What is Open Science
¶ 1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 1 The concepts of public domain, Open and Free licences and Creative Commons licences seen in previous Chapter share the philosophical postulate of openness, for which benefits to society are maximised and equally distributed when knowledge can freely circulate. Such a postulate applies in Science as well, where enabling open access to materials and results of scientific studies is of paramount importance not only for disseminating scientific studies to the civil society, but also for improving the reliability of scientific discoveries: open access to the scientific resources enables replication and reproducibility of the studies.
¶ 2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 In addition, the advent of the Internet and digital technologies increases and extends the openness of Science in new ways. In fact, scientists nowadays can easily exchange data, comment on studies, share their own publications using via the Internet, and making use of digital tools and platforms.
¶ 3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 Such new paradigm is called Open Science: its development has been reinforced by recent calls for the global governance of science from European Institutions which considered the transition towards Open Science a fundamental step to foster knowledge circulation as a driver for faster and wider innovation .
¶ 4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 The Open Science movement is at the beginning of its life, and no official definitions are still widely accepted. The scientific communities, together with the Institutions, have started a dialogue to build a common infrastructure that will allow scientists, companies and citizens to access a shared pool of scientific resources: it is called the Open Science Cloud. However, The development of the Open Science Cloud, which will be the most relevant application of the Open Science paradigm, will take still some years. In the meanwhile it will be important to be prepared on its fundamental concepts, which are well established. In particular, Open Access and Open Data are two important pillars.
The two pillars of Open Science: Open Access and Open Data
¶ 6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 According to Peter Suber, Open Access (OA) refers to online research outputs that are free of all restrictions on access (e.g. access tolls) and free of many restrictions on use (e.g. certain copyright and license restrictions) (Suber, Peter. “Open Access Overview”, 2011).
¶ 7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 The European funding program Horizon 2020 (most relevant program for research in Europe) recently provided Guidelines on Open Access to Scientific Publications and Research Data that require that “each beneficiary must ensure open access to all peer-reviewed scientific publications relating to its results”. This OA mandate is implemented in two steps, which may be not simultaneous: i) depositing publications in repositories, ii) providing Open Access to them.
¶ 8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 Regarding the first step, researchers can refer to the Open Access Infrastructure for Research in Europe (OpenAIRE) to find a suitable repository (allowed archives are institutional, subject-based or centralised repositories); repositories that claim rights over deposited publications and/or preclude access are not valid archiving options. Other useful listings of repositories are the Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR), and the Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR). A well known OA repository, for example, is ZENODO .
¶ 9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 The second step can be done through opening up the full-text of the item in the chosen repository (‘Green’ Open Access), or publishing the research work in Open Access journals (‘Gold’ Open Access). So-called ‘hybrid’ journals are also a valid option (i.e. journals which, although they use a revenue model based on subscription, also offer the possibility to provide Open Access for individual articles, provided an article processing fee is paid).
¶ 10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 0 Where Green Open Access (via a repository), is chosen, beneficiaries must ensure Open Access to the article within at most 6 months in science, technology, engineering and medicine (STEM), and 12 months for articles in humanities and social sciences (HaSS).
¶ 11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 0 The policies of the publishers and of single journals with respect to self-archiving (depositing of articles in repositories), including required embargo periods, are available in the Sherpa RoMEO databases.
¶ 13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 Open data is data that can be freely accessed, used, modified and shared by anyone for any purpose – subject only, at most, to requirements to provide attribution and/or share-alike.
¶ 14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0 Compared to proprietary frameworks, open data are characterised – from both a legal and a technical point of view – by lower restrictions applied to their circulation and reuse. This feature is supposed to ultimately foster collaboration, creativity and innovation.
- ¶ 16 Leave a comment on paragraph 16 0
- legally open: that is, available under an open (data) license that permits anyone freely to access, reuse and redistribute;
- technically open: that is, that the data be available for no more than the cost of reproduction and in machine-readable and bulk form.
- ¶ 18 Leave a comment on paragraph 18 0
- Availability and Access: the data must be available as a whole and at no more than a reasonable reproduction cost, preferably by downloading over the internet. The data must also be available in a convenient and modifiable form.
- Re-use and Redistribution: the data must be provided under terms that permit re-use and redistribution including the intermixing with other datasets.
- Universal Participation: everyone must be able to use, re-use and redistribute – there should be no discrimination against fields of endeavour or against persons or groups. For example, ‘non-commercial’ restrictions that would prevent ‘commercial’ use, or restrictions of use for certain purposes (e.g. only in education), are not allowed.
¶ 19 Leave a comment on paragraph 19 0 A key concept for understanding what is open data is “interoperability”. Interoperability denotes the ability of diverse systems and organizations to work together (inter-operate). In this case, it is the ability to interoperate – or intermix – different datasets. Interoperability is important because it allows for different components to work together. This ability to componentise and to ‘plug together’ components is essential to building large, complex systems. Without interoperability this becomes near impossible — as evidenced in the most famous myth of the Tower of Babel where the (in)ability to communicate (to interoperate) resulted in the complete breakdown of the tower-building effort.
¶ 20 Leave a comment on paragraph 20 0 We face a similar situation with regard to data. The core of a “commons” of data (or code) is that one piece of “open” material contained therein can be freely intermixed with other “open” material. This interoperability is absolutely key to realizing the main practical benefits of “openness”: the dramatically enhanced ability to combine different datasets together and thereby to develop more and better products and services (these benefits are discussed in more detail in the section on ‘why’ open data).
¶ 22 Leave a comment on paragraph 22 0 Providing a clear definition of openness ensures that when you get two open datasets from two different sources, you will be able to combine them together, and it ensures that we avoid our own ‘tower of babel’: lots of datasets but little or no ability to combine them together into the larger systems where the real value lies.
¶ 23 Leave a comment on paragraph 23 0 Several Public Institutions and organizations all around the world develop open data portals. Open Data portals facilitate access to and re-use of public sector information. These are web-based interfaces designed to make it easier to find re-usable information. Like library catalogues, they contain metadata records of datasets published for re-use, i.e. mostly relating to information in the form of raw, numerical data and not to textual documents. In combination with specific search functionalities, they facilitate finding datasets of interest. Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are also often available, offering direct and automated access to data for software applications.
¶ 24 Leave a comment on paragraph 24 0 Open Data portals are an important element of most Open Data initiatives. While supporting the policy by offering easy access to data published, they can also work as a catalyst triggering the publication of more and better quality data. For administrations obliged or willing to disseminate their data, they offer the advantage of providing public access without the need to reply to individual requests for access to data. Open Data portals are mainly used by public administrations at European, national and local level, as they publish a large variety of data. But more and more companies are opening up some of their data for developers to re-use.
- ¶ 26 Leave a comment on paragraph 26 0
¶ 27 Leave a comment on paragraph 27 0 At all administrative levels, the public sector is one of the major producers and holders of Open Data, which ranges from maps to companies registers for example. During the last years, the amount and variety of open data released by public administrations across the world has been tangibly growing: the Open Data Census by the Open Knowledge Foundation gives an overview of the high amount of publicly available data.
¶ 28 Leave a comment on paragraph 28 0 Moreover, a series of indicators have been selected to measure Open Data maturity across Europe. These indicators cover the level of development of national policies promoting Open Data, an assessment of the features made available on national data portals as well as the expected impact of Open Data.
¶ 29 Leave a comment on paragraph 29 0 Please check your understanding on Open Science, Open Access and Open Data with the following multiple choice questions: notice that only one answer is correct. You find the correct answers in the following page.
- ¶ 31 Leave a comment on paragraph 31 0
- It’s a co-working office in the university, where citizens can meet scientists
- It’s a new scientific method, mainly based on the usage of open source software
- It’s a service for scientists to use a cloud storage, where they can save their data
- It’s a paradigm that put together the natural Openness of Science with digital technologies
- ¶ 33 Leave a comment on paragraph 33 0
- Online research outputs free of restrictions of access and use
- A badge that guarantees access to the digital services of all European universities
- Online manifesto to guarantee free access to the lectures of the universities
- Online free service to access books of university libraries
- ¶ 35 Leave a comment on paragraph 35 0
- Online manifesto to guarantee free access to the data of researchers
- Data that can be freely accessed, used, modified and shared by anyone for any purpose
- Data that is present on Wikipedia and verified by a community of researchers
- Research data published after verification of a community of researchers
- ¶ 37 Leave a comment on paragraph 37 0
- Availability on Wikipedia; Backup availability; Non proprietary format;
- Availability and Access; Re-use and Redistribution; Universal Participation
- Backup availability; Non proprietary format; Availability and Access
- Non proprietary format; Standard encoding; Universal participation