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Belgian Online Open Science Webinars – skills and training

Belgian Online Open Science Webinars – skills and training

During Open Access Week, Open Science staff from Belgian universities teamed up to organize a series of 4 webinars aimed at research support staff to provide information on Open Science skills and offer the opportunity to discuss approaches to Open Science literacy and training.

The first webinar 'Skills development for Open Science' introduced two EOSC related talks. Sadia Vancauwenbergh (EOSC, UHasselt) talked about the EOSC – skills and training working group which is working on building competence (skills) and capabilities (training) for EOSC. Introducing EOSC, she emphasized the many challenge there are still in place for support staff and trainers. There is room for improvement to gain expertise in 'open' skills, data skills and additional knowledge on ethical, legal and interdisciplinary practices. The EOSC skills and training working group prioritized the skills challenges needed to develop and train the next generation of open science professionals through aligned and coordinated training and long-lasting knowledge hubs of learning material or EOSC leadership programmes.

Paula Oset Garcia (UGent) is involved in the EOSC-Pillar project, a project exploring readiness for EOSC in 5 countries, including Belgium. The project developed a Training and Support catalogue, a collection of online searchable resources for FAIR data stewardship and research data management. The objective is to fostering FAIR data culture and the uptake of good practices in making data FAIR. The training part of the catalogue focuses on gaining knowledge and developing skills on RDM-related topics, while the support part offers ready to use tools and solutions.

The last presentation of the webinar 'Skills development for Open Science' looked into how skills development for open Science and sharing (open) Data could be achieved and improved. Veerle Van den Eynden (KULeuven) presented different tactics to effectively learn data skills such as templates, tools, practical examples and hands-on training courses. The focus in training for data skills lies on FAIR principles as it makes data fit for re-use and offers a broad framework to work towards good data management.


The second webinar of the day included three presentations elaborating on the specific topic of Training for Data Management Planning', with more funders including a DMP in their mandates a timely subject.

The first presentation by Dragana Petrovic (ULB) detailed how to motivate researchers to meet funder requirements in regards to data. The talk focused on best practices from a DMP advisor. General support in combination with specific tools and personalized support makes the task far less complicated for researchers.

As a perfect follow-up presentation Niek Van Wettere (VUB) talked about how they created a roadmap on how to teach about data management plans (DMP). They screened DMPs for recurrent mistakes, most of them easily to avoid, such as anonymization versus pseudonymization or password-locked versus encrypted data. General and broad communication on the subject and different strategies for teaching DMPs were set up. Guidance on dmponline.be, an RDM website, face-to-face-information session, online courses and video courses developped. Other avenues such as video tutorials and machine-actionable DMPs are being explored.

The last talk, by Myriam Mertens (UGent) focused on measuring the quality of a DMP by trainers and support staff. A useful feedback tool is a DMP review rubric which can both benefit researchers, as a pre-review of their DMP, and support staff, as it eases effort and closes the skills gap necessary to do a thorough review of a DMP. Different templates and a guide to develop a rubric were presented. Review rubrics may also be used for self-assessment or as a training exercise for Data stewards and support staff.


It was a heartfelt call to make collaboration and open access the new normal.

by Bronwen Martin

On Thursday the Open Science skills webinars continued. A first session focused on discussing Open Science tools, their use, opportunities and drawbacks. Tools discussed were Unpaywall by Joke Claes (KULeuven ) and the Unpaywall API by Mohammed Minout (ULB), the sherpa services by Lucy Amez (VUB), the newly launched 'Open Research Europe' (ORE) platform by Michael Markie (F1000) and OpenAIREs Provide dashboard by Emilie Hermans (UGent). 

The short demos were followed by a discussion on how to use these tools and their usefulness. Other Open Science tools providing support for support staff in different universities were highlighted in the discussion as well.

The last webinar of the Open Access week series revolved around the question 'Is Open Science accelerating?', making use of COVID-19 examples to formulate an answer.

Gwen Franck (EIFL) started this session talking about the COVID-19 Open Research Gateway, OpenAIRE's response to enable the scientific community to discover research from different resources around Europe and the world by aggregating COVID-19 research outputs. She presented a demo of the gateway, showing how to discover and navigate the content. 

David Carr (Wellcome Trust) focused on the policy side of accelerating Open Science, as Wellcome Trusts called on researchers, journals and funders for rapid sharing of data and findings in a joint statement. The COVID-19 case has funders considering how to evaluate key lessons from principles and practices introduced for COVID-19 as well as how to roll-out these approaches to a wider portfolio of funded research. 

The session was concluded by Bronwen Martin (University of Antwerp) who shared a personal experiences and many examples of how Open Science is essential for accelerating our understanding of Covid-19. She highlighted how Open Science enhances international partnerships and robust data sharing infrastructure and how it enabled collaboration between countries and disciplines. It was a heartfelt call to make collaboration and open access the new normal.


You can find recordings and slides of the held webinars on open access.be following this link: openaccess.be/2020/10/27/open-science-webinars-recordings-skills-and-training

The full programme is available here: openaccess.be/2020/09/11/online-open-science-webinars

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27 Nov 2020

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