Presentation Open Access

01 Ignat Open Science and Seachange Research 2_1

Tiberius Ignat

2019-11 Script Open Science Seachange

What do we mean when we talk about Open Science. I have one short answer to that:


Open Science means a seachange in research! I will support my answer with 6 perspectives and a set of conclusions. I try to leave 5 minutes for questions. Please feel invited!


Here is the agenda of my presentation.

We will cover the context, definitions, examples of OS across sectors, the matter of sustainability, some fresh perspectives (The Gestalt and The Hazards) and we will look into the deep roots of the Open Science transformation.

First to start: the context and the definitions


Meet Prof. Steve Mann from Toronto. He coining the term Open Science, back in 1998.

In one of his articles about Surveillance, Sousveillance, and Metaveillance, Prof. Mann says:

[CLICK] “Science is a human endeavour in which we attempt to go wherever the truth may lead us, in pursuit of new discoveries“. The term OpenScience was coined by him to emphasize this need for truth and open disclosure … „and if surveillance cannot deliver on that promise, we need to look at other veillances!“ – he said and came up with the idea of Open Science.

Among others, Steve Mann has been recognized as “the father of wearable computing” and “the father of wearable augmented reality.



Are you familiar with the Reproducibility Crisis?

Nature published a study in 2016 showing that more than 70% of researchers have tried and failed to reproduce another scientist's experiments, and more than half have failed to reproduce their own experiments. These are the figures of surveying over 1,500 researchers.



What is the cause of this crisis?

More than 60% of respondents said that the pressure to publish and the selective reporting are the most important factors.

If we look closer, we see that these 2 reasons are further confirmed by [CLICK] 2 other reasons which are closely related to them: row data being unavailable and the insufficient peer review.

I share the opinion of some academics that all these factors are intensified by common forces: competition for grants and positions, and a growing burden of bureaucracy for researchers.

For many, this was the main reason to open science. It is very IMPORTANT to have in mind this CONTEXT!



Open Science Definition? it seems we can never run out of many! Here is just a hand of them which I could grab in minute of desk research.

No matter we speak about The European Open Science Monitor, FOSTER Taxonomy, OSPP ambitions, Centre for Open Science wheel or Open Science Mushroom, everybody claims a definition.

But it shouldn't bother us! Since ”Science” doesn’t have a universal definition, why should we try to have one for Open Science?

So, let’s celebrate the diversity! [CLICK]

I favour a definition, but that doesn’t mean I exclude the others. 




Let‘s examine now how public research is doing in this landscape.


How are we doing in Europe?




Here is Europe‘s top-down approach.

In 2014, The European Commission ordered public consultations for reforming science.

Right in the introduction of their background document the Commission stated:

“The impact of these trends* (digital technologies, globalisation of research, societal demands for science) is already visible and it addresses some of the most burning issues of science, such as the slowness of the publication process, the increasing criticism of the existing peer review system, and the challenge of reproducing research results due to the lack of available data“

These issues are still burning today.



Open Science long existed in Europe, before 2014.

However, I find relevant to bring up to you the chronology of the Open Science Policy Platform (OSPP from now on), a high-level expert group that informs EC, European Council and national organisations.

It started in 2014 with a public consultation

In 2015: The Competitiveness Council welcomed the development of an Open Science Agenda

2016, the launch of Open Science Policy Platform (OSPP) by Commissioner Moedas and chaired by Dr. Eva Mendez from Madrid.

In 2018: OSPP releases their set of guidelines - Integrated Advice of the OSPP - and it receives a new mandate



And here it comes one of my favourite definition of Open Science:


Open Science is scholarly research that is collaborative, transparent and reproducible and whose outputs are publicly available.

[CLICK] …. and I stop here. I don‘t like the rest which suggest that EU is embarking on the Open Science journey to win a competition against the rest of the world.



What OSPP did? They released in 2018 a set of recommendations for what they identified as ”The 8 ambitions for Open Science”.

They put these ambitions in the context of some stakeholders, displayed here on the bottom.



Let me zoom-in:

these are the 8 ambitions that European Commission set for a cultural and structural change to Open Science.

Each of these ambitions could also be understood as a Strategic Direction for delivering Open Science.

The European Commission is now sending a clear message to all research communities.

[CLICK] Press the Open button! Join us in this journey! …and discover a new world of research.




But Europe is moving also bottom-up in its transformation to Open Science.

Here is the example of UK’s first fully Open Access Press: UCL Press.

Through their press, they reached over 2.5 million book and journal downloads since launch in June 2015

Compare this figure with the conventional sales of monographs which reach 300 copies.– for the most successful titles!




I can continue the European examples of Open Science with TU Delft Data Stewards Champions, Leiden‘s GoFAIR Initiative or the Hungarian EISZ Consortium that negotiated contracts with publishers which now cover over 80% of their needs!

Open Knowledge Maps re-designs the knowledge discovery service. DOAJ is well known to you. The UK Reproducibility Network tackles the reproducibility crisis.




Let’s see now how our colleagues are doing over the Atlantic.

One big difference is that USA doesn’t have a federal top-down approach. 




Therefore, on US front I will start with the Center for Open Science which I appreciate very much. Their definition of Open Science goes straightforward: Show your work! Share your work! Advance Science!

Their approach is strongly related to the Reproducibility Crises and they believe that the Open Science vision is achievable because

•openness, integrity, and reproducibility are shared values,

•the technological capacity is available,

•and sustainable business models that promote openness exist already.

[CLICK] The Open Science Framework is a collection of tools that they develop to enable Open Science through all scientific phases, which they represent in this wheel.




The same as Europe, USA is working on multiple fronts of Open Science, almost all of them bottom-up, independent of the federal bodies.

Here is just a small number of other Open Science initiatives in USA:

1.SciStarter and Arizona State University are accelerating Citizen Science

2.University of California is taking a leading position and inspires the other US universities how to negotiate with publishers

3.University of Harvard through their Office for Scholarly Communication is inspiring the world how to reform the contracts that authors sign with publishers.




Open Science at The Neuro (the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital) deserves a separate attention!

In 1934, Dr. Wilder Penfield had the unique vision to advance medicine through patient-centred science. Today, The Neuro continues to lead scientific innovation as the first academic institute to develop and adopt Open Science.

I only have a few minutes to talk with you today, but if you want to see how an entire academic institution and a hospital is acting completely on an Open Science landscape, please go and visit that link, turn the notifications off on your computer, have something to drink for 2 hours and study!




But is Open Science an apanage for public institutions? Definitely NO. Let’s an example!




Open Science is for all: public, private, non-for profit or for-profit research!

Structural Genomics Consortium is a Public-Private Partnership that was created as a collaboration between academia, public funders and industry - nine big pharma companies!

They use Open Science methods to enable consistent data and accelerate reliable discoveries!

Why these institutions started this collaboration? Because all the results, all the tools and molecules developed by SGC are made available for free to anyone willing to work on them. For academics this means new, robust research. Pharma companies benefit because they get the chance to take these new molecules and turn them into successful drugs. Clinicians and patients are motivated by the collaboration as it brings hope for new medicines. 

I have many more example of Open Science existing in private institution. If you are interested, please engage with me!





Back in Europe, in 2014. Background Document, ”Science 2.0”

The paper has another important statement which deserves a closer attention. I quote:


Science 2.0’ is a holistic approach, therefore, is much more than only one of its features (such as Open Access) and represents a paradigm shift in the modus operandi of research and science, impacting the entire scientific process.



Now let’s pay a closer attention to the OSPP elements! None of the European ambitions for Open Science are explicitly referring to open methods, or to open outputs.

For publishing, the ambition is formulated as “Future of Scholarly Communication”.

Research Data? The corresponding ambition is FAIR Data, and not Open Research Data.


I don’t know the reason, but for me is clear that the definition is looking to Open Science as a whole, not through individual elements.

We will most probably have Open Science delivered through a number of elements that are not fully open science on their own. 



As an early element of Open Science, Scholarly communication gave to the world the concept of Open Access.

Let’s take a closer look to Future of Scholarly Communication, year 2020

This image shows a recent metaphor to Open Access. Artists performing a show, apparently opened to the public.

Is it fully open for all?

Do you see this guy here? He doesn’t seem to have the same access to the show as many others. His access is blocked, because of his location (behind a pillar).

Further on, much better access seems to have those that sit in the first lines of the crowd while certain difficulties to enjoy the show seem to have those sitting far in the back. Their location is not optimal for fully enjoying the show.


Why I present this metaphor? You should know that policymakers are now informally discussing about restricting ability to view open-access journal articles in nations that have not responded with policies to remove paywalls. Our immediate future could be More Open Science, but not necessarily a Complete Open Science.

The Gestalt of Open Science means achieving Open Science even when not all elements are compliant to a Complete Open Science ideology.




Another example for understanding the Gestalt of Open Science stays in the Open Research Data Pilot.

[CLICK] The Commission was running a flexible pilot under Horizon 2020 called the Open Research Data Pilot (ORD pilot).

Here is the requirement of this pilot. I quote:

[CLICK]  Participating in the Pilot does not necessarily mean opening up all your research data. Rather, the pilot follows the principle "as open as possible, as closed as necessary" and focuses on encouraging sound data management as an essential part of research best practice.

Again: The Gestalt of Open Science means achieving Open Science even when not all elements are compliant to a Complete Open Science ideology.




So, what Gestalt means? An organized whole that is perceived as more than the sum of its parts

The Gestalt of Open Science that I want to introduce to you is based on the principles of grouping from Psychology and it means that

Open Science is a new research system that is more than the sum of its parts. Even if its parts, in their individuality could mean “as open as possible, as closed as necessary”, the whole (The Open Science) means, in the end, a system that is collaborative, transparent and reproducible and whose outputs are publicly available.


The Gestalt of Open Science is the meta-principle that applies to all definitions of Open Science, no matter if we speak about spinning wheels or mushrooms.




Any responsible person who is promoting Open Science should recognize that we have a spaghetti of Open Science.

It is delicious, healthy, but hard to tackle.

That said, it is time to look into the hazards of Open Science.




Like everything else, Open Science is not protected against hazards. These could be, in my view:

•Its own Failure. If we fail now, we will not have another shot in a foreseen future.

•To become an exclusive movement of public research that continues to enlarge the disconnection with Society.

•To associate ”Open” with ”Ignore”, especially when it comes to resources that are needed implement it.

•To build blocks of ’net beneficiaries’ that rarely move to ’contributors’ side.


All these hazards are amplified if research organizations want to deliver Open Science as a fashionable set of tools, instead of a cultural change.



Maybe it’s good to say what IS NOT Open Science!


Firstly, it is not a sugarcoat for Open Access. Open Science hasn’t been invented to make a nice, sweet coat for Open Access. Open Access is only 1 element, in my opinion perfectly equal in importance with all the other elements of Open Science.


Open Science is neither a snake oil. It doesn’t promise a cure to all problems in research!

It only proposes a new set of methods, as an evolution from current good practices and – possible – as a way to restrict research biases.





This slide, should probably say everything: Being sustainable is an act of responsibility! It‘s not a trend, it‘s not an option, it‘s not a model. It‘s a must!

Keep this in mind for the moment: Sustainability means Responsibility!


Never discount this understanding!

It‘s a direct relation between these 2 concepts:

•If you are sustainable, you can take responsibilities.

•If you are not sustainable, you can‘t take responsibilities, you cannot offer your services to hold responsibilities.

•The more sustainable you are, the more responsibilities you can take

•The less sustainable you are, the fewer responsibilities you take.

•If you are not sustainable but you go toward that stage, you still can‘t take responsibilities, but you go toward that position

We will come back to this understanding!



When we speak about sustainability in Open Science, we have 2 fundamental questions:

The first one is what return should expect funders and institutions?

Why do we want Open Science?

Please be aware that there are different perspectives to form these expectations. For example, while many libraries think that Open Science is a moral reparation, a lot of funders think differently. Not opposite, but differently: that Open Science is a way to boost the sustainable prosperity. They see Open Science as a way to achieve a better return of their investments.


My idea about the outcome of Open Science is

•Quality, healthy OS systems

•Reproducible Science

•Faster, reliable discoveries

•Meaningful translational science,

•Wider dissemination

•International Collaborations

•Better education through practice

•Collective intelligence

•Man-machine collaborations

Therefore, funders should make available financial arrangements that allows the organisations to build sustainability for such outcomes.



The second question is the sustainability for the Open Science tools.

Here are a number of models exploring the sustainability of tools.

[CLICK] One model is the general idea of community-led efforts. In my example here, the Invest in Open Infrastructure or SCOSS (Sustainability Coalition for Open Science Services).

[CLICK] Another model is shaped around „membership models“. Here are the examples.

[CLICK] Another model is suggesting using the resources that already exist in the system and turn them to support Open Science tools, either as direct spendings or long term investments




Sustainability means Responsibility

If Open Science is a promise for a better research, sustainability is part of the promise.

[CLICK] On the contrary, building an unsustainable infrastructure or one which is not able to offer a Service Level Agreement is an act of irresponsibility!

It‘s typical for groups and communities that don‘t take accountability for their own actions.

Our community should not act like that!




Here is the root for many: The Research Metrics!

It is well known the fact that research organisations are struggling to re-design their metrics in order to measure their activity more eloquently, to measure their impact in society and move away from a system that puts too much weight on publications.

A matrix of metrics is proposed by Prof. Bernard Rentier, Rector Emeritus of University of Liege (Belgium).

Again, I don‘t have enough time to insist on this but,


If you find useful Prof. Rentier’s ideas and assessment framework, I suggest you read his book Open Science, The Challenge of Transparency published at Académie royale de Belgique in March 2019.



What looks strange to me, is why there is not enough action to align these new metrics with the SDG indicators!


There are 232 well-defined SDG Indicators published on the UN web-page.

Why there are no notable efforts to design a series of research metrics that are aligned with the global SGD effort?




Are the new metrics indeed, the deep root of Open Science? I have a little doubt about that….I have a feeling that is something deeper in the ground….Maybe less visible, but essential, like the moisture and the minerals in soil.




Perhaps an anonymous academic writer could shed some light into the dark.

This is one of 2 articles published in The Guardian in 2018 which could serve as an example to what it means to be exclusively driven by just 1 set of principles for nurturing discoveries, innovations and inventions: the mighty principles of Competition.

This exclusive set of principles apparently guides the current research methods and builds a strange behaviour for researchers: they need to be the first, they want to be the first, they must keep their work secret!

It‘s not here the place to examine that article, but I linked my slides to it, so that you can read it. Please engage with me after your reading!



And this is a second article published in the Guardian, not long after the anonymous article.

For Margaret Heffernan, a well-known entrepreneur and author, the injection of competition into higher education has been dangerous: “Students compete for places and grades, academics compete for jobs, publication spaces and funding. Everyone is being ranked everywhere.”

“This is what happens when you put systems under competitive pressure,” she says. “Winning becomes so important that if you can’t win the right way, you find other ways. 

Rankings are particularly pernicious in Heffernan’s eyes. Leaders determined to improve in rankings absorb an external set of values rather than creating their own definition of success.




Indeed: when you compete, you measure your success by someone else's definition of it. When you collaborate, you achieve meaningful, transformative results.



The game-changer for Open Science is a set of metrics that rewards the Collaboration


Not only for measuring how much open is your work, but also what collaboration potential is offered through the built-in connectors.



Nothing from what I say means that I am against the competition.

Competition is good, in a context of Collaboration!




First: we need an „open“ system that builds research communities instead of research machines,

A system that measures both our ability to compete and to collaborate.



Second: without rewards for collaboration in research, Open Science is less vibrant, disadvantaged and a reversible movement. 



Third: The goals for Open Science should exceed the academic environment and they should refer directly to the benefits of our society.

[CLICK] British people say, “The proof of the pudding is in the eating”.

[CLICK] Open Science will prove its role if it helps to accelerate the discovery, the innovation and the inventions.

[CLICK] Secondly, Open Science to support in a direct way the complex processes of building high levels of Technology Readiness and Manufacturing Readiness. Such readiness levels are today the ultimate goals to could help the humankind be prepared for solving the Grand Challenges.

[CLICK] Not last, Open Science to increase the scientific literacy of people and help create a real knowledge society where there is no room for fake news or hysteria; a society in which we are able to make evidence-based decisions for quality, sustainable leaving. 




Before I open the floor for questions, I would like to mention a series of advocacy events ( that we are producing in collaboration with UCL Press and LIBER (The European Association of Research Libraries)

We started in 2015 and this is what we delivered so far. If you want to join this series, please contact me.


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