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The Importance of Open Science for the Societal Challenges - OS & Covid-19: discussion with the Romanian community Webinar, April 14, 2020

The Importance of Open Science for the Societal Challenges - OS & Covid-19: discussion with the Romanian community Webinar, April 14, 2020

Context: The Covid-19 outbreak affecting the whole world caused sudden lockdown in Romania in March 2020, as a response to the outspread of the virus; the importance of open science has widely become more obvious and many actors started to act more "open" as a natural response to the coronavirus issues; as well as other countries, Romania feels the need of strengthening collaboration in science and innovation more than ever.

Scope: In this context, the OpenAIRE NOAD representatives, who are also the RDA Node Romanian and act as the Open Science Hub Romania (OSHRO) have launched a call to dialogue in order to discuss with the national RDI community the role of Open Science in addressing societal challenges and specifically the challenges we now have to face related to Covid-19.

Design: The discussions have been organized in the form of a 2h Zoom webinar and they were triggered by key presentations of the European initiatives with the focus on the recent actions of OpenAIRE and RDA organized in order to tackle Covid-19 and SARS-CoV-2 challenges. The focus has been put onto the pressing needs of:

  • free and fast access to scientific data;
  • sharing scientific data;
  • protection of intellectual property;
  • maintaining a rigorous control over the validation of scientific results.

Categories of interest: The audience has been formed of around 50 people representing members of the national research and innovation community as well as other actors interested in the subject of Open Science in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. Bellow there is an illustration of the interest captured as per the registration at the webinar. 

Discussions: The central topics addressed during the webinar session both by the international experts (Iryna Kuchma - Open Access Program Manager within EIFL and Hilary Hanahoe - Secretary General Research Data Alliance) and by the Romanian experts (Alina Irimia - Open Science Hub Romania Coordinator and Valentin Cojanu, OSHRO collaborator and founder of The Journal of Philosophical Economics) were linked also to the main need and opportunity at national level to create a space for dialogue, a bridge between the national community and major international initiatives.

Particular attention was paid during session to the OpenAIRE activities in the fight against Covid-19 and SARS-CoV-2, mainly the development of the OpenAIRE Zenodo COVID-19 Community and the OpenAIRE COVID-19 Gateway to which the entire scientific community in Europe is invited to contribute with relevant results in order to facilitate the rapid dissemination and discovery of information.

The Research Data Alliance overall activities to support Open Science and the organization's efforts in response to Covid-19 were also a central topic of the webinar. The focus was put onto the importance of optimizing the global research data ecosystem and identifying opportunities and needs to serve the new reality of data-driven science, while respecting intellectual property rights and FAIR principles for which the RDA Covid-19 Working Group was created.

Participants' perspectives & interest

Among the questions raised by the participants, it worth mentioning the community's interest in:

  • The need to engage more the private sector in the dialogue and funding schemes in order to address the challenges of Covid-19 in a stronger collaborative way;
  • How can everyone in the community – not working on Covid-19 research - get involved and help the initiatives?
  • How do all initiatives complement each other? Will the OpenAIRE portal be the main gate for every initiative? (participants were a bit confused of the so many initiatives at the European level)

Analysis of the feedback revealed that the webinar was well received and the participants expressed their interest in joining these type of interactions in the future (a 100% positive response to the question on whether they would like to participate in other webinars of this kind).

Also, through the feedback form participants expressed their interest in specific topics that we will take into consideration for the overall landscaping of the OS in Romania and for the future webinars/ workshops. There has been highlighted the interest in learning more on the (e-)infrastructure for open science, training sessions on the different aspects of implementing open science tools and principles, open science policies at institutional level as well as national, best practices for open science, models of adoption, OS actions in specific domains.

In the near future, the Open Science Hub Romania's actions will focus on ensuring and facilitating the dialogue with international communities, as well as on expanding the Romanian community with real interest in Open Science by organizing similar webinars to discuss the challenges and opportunities of Romania's tranzition to Open science.

Presentations of the webinar can be found on the UEFISCDI – Open Science Hub Romania website here.

For more information about this event or the overall actions in Romania the OSHRO team can be reached at the email address: .

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