Open science

What is Open science? 

Academia is in transition towards a more transparent way of doing and sharing research and education. Open Science encompasses the entire research process: planning, data collection, analysis, publication and evaluation. Open Education involves making educational materials openly available for others.

The Goals of Open Science

Open Science practices increase transparency throughout the research process. This transparency about the data, rationale for analyses and the results themselves, for instance through sharing data, code, logbooks and notes) allows other researchers to properly review the research process and claims, and makes it possible to check the reproducibility and integrity of the results. This possibility improves the quality of research.

Furthermore, a more open way of working in research and education makes scholarly knowledge more readily available for other (perhaps less privileged) researchers, teachers, students and society, which may facilitate diversity and inclusion in research. Openly available datasets, analysis code and publications create new possibilities for interaction and collaboration with these academic colleagues and societal partners, which could improve the societal impact of the research.

Requirements for Open Science

The road towards Open Science is characterised by changes in many practices and activities throughout the workflow of researchers and teachers. This requires a cultural shift, which costs time and effort. The changes in research culture are partly organic and partly driven by technology, funder policies, publisher policies, codes of conduct, and last but not least, driven by needs many researchers themselves recognize. An academic environment that encourages the transition to Open Science should meet several requirements (see Figure 1):

  1. Infrastructure. It should be possible for researchers and teachers to make their research and educational materials open. This requires infrastructure, both technical and organisational.
  2. Skills & Knowledge. Researchers and teachers should have the opportunity to learn about the necessary skills and knowledge they need for engaging in Open Science. This requires courses, training and workshops on relevant topics.
  3. Community. To change the academic culture, it is important to create and facilitate a lively community of researchers and teachers, where they can learn from each other’s experiences and share their best practices for Open Science.
  4. Policy. The research institution should clearly signal their commitment to Open Science by incorporating its principles and practices in policy.
  5. Recognition & Rewards. The modernization of the system of recognition and rewards is inextricably linked to Open Science. The new VSNU evaluation protocol (SEP 2021-2027) incorporates Open Science as one of the four pillars for evaluating Dutch research groups and institutes.