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Swedish OpenAIRE event "Opportunities in Open Science"

Swedish OpenAIRE event "Opportunities in Open Science"
On January 19th the National Library of Sweden organised a national OpenAIRE seminar, in collaboration with the Swedish Research Council and Vinnova, the Swedish Agency for Innovation Systems.

Recordings and ppt-slides are available here.
This is a summary of the seminar:

Gunilla Herdenberg, National Librarian and Director General of the National Library of Sweden, opened the seminar ”Opportunities in Open Science”, which was held in a full auditorium at the National Library of Sweden on the 19th of January 2017. Gunilla Herdenberg welcomed the considerable interest shown for the seminar, which was a joint arrangement by the National Library of Sweden, the Swedish Research Council and Vinnova. The National Library of Sweden has a government assignment to coordinate the implementation of national principles for Open Access to scientific publications.

"We know that nation-wide collaboration between stakeholders is needed in order to achieve the goal of Open Access."
Sven Stafström, Director General of the Swedish Research Council also welcomed the audience and noted that the seminar constitutes an important opportunity to discuss the significance of Open Access for Sweden. The Swedish Research Council has a certain interest in Open Access, having a government assignment to meet the goals set out in the Research Bill, but Sven Stafström also stressed that the issue is far-reaching.

"Making research more accessible to the general public underpins the work against post-truth and false news. Benefiting society at large is also part of Open Science".
Jean Claude Burgelman, Head of Unit, Directorate General for Research and Innovation of the European Commission held the opening address, stating that Open Science is already a reality today and something which will become increasingly apparent in the coming few years.

"Open Science can be compared to e-commerce, and its effect on economic transactions. Digitisation is changing the nature of science and how we value publishing and the merit system."
Jean Claude Burgelman asked the audience to ponder the speed of development, what it was like in 2010, what it is like today and what it will be like in five years time. Today new digital possibilities enable researchers to publish a peer-reviewed article within one month instead of it taking two years, as was previously the case.

"If you publish your research in a blog instead of in Nature, how will it be assessed in five years time?"
Jean Claude Burgelman emphasised that the development will bring increased value to the taxpayers and a more sound relation between science and society, but there are many issues to take into consideration and much work still to do. Measures have to be taken to address key issues about the system for financing scholarly publishing, how to measure and evaluate research quality and impact, how to realise Open Data and how to embed Open Science in society through Citizen Science and Open Education.

According to Jean Claude Burgelman, there is already a new ecosystem of services in place, which will change the current situation, and there is wide consensus and a strong will at the European level to realise the Open Science Policy. EU’s ”Open Science Policy Platform”, which Burgelman is operating within, is key for this work and they also consult with and collect stakeholder’s input and best practices, and advise the European Commission directly.

”The Open Science Policy Platform can catalyse ideas but we need to have an overarching view as the research community is divided and we need everyone on board.”
To be able to publish Open Research Data there have to be regulations, but also technical considerations which allow researchers to publish Open Data without them needing to be engineers. Jean Claude Burgelman referred to the FAIR data sharing principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-usable) as a prerequisite for researchers in the European Union to be able to collect, analyse and publish research data without leaving one’s desk.

”Everything is connected. Open Science constitutes a paradigm shift where nothing evolves in a linear fashion but evolves simultaneously. It is difficult, therefore, to create regulations making this transition self-generating and self-perpetuating in order for it continue evolving even at the dissolution of the European Union.”Beate Eellend, Open Access Coordinator at the National Library of Sweden, commenced her presentation with pointing out that the seminar ”Opportunities in Open Science,” which she has been the main organiser of, is part of the National Library of Sweden’s work as National Open Access Desk (NOAD) for OpenAire.
Beate Eellend emphasised the goals set out in the Swedish Research Bill concerning Open Access, and the fact that stakeholders must now cooperate in order to meet these. As the national coordinating office for Open Access in Sweden, the National Library will, within its government assignment, coordinate the transition to Open Access to scientific publications.

”In regards to publications, we have come a long way, even though we have not yet met all objectives. Concerning research data though, there remains a great deal to achieve, both nationally and internationally.”
Beate Eellend pointed out that transparency on the total cost of publication (TCP) is a very important factor in the shift to Open Access. It concerns having control of both subscription fees and author processing charges (APCs) paid in order to cover the cost of open access publishing. Other important aspects are to create incentives for Open Access and to meausure and evaluate compliance with policy recommendations and mandates by research funders and higher education institutions.

Sofie Björling, Director of the Department of Research Infrastructures, the Swedish Research Council, underlined that cooperation and coordination are important aspects of realising Open Science. The Swedish Research Council will receive the governments assignment to coordinate open research data in Sweden.

”Open Access to scholarly publications and research data are interconnected. The process of making research data accessible requires looking at the whole data management cycle and coordinating stakeholders. Higher education institutions play a key role in this cooperation.
Karin Röding, State Secretary to Helene Hellmark Knutsson, Sweden’s Minister for Higher Education and Research, summarised the goal set out in the Research Bill regarding Open Access to research output. She stated that scholarly publications, as well as research data, should be made openly accessible as soon as possible. To make this possible she emphasised cooperation, as previous speakers had done.

”It feels very satisfying to see representation from all concerned stakeholders, including research funders and higher education institutions.”
Karin Röding also noted that considerable efforts will be needed in order to realise such extensive changes as the transition to Open Access, but that it must be realised by the stakeholders. However, the Ministry of Education and Research have no plans to intervene in this process.

Birgit Schmidt, Scientific Manager of OpenAIRE, Goettingen State and University Library, reported on the work on Open Access to publications and research data respectively. Horizon 2020 is the EU framework programme for research and innovation, which stipulates that Open Access should be the norm and that open access to publications should be ensured, and publications should be deposited, as soon as possible. OpenAIRE supports researchers depositing their publications within the stipulated 6-12 month embargo period. OpenAire offers the possiblity to publish with Zenodo if there are no other possible repositories available to a researcher. ”It is reasonable to expect that researchers should plan how to reach the highest possible degree of Open Access. This could mean describing which route to take to accomplish this in the research proposal,” said Birgit Schmidt.

The advice Birgit Schmidt gave to researchers was: ”Give it a try. Negotiate with your chosen publisher. Press for Open Access. Do not bend. If they say no, opt out of publishing with them”.
To reach the goal of Open research data, the European Union is backing a standard for data management called FAIR, which stands for Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-usable. The objective is to secure the highest possible level of access to research data, which could mean using open, non-proprietary formats, for example CSV instead of Excel.

A very important aspect of FAIR is that one can choose NOT to publish data, e.g. on grounds of ethical concerns or commercial reasons. A central tenet of Open research data is not only to make research output visible, but also the method, such as workflow, tools, code etc.

 The FAIR-project has produced guidelines and a template for Data Management Plan (DMP), to assist researchers in planning on how to save and license research data in an accessible way.

”Give it a try, it is actualy quite simple. For support, please contact OpenAIRE’s helpdesk.”
A panel of researchers with experiences in Open Science discussed and shared best practices.

Sara Hägg, Associate Professor, Karolinska institutet: ”Open research data empowers my genetic research which would not have been possible had I not had access to these open structures. In part it concerns getting access to the big data needed, partly due to the fact that I can immediately use the results of other studies in my own research. A challenge in the field of Open Science is that many researchers work in ignorance of each other, even while working with the same data."
Dick Kasperowski, Senior Lecturer, The University of Gothenburg: "The possibilities are endless. There is, for example, enormous interest among citizens to contribute data to projects like "Galaxy Zoo.” It is a goldmine if we can make use of such Citizen Science. Data driven research is a development which will bring about a paradigm shift. The challenge facing us now is to develop protocols that will facilitate data access and sharing."
Björn Nystedt, Head of Facility, SciLifeLab: "It is of course extremely useful and efficient with Open Science, which many have pointed out today, but it is also great fun. The party has just begun. Now is the time to learn how to handle this big data we will get access to, since it will demand a completely new level of science. Ethical issues must also be addressed openly as Google will soon find out whether you have Alzheimers long before you learn about it yourself."
Lukas Smas, Senior Research Fellow, Nordregio: "The party has certainly only begun, so we do not yet now what is going to happen. Among many good things there will also be much that will be difficult with this transition. Many parties are involved in a project and many expectations will clash. In successful projects there should be a win-win situation, so it is important at the outset to take a clear stance so that all parties are aware of current practice and principles."
The concluding dialogue on some of the challenges Sweden faces with Open Science, was held by a panel comprising representatives from the scientific community, business and the public sector.

Jens Hjerling-Leffler, Associate Professor, Young Academy of Sweden: "The most important thing is not to discuss the positive aspects alone, since they are so incredibly obvious. There are for example financial issues which must be solved. We must not create a system whereby researchers pay to publish, which would then be exploited by scholarly journals."
Eva-Marie Rigné, Research and Development Officer, Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions: "How will knowledge created outside of universities and research organisations be included, for example research carried out at a clinic of a regional hospital? We have discussed this issue with the Swedish Research Council and how such research results can be included in the national publications database SwePub, but as yet have reached no solution."
Jan-Eric Sundgren, Senior Adviser, Association of Swedish Engineering Industries: "Since this is only the "beginning of the party," we must ensure that the business community is involved in these issues going forward. This is not the case today. If I were to go to my colleagues and ask: "What do you know about Open Science?" the answer would be: "What?". My experience from Volvo is that Open Science can bring great opportunities, but companies are very different from each other, and they exist primarily to create value for their shareholders, not to create knowledge per se. There has to be an opt-out clause, therefore, when companies participate in research projects. It is also of importance to regulate ownership of Open research data."
Annelies Wilder-Smith, Professor, Norrland’s University Hospital, Umeå University: "Open Science is fundamental in the work on the Zika virus, and there is no way around this development. However, we must be aware of the risks, one of which is data violation and its use in unethical ways."
This text is written by Dag Kättström, Freelance Journalist and published under a CC-By license.

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27 Jul 2021

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