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Afraid of Scooping - Case Study on Researcher Strategies Against Fear of Scooping in the Context of Open Science

Laine, Heidi

The risk of scooping is often used as a counter argument for open science, especially open data. In this case study I have examined openness strategies, practices and attitudes in two open collaboration research projects created by Finnish researchers, in order to understand what made them resistant to the fear of scooping. The radically open approach of the projects includes open-by-default funding proposals, co-authorship and community membership. Primary sources used are interviews of the projects founding members. The analysis indicates that openness requires trust in close peers, but not necessarily in research community or society at large. Focusing on intrinsic goals, such as new knowledge and bringing about ethical reform, instead of publications, supports openness. Understanding fundaments of science, such as philosophy and science and research ethics can also have a beneficial effect. Whether there are aspects in open sharing that makes it seem riskier from the point of view of certain demographical groups, such as women, could be worth more studying.

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