The tradition: Athena Research Center (Athena RC) and the University of Cyprus Library (UCY Library), representing OpenAIRE in Greece and Cyprus, respectively, launched their new series of Open Science webinars highlighting their digital collaboration that has become a tradition in the last five years.
About: The first webinar of the 2023 series welcomed Dr Konstantinos Glinos, former Head of Department for Open Science, General Directorate for Research and Innovation, European Commission, to inform about the European Reform on Research Assessment and the priorities of the European Commission in the European Research Area (ERA). The webinar was well attended by 157 librarians, researchers, infrastructure and service providers who are active in the Greek and Cypriot research areas creating the space for fruitful discussions.
The changing landscape: Dr Glinos listed the challenges of the research sector that led to Open Science and to European initiatives that support changing the landscape of research assessment. He opened his presentation with an emphasis on the reproducibility crisis stating that there is a high percentage of research results that cannot be reproduced because of the scientific question being not pertinent, the study design, conduct and analysis being poor, the results being not fully accessible or with bias etc. He also highlighted that a large number of publications are not read or referenced and despite the efforts to change the paradigm to Open Access, still closed access remains as a standard practice by many researchers. He recognised that among the erroneous mechanisms of the current research assessment system is its lack of rewarding groups of researchers rather than individual researchers which would shift the emphasis from 'stars' to collaboration in science.
The Front-runner: In this changing landscape, the European Commission has been at the forefront attempting to transform traditional practices developing appropriate incentives and rewards. Dr Glinos mentioned the EC's scoping report as a means to improve the current situation which led to the agreement between institutions to support the 10 principles and 10 commitments for implementing a better research assessment system. He pointed out that the process of this transition is gradual, with the first years aiming at creating a consensus on the fundamental changes. To support this mission, CoARA was established as the coalition for advancing research assessment. It consists of 437 organisations across countries and has working groups (WGs) and national chapters to support mutual learning and collaboration at different levels.
The WGs assume a "community of practice" approach to promote the production of guidelines on horizontal topics, to reconsider criteria and processes that are applicable to a given scientific discipline, and to navigate research assessment topics according to the different types of the organisations that are members of CoARA. To complement the WGs efforts and strengthen discussions at national level, the National Chapters were introduced.
Research Assessment in Greece and Cyprus: Open Science is leading responsible research and assessment, but in the COKI index Greece performs mediocre in adopting Open Access.
During the discussion, Dr Glinos informed about his own efforts to bring the topic of research assessment to the Greek political leadership's attention hoping to contribute to a plan that improves current practices. Moreover, he raised the importance of Greek and Cypriot organisations joining CoARA to showcase their efforts and commitments on that topic. Technical University of Crete explained their actions to align with the european developments informing that they have submitted their interest to become a CoARA member. They also expressed their concerns on the practical implementation of such an endeavor recognising that each country's law significantly differs from the others. ATHENA RC having the Presidency of the HOSI suggested that research assessment could be further discussed within the context of the working group aiming to update the National Plan for Open Science. In Greece, the Open Access numbers are expected to grow by putting this collective plan into practice.
Likewise, UCY Library shared that there are preliminary discussions on reforming research assessment at institutional level which are expected to form the pillars of actions and results in the future.
Shared responsibility: Dr Glinos concluded his presentation by stressing that our reward depends on our behaviour and it's our responsibility to get involved and contribute to a "very significant increase in efficiency, the quality and the trust that society shows in the research and researchers".
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