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Open Science course for CHIST-ERA researchers


Background: Towards the end of 2020, CHIST-ERA organized a set of training events for its researchers network in light of their newly adopted Open Science policy. The courses were prepared and run in partnership with OpenAIRE that has been advising CHIST-ERA on Open Access and Research Data Management (RDM) issues to develop and implement policies and services (CHIST-ERA Open Science Advisory Board).

CHIST-ERA is a pan european consortium of national funders supporting research on Information and Communications Technology - ICT.

The character of the first event was internal, meaning that it was specifically targeted to all funder agencies of the consortium in order to present and demonstrate OpenAIRE services and possibilities offered to them as research funders. This event took place on 4th November 2020 and the agenda had as follows:

  • Introduction from CHIST ERA representatives
  • OpenAIRE: who we are what we do - Emma Lazzeri, CNR / OpenAIRE
  • Services: Research Graph and EXPLORE - Alessia Bardi, CNR / OpenAIRE
  • Services: MONITOR (Funder Monitoring Dashboard) - Ioanna Grypari and Harry Dimitropoulos, ATHENA Research and Innovation Center / OpenAIRE
  • Services: DMPs with Argos - Elli Papadopoulou, ATHENA Research and Innovation Center / OpenAIRE
  • Services: Training and support - Emma Lazzeri, CNR / OpenAIRE

In December, the focus was on promoting the necessary Open Science skills - this time to researchers. The training was designed and delivered by OpenAIRE NOADs for Italy (Emma Lazzeri) and Greece (Elli Papadopoulou).

Structure: The training for CHIST-ERA researchers was split into four modules to examine how Open Access and FAIR principles transform traditional research environments, how they become good practices and applied in everyday activities as well as what are the tools that can facilitate their uptake. More specifically, the programme had as follows:

  • Module 1 (2nd December): Introduction and motivations
  • Module 2 (4th December): Open Access to Publications, Open Data and FAIR Data, Open Software and FAIR software
  • Module 3 (9th December): Research Data Management and Data Management Plan
  • Module 4 (11th December): Hands-on session with the provided tools

Motivations: Emma Lazzeri, OpenAIRE Italian NOAD from the Italian National Research Council, introduced CHIST-ERA researchers to the notion of Open Science starting with the Open Access effects on scientific papers. She delved into the specifics of available scientific publishing models and compared them to traditional paths to highlight faults and discrepancies identified in the chain.

Emma then gave insight on major steps towards Open Access that were taken throughout the years, such as growth in repositories for literature preservation and Article Processing Charges (APCs) for immediate access to scientific journals. She added data in the Open Access equation and informed about important developments in the European Research Area (ERA), such as the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), to note that Open Science has been a policy priority for the European Commision (EC) since early 2000s. Emma concluded with noting the importance of the new CHIST-ERA policy.

Open Access and FAIR outputs: During the second day, Emma talked about more practical issues of Open Science. She communicated best practices, initiatives and examples that eliminated misconceptions and provided a better understanding on how to publish in Open Access and how to prepare FAIR data and software. Moreover, ongoing efforts to change the scenery in scholarly communication, such as Plan S, were mentioned. Emma also stressed that Open and FAIR are not interrelated components and that the one may exist without the other. FAIR outputs raise the quality and impact of research activities and results and improve recognition within the research community, while openly shared outputs maximise their uptake and exploitation opportunities.

CHIST-ERA DMPs: The last two modules were delivered by Elli Papadopoulou, Greek OpenAIRE NOAD from Athena Research & Innovation Center. Elli started by underlying the differences between three very similar looking concepts: repeatability, replicability and reproducibility, and noted the key points pertaining the management of re-used data, i.e data that are being re-used versus data prepared for re-use. In doing so, she explained key steps and practices followed in RDM and emphasized on Data Management Plans (DMPs) and their implementation.

Elli informed researchers about the CHIST-ERA DMP template which they will be called to complete and report back for projects starting in 2021. CHIST-ERA chose Argos, OpenAIRE's service for writing and sharing DMPs, to implement their template and monitor policy compliance. To maximise proper use and uptake, Argos demo was complemented by a hands-on session during the last day of the training.

In practice: The training ended on a day of interactive sessions and a guest presentation. Elli went through a list of key Open Science tools and services available to researchers free of charge and provided quick wins about them as well as short demos based on a use-case scenario. For each one of the tools, researchers were given simple exercises to practice by themselves. Then, researchers shared their screen and communicated with everyone the steps that they had followed to complete the exercise. In addition, Manolis Terrovitis, head of Amnesia development, cleared up the differences between analysing sensitive data using pseudo- and anonymization methods and techniques according to GDPR and offered a demo on the use of the tool.

Wrap-up: Ahmad Zein, from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), closed the training event with a few slides that summarized the efforts made during the past year by CHIST-ERA consortium to align with global Open Science advancements. Ahmad reassured its researchers network that they will continue supporting them to become familiar and comply with new Open Access and FAIR RDM requirements.

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