Open Science: The Science of the XXI Century

Today we live in a hyper competitive globalized world, and so is Academia. Researchers work under a high level of pressure and sometimes are more worried about achieving immediate results which let them survive, rather than collaborating, putting information in common with other groups and achieving higher quality results in a not so short term. Here, it comes up the idea of Open Science.

The Seminar starts with a brief introduction of the progress towards an Open Science model happening in the last few years in the Netherlands, a leading country in this topic. Its main idea can be summarized in the necessity of changing the evaluation criteria of the research groups. This idea is reflected in DORA declaration, an agreement developed in 2012. The idea is basically that quantitative metrics are often not representative of the quality of a work. In order to change this both RPO and RFO should be involved, collaborations among different groups is crucial, and entrepeneurs should be rewarded.

In the following panel several statistics about the metrics for evaluating researchers are presented by the European Universities Association (EUA). The conclusion of this study is that the Journal Impact Factor (JIF) is clearly most used metric, in a 75% of the research careers. The encouraging news is that the topic of acknowledging Open Science Practices is becoming more and more popular in the last five years.

In the last panel it is discussed about the current position of both Iberian countries regarding to the Open Science topic. Both of the coincide in that there is a lot of work to be done but the first actions have already been taken. In Portugal they came with the idea of creating an open knowledge platform, at which researchers published their works so that everyone interested could access to it. At that time it was not too successful but it is important to have introduced the idea. Another important aspect discussed is the lack of clear alternative indicators that can give us a reasonable idea of the quality of a publication or a research work with just a quick view. The importance of collaboration should also be remarked, there is a countless number of occasions in which resources are wasted just because of not sharing information. Finally but not least important, is the fact that the autonomous governance of the difference research institutions adds an extra difficulty in the application of Open Science policies. Common rules and supervising organizations are needed, so that everyone is under the same umbrella.

To conclude I would like to say that in these panels several very interesting topics have come up. Moreover, most of them have not been dedicated the attention they deserve. From my point of view the cooperation among different institutions is decisive for science progress and resources optimization. Also, it is strongly needed that researchers stop thinking about «shallow» aspects of science such us publishing in one journal or another, or trying to get their sign in a publication of a work in which they have not really participated at all, and start worrying about what the society really needs and how can we give it to them. However, this is not that simple as I have already mentioned in the introduction, we live in a very competitive world and at the end of the day money is needed for subsisting. For that reason, an institutional change is needed, the first movement to be done is a change of the metrics, that are obsolete, trying to assess the quality rather than the quantity, looking in the content deeply instead of in the appearances and this is only possible if research performance organizations and research funding organizations work together.


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