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Open Science in Estonia – two research reports

Open Science in Estonia – two research reports
In 2017, under the supervision of Estonian Research Council, two research groups from the University of Tartu and Tallinn University in cooperation with the Estonian Academy of Sciences conducted research (surveys) on Open Science approaches in Estonia. Both research ended with practical recommendations for the future and are part of the process of establishing Estonian Open Science policy. Work of these working groups was supported by RITA program, which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund that aims to increase the role of the state in the strategic managing of research and the capabilities of R&D institutions in carrying out socially relevant research.
The survey led by the University of Tartu was titled Open Science in Estonia and Europe: Legal and Socio-Economic Aspects (Kelli, A., Mets, T., Vider, K., Kull, I.). The focus of the research was open science issues, open access publishing, open data and socio-economic impact of open science in general. The report found out following statistics about Estonian research: Estonia spends about 4 million euros every year on research databases licenses. Estonians publish 35 OA international journals. “The system of open science is still only being devised in Estonia, requiring approximately 0.7 million euros per year for 2018/2019.” The report came up with various conclusions and recommendations for previously mentioned topics:
  • Open science policy should be connected to other policies, include all social groups and earn equally Estonian and EU interests. OS policy should cover publications, research data and methodology;
  • Open Data policy should take into considerations the specific requirements of scientific fields and personal data protection requirements;
  • “Considering the needs of open science, Estonia should not support the introduction of data producer’s rights to machine-generated raw data at the EU level”;
  • Research data and public data should be similarly regulated;
  • “The publication of search data should count as research (similarly to publication of research articles).” (Kelli, A., Mets, T., Vider, K., Kull, I., 2017)
The survey led by Tallinn University, titled Open Science in Estonia and Europe: Possibilities and Potential from the Viewpoint of Different Target Groups (Toom, K., Olesk, A., Ruusalepp, R., Kaal, E., Mandre, S., Vaikmäe, R.) focused on open science trends and placing it in the context of Estonian sciences and state needs. The report describes the roles what R&D institutions, the State and researchers play in shaping the Estonian Open Science principles and analysis show the “societal profit of Open Science from the viewpoint of different target groups.” In 2017, (21 March – 3 April), a web survey was conducted for the purpose of this research. Out of 4033 researchers, 671 respondents filled out the survey. Based on these results, it can be said that respondents viewed Open Science in a positive way. Open Access to publications was perceived as profitable for science. Respondents indicated two major problems when it came to publishing in Open Access journals: quality of OA journals and funding in publishing in these journals.  The report brought out lack of organized preservation of research data. Most researchers still keep their data in their personal devices; however, they showed interest in intuitional and national data repositories as well as raising awareness of options of data storage.
The report also presented following major recommendations:
  • Define positive outcomes of Open Science for different society levels and raise awareness;
  • Awareness and promotion of Open Science should be introduced to researchers from their peers from the same field;
  • Field related differences should be mapped and taken into consideration;
  • Self-archiving options and environments should be widely introduced to scientists;
  • Raise knowledge about Open Science in all R&D institutions by adding the topic into doctoral curriculum);
  • Have an active discussion with researchers about the goals and options of Open Science (for example, collect scientists’ feedback to DMPs);
  • In order to raise the awareness, sign a Concordat on Open Research Data similarly to United Kingdom (;
  • Recommend FAIR data principles as a quality assurance on DMPs of nationally funded research projects;
  • Regulate nationally a requirement that DMPs must show criteria under which the research team plans to archive their research data;
  • Fund data reuse which supports research conducted only based on open research data;
  • Set up standards and methodology for producing and assessing open data sets; (Toom, et. al, 2017).
Both reports can be found in Estonian (full text) with English summary from the Estonian Research Council website ( These two research were another step closer to Estonia finally accepting Open Science policy, which Estonian libraries as well as the Estonian Research Council have already been working towards for years.
Reference: Kelli, A., Mets, T., Vider, K., Kull, I. (2017). Open Science in Estonia and Europe: Legal and Socio-Economic Aspects. Tartu: University of Tartu (in Estonian, executive summary in English on pages 6-9),
Toom, K., Olesk, A., Ruusalepp, R., Kaal, E., Mandre, S., Vaikmäe, R. (2017) Open Science in Estonia and Europe: Possibilities and Potential from the Viewpoint of Different Target Groups. Tallinn: Tallinn University and Estonian Academy of Sciences (in Estonian, executive summary in English on pages 12-16),
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