DAY 2 (27 October 2021) - Stakeholders’ Workshop
Breakout session 3: ERA for Open Science
The research and innovation process is also undergoing its digital transition, fuelled by an immense growth in scientific data and other forms of digital research knowledge (e.g. publications, software, workflows). To allow seamless exchange and reuse of such digital knowledge in a research process that is open, efficient, productive and trusted, in short the Open Science process, we must develop and implement the supporting policies, practices and infrastructures.
Among the actions foreseen in the Communication on a renewed European Research Area (ERA) in relation to the implementation of the Open Science agenda, two important ones concern the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) and the reform of the system for assessing researchers and research.
EOSC is an enabling infrastructure for the digital transformation of European science. According to the EOSC vision and objectives agreed with the EOSC governance and detailed in the new EOSC co-programmed partnership, EOSC will enable access to digital research outputs and services according to the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) and their interconnection in a ‘Web of FAIR data and services’, where each digital object has a designated identity. EOSC will enable all European researchers to have access to tools and services to store, share and use research data that are as open and FAIR as possible, and will also support the relevant training and curricula to ensure availability of necessary skills.
The EOSC initiative is already triggering coordination of research data policies at the national and EU levels. For this process to be sustainable we need to ensure that EOSC maintains a governance model that engages all relevant stakeholders and identifies major common needs and requirements timely. It will also be important to consider how the wider ERA Policy Agenda and complementary Actions can be leveraged to best support the culture of research data management and sharing, as well as EOSC’s role in the new policy framework.
In addition, a change of research culture towards openness is a precondition for the successful implementation of an “ERA for open science”. This will require coordinated reforms at institutional, national and international levels aiming at incentivising and rewarding open science practices. The research assessment system must reward a wider range of behaviours and outputs, based on their intrinsic merit, rather than focus on the number of publications and where these are published, and to promote a more responsible use of quantitative indicators, combined with qualitative assessment. New indicators for research quality and impact must be developed to complement more conventional indicators taking into consideration open collaboration, knowledge and data sharing, valorisation of different outputs, inter-sectoral collaboration and, where relevant, societal engagement. As a follow up to the ERA action on research assessment, the Commission launched in Spring 2021 a wide consultation of stakeholders on the reform of the assessment system. The proposed approach consists in reaching an agreement by 2022, between individual research funding organisations, research performing organisations and national assessment agencies, as well as by their associations, all willing and committed to reform the current research assessment system. Such an agreement would be bringing together committed stakeholders along commonly agreed objectives, principles and actions, and engaging signatories to translate commitments into effective changes. The EOSC contributes in providing the underpinning infrastructure and monitoring mechanism for such a reformed system.
LEADING QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
The coordinated action of research performers, funders, and research infrastructures at the regional, Member State, and EU levels is essential for the deployment of open science in the European Union. The EOSC is part of the data opening and sharing process and one of the main infrastructures for the future web of FAIR data and services for science. However, unless open collaboration, knowledge sharing and engagement with society are incentivised and rewarded, the transition to open science and to a better performing R&I system will not be effective.
- What measures should national or regional authorities take to support research assessment reforms, beyond those that need to be taken by research performing organisations and funders?
- Do you agree that a stakeholder-owned initiative is the right approach, or would you favour a top-down approach? Do you see any additional actions that should be taken, beyond those described above?
Recruitment, evaluation and promotion criteria should incentivise and reward researchers to manage and share their data and other research outputs, activities and processes, as this is vital for advancing the good practices in research output management that underpin the EOSC. Additionally, open science cannot be implemented without adequate institutional capacity and education and training for researchers and university staff, including on responsible and FAIR management of data and other digital research outputs, and on research integrity, pursuing reproducible results and reaching out to society.
- What should be the role of EOSC stakeholders and EOSC federated infrastructures in helping to set up and implement incentives and rewards mechanisms for sharing and re-using research data, codes and workflows?
- In what way can the new ERA Policy Agenda and the EOSC contribute to institutional capacity-building and skills development in open science?
RESULTS OF DISCUSSION
During the discussion, the moderators and their rapporteurs will discuss and capture relevant policy recommendations with the participants. The recommendations formulated by the rapporteur of the break-out session will be consolidated and presented as one of the conference outcomes.