Open Science for the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda

The background: The first United Nations Open Science Conference was organized by the UN Dag Hammarskjöld Library in collaboration with the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) in November 19, 2019 in the UN Headquarters in New York. The theme of the conference, “Towards Global Open Science: Core Enabler of the UN 2030 Agenda”,  aimed into elevating the discussion about open science and open research to the global level and to examine the role of open science in advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

The conference brought together representatives of open science initiatives from around the world (OpenAIREHindawiLA Referencia, ScieloAfricanLII and others), early career researchers, library directors and policymakers.

thg unBehind the scenes: On this occasion, Thanos Giannakopoulos, the Chief of the UN Dag Hammarskjöld Library, invited speakers of the Conference to a closed roundtable discussion which took place in the afternoon of 18 November 2019. The informal discussion with the theme “Towards a Global Science Commons” was moderated by Professor Jean-Claude Guédon, and it aimed on to the sharing of different views and perspectives from the regions of the representatives, on “connecting” infrastructures and processes, on identifying opportunities for global collaboration, as well as on current progress in the field of Open Science (OS) and its central role to the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda. 

Europe was represented by Jean Claude Burgelman, the EC open access envoy (policy), Natalia Manola from OpenAIRE (infrastructure) and Wolfram Horstmann from LIBER (community).

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The outcome: The participants reached a consensus on the following views:

    • I. Open Science is an accelerator of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
    • II. Publicly funded science should be Open Science.
    • III. We are not on track to achieve the SDGs. We must work collaboratively toward the goals of humanity laid out in the SDGs.
    • IV. The importance of Open Access (OA) is key takeaway from the 2019 Global Sustainable Development Report.
    • V. Open Science must be inclusive. Important relevant research is not the same as popular highlycited research.
    • VI. Incentives for research should be aligned with openness in service of the SDGs and for the good of humanity.
    • VII. Open Science requires the opening of barriers to a set of inter-related scientific research processes. Libraries are natural information/data brokers and curators in the Open Science suite of processes, and their role is essential.

Why it matters: The group set out the principles towards a Roadmap to a Science Commons which should be furhter taken up by all initiatives around the world.

  • 1. There cannot be a Science Commons without Open Science. A Science Commons can be viewed as the framework organized around principles, universal values and the architecture of open research.
    • The principles should apply to all scientists who receive public research funding wherever they are located. Outputs of the global, publicly funded research should be:
      • universally available (no lock-in and not sold as a premium service)
      • as open as possible, as closed as needed
      • as distributed as possible, as centralized as needed
      • FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable).
    • Open Science must be guided by universal values:
      • inclusiveness and respect for diversity
      • equitable practice reciprocity and complementarity
      • universally shared benefits, and
      • opportunities for scientific education and social participation.
    • To achieve a Science Commons we should rethink the structural relationships among funders, academia and institutions. Funders tend to secure a greater degree of freedom in their interventions; they have the funds, they evaluate everybody and themselves are not rated.
  • 2. A Science Commons is the connective tissue interlinking platforms, policies, technologies and social infrastructures, all critical layers of Open Science, each of which is necessary but none of which is sufficient on its own. Everyone has a role to play in the Open Science ecosystem: the goal is to lift the barriers to scientific research, and to optimize research proceses.
  • 3. A Science Commons must adopt an evidence-based approach to secure progress in Open Science, in which evaluation, monitoring and metrics play distinct but different roles requiring both quantitative and qualitative data/information.
  • 4. A Science Commons can start with the provision of Science for and about the SDGs. At a minimum, this Science Commons should include the global, open availability and accessibility of: o scientific publications
    • data produced by the global, public science system and related metadata
    • code used for making sense of the data o workflows that describe research steps and data transformations, and
    • research software, algorithms, and tools for reuse.
  • 5. Certain risks to a Science Commons must be identified, such as some forms of OA publishing which go against the basic values of equity, and may reinforce cognitive injustice, epistemic dominance, and systemic inequalities (difference of access, exposition to specific language preferences).

More info

About 100 people attended the Conference in person and over 3,800 people watched it online via webcast.

On the Conference website you will find the presentations, the video message, and a collection of photos.

DAG United Nations Headquarters

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