In 2001, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) proclaimed November 10 as World Science Day for Peace and Development (WSDPD), with the following objectives in mind:
● Strengthen public awareness on the role of science for peaceful and sustainable societies;
● Promote national and international solidarity for shared science between countries;
● Renew national and international commitment for the use of science for the benefit of societies;
● Draw attention to the challenges faced by science and raising support for the scientific endeavor.
The aim of WSDPD is to raise the general public’s awareness and appreciation that the well-being of society is directly linked to scientific developments and discoveries. Society needs not only to be informed about the various issues science is facing today but also to take a more active role in related discussions and decision-making processes since its future and sustainability depends on it. Scientific research results need to be open, easily accessible, readily available, and beneficial to all, while the scientific process needs to become more inclusive.
2019 Theme — Open science, leaving no one behind
Open science is the growing global movement to make scientific research and data accessible to all. It also has the potential to significantly increase scientific collaboration and discovery. It is regarded as one of the major tools for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in developing countries, particularly in Africa and Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
According to the United Nations, open science can become an enabler of several SDGs and the driving force behind scientific contributions to humanity, the democratization of the research cycle, and an impetus for regional development (https://bit.ly/2JqUkN3).
WSDPD is observed around the world with many activities and programs. They include panel and other discussions on the importance of science and technology, exhibitions, seminars, and workshops explaining the importance of science and its link to society.
Improved relationships between science and society need to be based on common goals, high ethical standards, open and effective communication, verifiable achievements, transparency, and a measurable return on investment (https://bit.ly/367lEK2). Open Access, Citizen Science, Science Open Days, and Pop Science are just some examples of open science in action. Social media campaigns include a hashtag #ScienceDay.
As one LIBER study concluded —Open science and open research provide the potential for discoveries and solutions to global problems (https://bit.ly/2Wg68Hb).
Open science movement
UNESCO defines open science as the movement to make scientific research and data accessible to all. It includes practices such as publishing open scientific research, promoting open access, and making it easier to publish and communicate scientific knowledge and information. It also includes citizen science, the use of open-source software and standards, and crowdfunding of research projects.
The European Commission defines open science as a new approach to the scientific process based on cooperative work and new ways of diffusing knowledge by using digital technologies and new collaborative tools. The OECD defines open science as a way to make the primary outputs of publicly funded research results — publications and research data — publicly accessible in a digital format with no or minimal restriction.
Some other definitions (e.g. Open Science and Research Initiative, 2014) extend open science to the principles of openness to the entire research cycle — hypothesis, data collection, processing, sorting data and results, long-term preservation, publication, and distribution, reuse. In other words, changing the way science and research are done. Open science is also regarded as an umbrella term that includes open access to publications, open research data, open-source software, open collaboration, open peer review, open notebooks, open educational resources, open monographs, citizen science, and research crowdfunding. Library and information services mainly focus on open research data and open access to scientific publications.
One of the main arguments for open science is sociological — scientific knowledge is a product of social collaboration and its ownership belongs to the community. From an economic point of view, scientific outputs generated by public research are a public good that everyone should be able to use at no cost (www.fosteropenscience.eu). There are multiple approaches to the concept of open science. Fecher and Friesike (Open science, 2013) have proposed five open science schools of thought. They are:
● Infrastructure school (research depends on the available tools and applications);
● Public school (science needs to be accessible to the public);
● Democratic school (the access to knowledge is unequally distributed);
● Pragmatic school (knowledge creation could be more efficient if scientists cooperate).
According to UNESCO, the major advantages of open science include:
● Greater availability and accessibility of publicly funded scientific research outputs;
● Possibility for rigorous peer-review processes;
● Greater reproducibility and transparency of scientific works;
● Greater impact of scientific research.
The role of libraries and repositories
Libraries, institutional repositories, data centers, and various information systems are already deeply involved with supporting and promoting open science. “Libraries have adapted their role and are now active in the preservation, curation, publication, and dissemination of digital scientific materials, in the form of publications, data, and other research-related content. Libraries and repositories constitute the physical infrastructure that allows scientists to share use and reuse the outcome of their work, and they have been essential in the creation of the open science movement”(Making Open Science a Reality, OECD, 2015).
The European Commission Recommendation of 25.04.2018 on access to and preservation of scientific information (https://bit.ly/2Ne8yC6) indicates that libraries play an important role in fostering open science and in developing national open science agendas. It includes the following areas which need to be addressed:
● Open access to scientific publications;
● Management of research data, including open access;
● Preservation and re-use of scientific information;
● Infrastructures for open science;
● Skills and competences;
● Incentives and rewards.
The only additional area worth mentioning that libraries and repositories need to address is advocating and raising awareness — contributing to the public understanding of the importance of open science and its overall and long-term benefits to society.
DISCLAIMER: Any views or opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of his employer.