implications of Science 2.0 for the society, economy and the research system are more reliable and more efficient science, faster and wider innovation. The objectives of the European Commission are to support and foster Open Science and the connection of Open Science to the society, i.e., open access to research publications and data, e-infrastructures for Open Science (establishing of the European Open Science Cloud) and citizens as scientists.

The keynote address by Prof Johannes Vogel from the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin about Open Science was a practical reasoning of a researcher about the aspects of Open Science. He is convinced that Open Science 2030 will happen and will have societal and scientific implications.

Panel discussion 22. 6. 2015 Photo credits Innovation Union

The focus of the three concurrent panel discussions were the development of research infrastructures for Open Science, the creation of incentives and removal of barriers, and the connection between the Open Science and the Society.

As conclusion, Robert-Jan Smits from the Directorate General for Research and Innovation of the European Commission listed the activities that will lead to the formation of the European Open Science Agenda. In this report we have presented them in the beginning paragraph. The development of the European Open Science Agenda will encompass the removal of barriers and creation of incentives, the development of infrastructures (e.g., the European Open Science Cloud), and embedding of Open Science in the society.

Photo credits: (c) Innovation Union

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