Supporting Open Science in the Czech Republic
I consider OpenAIRE to be an essential research infrastructure.by Michal Růžička
The OpenAIRE team has the pleasure of speaking to our NOAD in the Czech Republic, Michal Růžička, Head of the Data Security and Management at the Masaryk University. Read his reflections on Open Science.
How does Masaryk University support Open Science in the Czech Republic?
Masaryk University (MU) has a strong position in support of Open Science in the Czech Republic for several reasons: MU has been OpenAIRE NOAD since 2018 when we participated in the OpenAIRE Advance project. As such, we supported Open Science by transferring OpenAIRE knowledge, providing consultations, organizing workshops etc. We continue with these efforts also under OpenAIRE AMKE. MU initialized the WG-RDM.cz working group. Besides that, MU is an important member of the Czech e-infrastructure, providing storage and computation services for Czech academic institutions. The natural continuation of these activities is MU's role in implementing EOSC in the Czech Republic. MU has a strong position in several working groups, leading, for example, the Core Services group. Our colleagues are also members of the Research, Development and Innovation Council expert group under the Czech Government Office preparing the new Open Science Strategy 2022+. We are also active in coordinating Open Science activities with other universities on the platform of Czech Open Science managers. We are a leading institution regarding the use of Diamond Open Access practices and know-how in the Czech Republic.
When and why did you decide to join OpenAIRE and become a NOAD?
It was in 2018 when the OpenAIRE Advance project started. MU took over the role of the Czech NOAD for VSB – the Technical University of Ostrava from OpenAIRE Advance on. Personal changes at the VSB – Technical University of Ostrava prevented them from continuing in OpenAIRE activities. They have done it since the first OpenAIRE project, through OpenAIRE Plus and OpenAIRE 2020. For MU, that was a perfect opportunity to improve our university's expertise and coverage in Open Science. Looking back, that was the ideal decision to join OpenAIRE Advance as that opened up new opportunities for us and made the above activities easier
What do you think is missing in the Czech Republic to fully embrace Open Science?
Improve awareness of Open Science as a whole concept in general and focus on FAIR data in particular. "Regular" researchers are still sometimes 'scared' of Open Science. They think they will have to give up their rights and privileges to their research data, for example. So, we continue with improving awareness of FAIR principles, the concept 'as open as possible, as closed as necessary, and support with Open Science requirements coming to them more and more often from the Research Financing Organizations (the process of national implementation of Open Science to grant agreements are now undergoing with respect to the national implementation of EU Directive on Open data [2019/1024]). We are trying to explain that data management plan requirements, for example, are an opportunity to improve their research practices rather than another bureaucratic requirement. That DMP should be more planning, the process, rather than plan, as another document. The first 'read and publish' agreements will take place next year and will also help (key role of the National Technical Library [NTK] in this area) with the implementation and the new national strategy, which is now missing.
What are your top three priorities you will focus on in the next year?
We aim to implement the National Data Infrastructure covering, among others, the National Repository Platform for quickly building topical and institutional data repositories with advanced services and National Metadata Directory, concentrating metadata on the Czech research data. We hope this will significantly improve research data handling in the following decade in the Czech Republic and ensure the availability of all necessary FAIR-data-related services for Czech scientists.
How do you think OpenAIRE will help you succeed?
OpenAIRE provides us with a gateway for knowledge at the European level. We are using and referencing OpenAIRE factsheets and training materials. We are actively participating in European projects together with OpenAIRE and are using services provided by OpenAIRE. In the above-mentioned National Data Infrastructure activities, we expect membership in OpenAIRE AMKE and the use of OpenAIRE, for example, giving metadata from the National Metadata Directory to the OpenAIRE Research Graph.
The Czech Republic took over the Presidency of the Council of the EU. Amongst others, it will also seek to highlight the role of research infrastructures. As a Member of OpenAIRE's Executive Board, how do you see OpenAIRE's role and contribution?
I consider OpenAIRE to be an essential research infrastructure. It has matured a network of Open Science experts with established local support centres across EU countries for a long time. OpenAIRE provides vital services in both soft – education, training, and support – and hard – technical services like Research Graph, PROVIDE and EXPLORE – areas of Open Science services. We expect to use these infrastructural services to support the connection of the to-be-build Czech National Data Infrastructure to the European FAIR data space (as MU also through the national implementation of EOSC – we will emphasize this position also during the EOSC Symposium organized in Prague in November). The experience and tradition of OpenAIRE in providing Open Science services will help us to achieve these goals, and I expect other European countries can benefit from OpenAIRE similarly. In my opinion, OpenAIRE should focus on research data now as Open Access seems to be more or less a 'solved problem', but the practice of handling research data is the next big challenge of Open Science. Based on the process of creating a new national Open Science strategy, we will also propose to include a link towards OpenAIRE activities and try to connect OpenAIRE activities with national priorities in Open Science.
Get in touch with our NOADs in the Czech Republic!
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