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Open Science policy developments in Estonia

Open Science policy developments in Estonia
Estonian Research Council coordinates Open Science policy in the country by organizing various events in cooperation with other institutions (including the University of Tartu Library, OpenAIRE NOAD in Estonia).
In 2015, Estonian Research Council established the Open Science Expert Group which consists of 14 experts from universities, libraries and other institutions. The group has compiled a document “Open Science in Estonia” that includes general principles and policy recommendations, encourages the development of a national strategy and institutional policies on open science. Full English version of the document is available here.
Some highlights from the document:

Open access to research publications: Estonia’s strategic objective 2020

The academic community is familiar with and accepts the principles of open access. Research articles published with the support of public funding are freely accessible to all one year after their original publishing date at the latest; at least half of them are immediately accessible in the final form and their long-time maintenance is guaranteed. All research journals, published in Estonia with public funding, follow the open access principles and apply the conditions of open content licensing.  

Open access to research data: Estonia’s strategic objective 2020

The academic community is familiar with and accepts the principles of open science and open data. Research data collected with the support of public funding are freely accessible and re-usable to all, if not restricted by legal requirements. Research data are preserved in open repositories which meet certain standards (e.g. OpenAIRE guidelines) and are made available at the earliest opportunity.

Principles and recommendations  

The applications for public funding for research projects must include data management plans, which contain information about publishing and licensing of the data.

Research data must be available as early as possible, preferably, simultaneously with the appearance of publications. If the data is not accompanied by a publication, it must be available by the completion of the related research project at the latest.

Key stakeholders and their roles in the implementation of the principles of open science: Universities and other research and development institutions

  • Draw up institutional principles and the action plan for open science.  
  • Promote open access to research information in teaching and learning as a component of open and knowledge-based society.  
  • In publishing, prefer open access and as open as possible content licences (preferably CC BY).  
  • Cooperate with DataCite Estonia in the development, operation and promotion of a central and speciality-based research data repository.  
  • When evaluating the performance of researchers and teaching staff, consider besides publications also publishing of data and citations of data.  
  • Develop curricula on research data (data scientist).  
  • Provide to researchers necessary tools for data management.  
  • Research libraries advise and train Estonian research community on open access and data management issues and, in cooperation with research funders, develop the templates for data management plans.
Background, timeline and the future
In Estonia, Open Access has been on the radar since 2009. University of Tartu Library was one of the early adopters hosting Open Access Weeks since 2010 and organizing various events to initiate debates on Open Access and Open Research Data.
In 2014, the University of Tartu joined  a global organization DataCite, in order to help Estonian research data be more visible internationally. The Estonian DataCite Consortium was established in early 2015 and includes four major research universities, has strong support from the Estonian Academy of Sciences and funding from the Estonian Research Council.
In 2015, during the Open Access Week, a national seminar, supported by FOSTER project,  was held in the University of Tartu Library where the first draft of the open science policy recommendation document was introduced as well as other activities supporting Estonian open science policy development.
On the 13th of May, 2016, an event for introducing the document for wider audience was held in the University of Tartu Library. This document was presented also for feedback and commenting to various higher education and research institutions as well as ministries. By April, 2016, Estonian Research Council had received feedback from 18 different institutions.
In order to continue introducing Open Science activities, University of Tartu Library in cooperation with DataCite Estonia consortium held an OpenAIRE national workshop/seminar on the 20th of April 2017 Open Research Data - the FAIRest Data is the Future of Science which provided an overview of various activities related to opening up research data in Estonia as well as neighboring countries. More information about the event is here and presentations and recording are available here.
In March-April 2017, a research commissioned by the Estonian Ministry of Education and Science and the Estonian Research Council in collaboration with the Estonian Academy of Sciences conducted a survey which explored the attitudes and current practices of Estonian researchers concerning open research data and open access publishing. Results of this survey were introduced in the FAIR data event and the presentation can be found here.  This survey will be supplemented by focus group interviews among stakeholders in the near futures. Results of this survey and interviews will be implemented in the roadmap of Open Science policy in Estonia.
During the fall 2017, Estonia is planning the following Open Science events:  European Open Science Cloud (October 2-3), Research Data Alliance (RDA) national workshop for Estonian researchers (November 8) and the work towards the national Open Science policy continues.
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