Recommendation on access to and preservation of Scientific Information
The European Commission has released a new set of recommendations to the Member States that offer guidance and propose the best way to implement and support open science practices. The new recommendations include sections on incentives, rewards and require action plans from member states with concrete and measurable objectives. They are to replace the recommendations of 2012 which set out clear guidelines as to how publically funded work should be made openly and freely available. This was followed by a robust mandate regarding the EC H2020 open access policy requirements, in which, as well as its many other activities in Open Science, OpenAIRE has played a strong and informed part, especially in its outreach activity. The social infrastructure that comprises National Open Access Desks (NOADs) in each Member State (and beyond) ensures an effective support mechanism for the mandate and implementation of the recommendations.
OpenAIRE welcomes these new sets of recommendations, and the commitment to open science that the EC wishes to promote among Member States. OpenAIRE has embraced these changes already by being active in these areas in the new phase of its project funding, OpenAIRE Advance.
The new recommendations take into account the changing contexts, namely the concept of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), the Digital Single Market, as well as other components of an open science landscape. OpenAIRE is already active in the early stages of EOSC via a number of concerted actions such as providing a federated suite of core services which enable greater convergence with EOSC, integrating research infrastructures into the OpenAIRE environment and outreach to the global scientific community.
Also welcomed are the new set of measures by the EC to increase the free-flow of data, thereby recognising its value as a key enabler of innovation and growth in Europe and indeed beyond. The call to adopt these further principles for the greater sharing of research outputs prepares the groundwork for the next funding phase after H2020 and the implementation of the European Open Science Cloud.
These recommendations can reach their full potential in a joined-up infrastructure environment via the following:
- Interoperability of infrastructures: Every national infrastructure effort for open science takes account of and is interoperable with components of EOSC. This development can help change the landscape in terms of interdisciplinary work and convergence of resources and pushing for institutional uptake of existing infrastructure services.
- Multi-stakeholder dialogue: The role that member states must play at national level to enable EOSC at a technological level is key. The OpenAIRE NOADs can be leveraged to activate national roadmaps at the same time and build on natural synergies with the dedicated national points of reference for access and preservation.
- Supporting FAIR data uptake: Supporting the work with RDA and embedding FAIR practices into workflows and repository standards.
- Developing scholarly commons: The adoption of next-generation repository functionalities and technologies will increase the value of the resources contained in the repositories, allowing the development of value-added services on top of the collective contents in repositories. In addition, new alternative models of publishing, and peer review should be supported.
- Skilling and training potential: Curricula are to be developed to develop data management know-how and working with other bodies to realise the needs in this area, in particular by working with LIBER and the FOSTER project.
- Support for incentives and rewards: OpenAIRE can enrich research and career evaluation systems by providing new generation indicators and metrics that can inform assessment on openness including the broader social impact of research at the individual researcher level. OpenAIRE also supports the linking of publishing software and data to the scholarly record as part of the wider academic recognition.
- More transparency: An effort to publish information about agreements with publishers, in particular, the so-called ‘big deals’ (bundles of print and electronic journal subscriptions offered at discounted prices) and the related offsetting deals aimed at obtaining discounted open access publishing fees for consortia. An effort to open up business information within contracts and library deals:
Joined up approaches - an essential way forward
OpenAIRE is willing and well-placed via its network of NOADs to support this renewed set of recommendations. However, it is important that the community supports these recommendations via a synchronised set of open science policies within and between Member States, and their corresponding research communities and infrastructures. OpenAIRE can help to fulfil its potential in supporting coordinated actions across policymakers, institutions, funders, research recommendations provided a joined-up approach to maximise the rewards and impacts of science.
A concerted effort should be made to strengthen a linked open science technological and legislative environment that covers all research outputs from all phases of the research life-cycle (data, publications, software, methods, protocols etc) and to support a cultural change among researchers as well as institutional change in research practice within academic institutions and funders towards open science.