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Addressing Open Science challenges in Romania


"Open Science can only become a reality through cultural change and this requires efforts towards achieving a common vision, through a common dialogue."

OpenAIRE Team has the pleasure of speaking to Alina Irimia, Open Science projects coordinator at UEFISCDI in Romania. Mrs Irimia, talked about the priority to connect and engage the Romanian community to the open science dynamics through a national dedicated platform that is now under development.  

What is the role othe Executive Agency for Higher Education, Research and Innovation Funding (UEFISCDI) and how does it support Open Science in Romania?

UEFISCDI administrates the major part of the public Research, Development and Technology (RDT) competitive funds in Romania but is also actively involved in evidence-based policy makingThe institution administrates the major tools that support collaboration and dialogue between Research Development and Innovation (RDI)actors involved in research and innovation: BrainMap and ERRISSince 2014, UEFISCDI has been contributing to the actions of the European Commission towards strengthening the policies and practices in support of open science. Through the Open Science Knowledge Hub Romania (OSKH) created in 2019, our institution is connected to the major initiatives dedicated to the development and implementation of the European Open Science Strategy and the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC): being the Romanian OpenAIRE NOAD, a member in the EOSC Association, a partner in the NI4OS project and the RDA Node Romania. For Open Science policies support we also collaborate with Science Europe, CoNOSC and the UNESCO Chair for Science and Innovation Policies – SNSPA. Currently, OSKH-UEFISCDI contributes significantly to the development of the national strategic framework for Open Science, part of a project financed through structural funds, developed in partnership with the Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digitisation.

 When and why did you decide to join OpenAIRE and become a NOAD?

UEFISCDI benefited of the support of OpenAIRE even before becoming the OpenAIRE NOAD Romania (part of OpenAIRE-Advance project, in 2018), so the decision to become a National Open Access Desk (NOAD) was really a natural one. The collaboration with OpenAIRE, helped the institution intensify its support activities for Open Science, strengthen the dialogue with stakeholders and - most important - connect to an amazing community of experts involved in OS, exchange practices and knowledge which eventually helped the setting of a national OS strategic approach in Romania.

 What do you think is missing in Romania to fully embrace Open Science?

Among the many challenges facing Open Science, three main dimensions impact cultural change and may inhibit or unblock a real transition to OS, and they should be clearly addressed in the near future in the national context: 1) career evaluation, rewards and incentives - career benefits or on the contrary, disadvantages for researchers who promote Open Science; 2) costs - Open Science is a costly process both in terms of OA publications and FAIR data; identifying the specific needs of the national context and engaging in transformative negotiations with major journals are essential, along with creating new mechanisms for collaboration and funding; 3) Open Science literacy - providing long-term opportunities for capacity building to support the systemic change.

 What are your top three priorities you will focus on in the next year?

Open Science can only become a reality through cultural change, and this requires efforts towards achieving a common vision, through a common dialogue. Our priorities as the OSKH team are focused on offering support to strengthen this dialogue among the stakeholders in the country and facilitate capacity building needed for OS and EOSC. We aim to do that as a national support hub but also as one of the coordinators of the Romanian Open Science Could Initiative (RO-NOSCI). Also, one of the top priorities is to connect and actively engage the Romanian community to the Open Science dynamics and capacity-building opportunities through a national dedicated platform now under development.

 How do you think OpenAIRE will help you succeed?

With the support of OpenAIRE, UEFISCDI intensified support activities for Open Science, strengthened the dialogue with stakeholders and - most important - got connected to an amazing community of OS experts and knowledge which eventually helps the development of a national OS strategic approach. Being part of OpenAIRE will further help connect the initiatives in Romania to the ones carried out by the OpenAIRE community, link activities to the OpenAIRE services and infrastructure in order to engage all stakeholders for an effective Open Science implementation and foster the culture change for Open Science.

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