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OpenAIRE Barcamp: what happens in Paris… now you know it, too!

 How it all started: It is a tradition for the Open Science Conference in Berlin to complement its programme with an un-conference convention, the "Barcamp". During that time, professionals, experts and enthusiasts get together for a day to discuss Open Science issues that are relevant to their field of study or interests in an informal way, meaning that there are no presentations or lectures involved. The programme is formed on the day, the participants are the ones who propose topics for discussions and all together vote for those that they would like to attend.

The positive effects of the Barcamp were commonly expressed in a discussion between OpenAIRE NOADs from Luxembourg and Greece, who both attended the event, and volunteered to attempt integrating the format in future plenary meetings of the OpenAIRE network.

The OpenAIRE Barcamp: The OpenAIRE Management team welcomed the idea and it was held during the last General Assembly in Paris. Participants happily engaged in pre-Barcamp activities by proposing topics to discuss with colleagues and by voting for the most interesting topics they wanted to take part in. Out of the thirteen topics recorded on, some were merged while others didn't make the cut, leading to the following programme:

Four sessions run in parallel, making a total of eight topics of discussions. The focus of this Barcamp was equally internal (i.e. regarding the OpenAIRE network) as it was external (i.e. EOSC and international fora), and the topics spanned from specific procedures and best practices at the technical and strategic level to essential sources and methods for practicing Open Science as well as people's reflections on current developments.

Key points: Overall, this new approach of sessions with an informal setting that promotes discussions and knowledge exchange seems to have been appreciated by OpenAIRE colleagues. Moreover because the Barcamp provided the opportunity to:

  • prioritise specific areas that should be tackled by the OpenAIRE team
  • assist NOADs in embedding new services and/ or methods in their workflows
  • identify new workflows and best practices
  • foster dialogue on controversial issues
  • proactively take up issues pertaining the next phase of OpenAIRE, the OpenAIRE AMKE
  • strengthen communication and collaboration, especially with new members of the OpenAIRE family

A closer look at some discussions:

National Open Science Initiatives and Strategies

The session aimed at communicating successful attempts to create national initiatives for Open Science focusing on their experience in developing National Open Science Strategies and interactions with the Ministry.

During the session, NOADs from Romania, Serbia, Ireland, Finland, Croatia and Greece informed about the current status in their countries, shared the steps undertaken so far and provided tips and advice for colleagues currently dealing with similar issues:

"Careful about how you frame and say things especially with Plan S; start with something that is going to go someway; insist for no embargoes"

"Draft something and share it so that you open it for discussion"

"Include everyone in discussions, particularly Research Infrastructures, and highlight the value of EOSC"

In brief, the discussions showed that there are efforts in countries such as Ireland, Finland, Serbia, Croatia that are more mature than others, like in Romania and Greece, that have only recently embarked on similar activities. They all follow either a bottom-up or a top-down approach, while few admitted that although they had started as a bottom-up initiative they have since been merged with national top-down groups. There is clear coordination among different stakeholders of the initiatives and priority is stabilizing the Open Access part of Open Science.


EOSC: Fog or Cloud?

The session aimed at discussing how NOADs and OpenAIRE partners can contribute in concrete ways to EOSC and how the national Open Science role and contribution should be defined and communicated.

Ideas for better promotion that were expressed showed the need for repackaging and re-marketing of the core OpenAIRE/ EOSC services, such as the metadata guidelines for interoperability. The use of simple language was raised to move away from policy activities and the effectiveness of use cases in the form of videos was discussed.

Big part of the conversation was occupied by a debate on whether a service is a product and how it can be related to institutions, projects, outputs etc. Finally, participants agreed that it would be beneficial if more "foggy" terms were identified and explained in an easy way.

"Fog! Too political - they should focus more on the practical level - reach the institutions"

"Not a fog - good because of the value it provides"

"Not a fog - we know where we want to go, but the process is the fog"

Plan S compliance tool

The session focused on the next day of Plan S, i.e. January 2021, when cOAlition S funders will start to implement Plan S with Horizon Europe Framework Programme being in effect, indicating that open access provisions might be Plan S compliant. The session revolved around proactive thinking on how to design (and implement) a service to support researchers in easily finding information on compliance of a particular journal with Plan S, the use of existing international/national services and University support, including awareness raising and monitoring of compliance.

Discussions between the participants concluded to the following suggestions:

  • Universities should do the landscaping on current compliance of journals in which researchers publish most frequently and what needs to be done so that all relevant journals become Plan S compliant, who will take care of this.
  • To sit down with PI, inquire with which journals does the research group publish and PI sends information on Plan S compliance to the research group.
  • OpenAIRE could ask cOAlition S if and what tool is being prepared for researchers for checking compliance of individual journals with Plan S.

National Open Science websites
The session aimed at identifying national Open Science websites that are currently under construction or are published, to understand the diverse set of perceptions that various stakeholders have (researchers, data managers, RPOs, RFOs) so as to deliver a fit-for-purpose practical implementation that offers a useful navigation experience based on a best effort. The examples of Hungary, Estonia and Latvia were shared by participants who informed about the structure of the website, its management and other peculiarities that might fall under their use case:
  • Website is complemented by a blog.
  • National websites are under institutional websites versus national websites are under national government bodies (e.g. .gov).
  • Importance of use of both national language and english.
  • Occasions where there are two different websites: one for Open Access and one for Open Science.

Use of OpenAIRE graph in dissemination activity
The session was dedicated to the Research Graph which gives a fantastic insight into the wealth of information in OpenAIRE. The objective was to provide the means to best utilise this information in communication and dissemination activities, both targeted at more technical stakeholders and communities and at information liaisons.Conversations between participants highlighted the need for the graph to be visualised so that it is easier to be understood and used by others; suggestions were made on that matter. In addition, dissemination material should be developed, primarily use cases for researchers and funders. Attention should be given in making the unique selling point of this service more concrete for NOADs.

Useful resource: How to organise a barcamp: a nice infographic

Written by jelli​

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30 Sep 2023

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