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Open Science and its role in universities, the topic in the new LERU advice paper

League of European Research Universities (LERU).

League of European Research Universities (LERU).



The Council of the European Union will adopt conclusions on the European Open Science Cloud , one of the eight ambitions identified by the European Commission in it Open Science agenda. LERU takes this opportunity to present its new advice paper on Open Science and the necessary cultural change for universities -and other stakeholders- to embrace it.

Open Science aims to improve productivity and efficiency, transparency and response to the needs in interdisciplinary research. With this, it works on research, education and research, opening up new paths across the globe. LERU universities are convinced that Open Science brings new opportunities for the scholar community and promotes the interaction between the academics and society. In addition, the transition to the new system will not be direct since there are some challenges lying ahead. For this process to be successful, involved organizations need a cultural change to implement the principles, policies and practices of open science.

To guide universities in this transition, LERU published Open Science and its role in universities: a roadmap for cultural change, a report led by Paul Ayris, chair of the LERU Information and Open Access policy group, and Ignasi Labastiada, member of the same group and head of the Office for Knowledge Dissemination and the Research Unit at CRAI of the University of Barcelona, who participated as co-author.

The paper discusses the eight pillars of Open Science, identified by the European Commission: the future of scholarly publishing, FAIR data, the European Open Science Cloud, education and skills, rewards and incentives, next-generation metrics, research integrity, and citizen science. Moreover, it analyses the introduction of open science at a university level in each one of these theme areas, and it identifies potential benefits and challenges.

Among the measures it recommends universities to take in each of these areas, the document highlights the need to set a broader supportive environment and productive interactions with external stakeholders. It also provides with recommendations at an institutional level and a set of questions the universities can use to measure their progress in implementing Open Science approaches institutionally.

“What we need now is for every institution to analyze the report and propose how to introduce the recommendations”, says Labastida. “Each institution –he continues- has a different starting point and one has to prioritize areas in which they want to start working on”. “In the UB –he says- we are doing well regarding open access. However, there is still a lot to do regarding research data management or assessment issues”.

LERU universities are aware that adding open science means there will be a complex and multidimensional transition process, which will be different for each university. The 41 recommendations from the LERU report are not representing a prioritization of topics, nor a list of actions for the universities to take. These recommendations, and the report as a whole, are thought as a roadmap to accompany the efforts made by the universities regarding open science, which leaves space to each institution to make their own path, strategy and actions. 

Las universidades de la LERU son conscientes de que incorporar la ciencia abierta implica un proceso de transición complejo y multidimensional, diferente para cada universidad. Las 41 recomendaciones del informe de la LERU no representan una priorización de temas, ni ninguna lista de acciones que las universidades deban asumir. Estas recomendaciones, y el informe en sí, están pensados como un mapa para acompañar los esfuerzos de las universidades ante la ciencia abierta, que deja espacio a cada institución para crear su propio camino, estrategia y acciones.

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