ON-MERRIT D5.1 Scoping Report: Open Science Outputs in Policy-Making and Public Participation
The use of publicly available scientific outputs by policymakers has been claimed to be one of the benefits of Open Science (OS). However, there is yet little empirical evidence as to the impact of OS practices on research uptake by policymakers. In fact, the relationship between evidence and policy is frequently described as a “gap”, highlighting the difficulties that prohibit the use of scientific evidence in policymaking. The deliverable addresses two key research questions "How are Open Science outputs used in policymaking?" and "Which societal actors participate in Responsible Research & Innovation (RRI) and OS policymaking?" by systematically summarizing the evidence to date on how policymakers use scholarly resources with a special focus on open research practices.
The systematic review found that researchers and policymakers are described as living in different and frequently incompatible worlds. Policymakers seek information that is timely, relevant, credible, and readily available. They struggle with knowledge management and appraisal of research outputs, in addition to a lack of resources, knowledge, and skills to utilize research. Research awareness is low, and few academics participate directly in the policy process. Factors conducive to research uptake are access to relevant and clear information and good relationships between researchers and policymakers, as policymakers prefer receiving information through personal networks rather than academic publications. The reviewed literature suggests that the availability of information in the form of academic publications and other research outputs is of secondary concern.
Improved infrastructure for sharing scientific outputs could have a positive impact on the use of evidence in policymaking and introduces a set of methods to be used in other research tasks associated with this project.