Building a Global Consensus on Open Science – the future UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science

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Building a Global Consensus on Open Science – the future UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science
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The Open Science Conference 2021 is the 8th international conference of the Leibniz Research Alliance Open Science. The annual conference is dedicated to the Open Science movement and provides a unique forum for researchers, librarians, practitioners, infrastructure providers, policy makers, and other important stakeholders to discuss the latest and future developments in Open Science.
thank you very much david and and thank you very much to the organizers to uh invite unesco at this eighth edition of the uh open science conference we are very happy to be here and very happy to be part of this uh evolution of open as klaus was just mentioning i think it's really interesting to see how the movement was born and how it has grown and how not only it has grown amongst scientists different disciplines but also around the world and more and more stakeholders or actors are now actively engaging in open science and i think what is important from our point of view from the unesco's point of view so unesco is the u.n agency in charge of education science culture and communication is really to see it as a global movement that benefits everybody equally so i think one of the reasons why unesco is now particularly involved in looking for this global consensus on open science is to ensure that open science in the future and now helps to narrow the digital gap between countries and the science technology innovation gaps and that it doesn't actually widens them even more so we really do have to think about that when we think about open science practices and how it affects different countries around the world um so i'm gonna start my presentation now um as i said we've we've and we've heard also from the opening uh talk from from klaus i mean the need for science technology innovation is is really everywhere and with this current pandemics it it has been really put at the forefront and very visible for everybody how important it is to have access to timely information to scientific data to publications to to rigorous information that can be scrutinized that can be used by by different by different scientists and also by different actors we've also seen that scientific collaborations around the world are critical because we do have some advancements in certain parts of the world if we manage to have a scientific collaboration it just goes faster it's more efficient we can do so much more in in a shorter amount of time and again with this pandemics i think we have shown how much we can achieve very quickly but we have also shown that we can go even further than that and that you know opening science should be something that goes beyond pandemics and crisis situations the third thing is also that we've seen that really there is this huge importance of having a good healthy science policy society dialogue it builds trust in science both at the level of citizens as well as at the level of policy makers and decision makers so it is critical to have this science communication and um and and and trust in science and of course with opening science there is also a big responsibility of explaining uh scientific data and information to a broader audience as we move faster let's say in um revealing some of the results we also have to have this uh uh this this effort of explaining at which stage we are with the results what are the uh what are the uh what are the advantages and possible disadvantages of opening up data relatively quickly uh and relatively uh early on in the in the in the science process um and and and that's why open science again is is is really important it is an important movement that that that for us from the unesco perspective it is a movement that is trying to transform scientific process uh make it more democratic more transparent more tangible also not just to scientists themselves but also to the society in a broader sense it allows for the scientific information to be more widely accessible to be more reliably harnessed and it allows this more active engagement of all the other sexual stakeholders but as i said from our perspective what is really important is that it is um open science has the potential of really bridging bridging the science technology and innovation gaps and also fulfilling the human right to science and also in the world of the united nations and in the world of you know sustainable development across borders open science is increasingly seen as a critical accelerator for the achievement of sustainable development goals the famous sdgs the problem that we have been facing lately is that as klaus was saying there is a proliferation right now of policy instruments of uh strategies of different practices and and we see a little bit of a fragmentation both in scientific and policy environment with the lack of a true global understanding of what open science is what it means what are the opportunities what are the challenges and what are the possible risks of open science so that is why um at the unesco general conference last year the member states of unesco 193 member states they agreed and gave the organization the task of developing an international standard setting instrument on open science which is this unesco recommendation on open science and the idea was really to lead a very comprehensive consultative and inclusive process in developing this global recommendation so just to to to to to make it a little bit more clear as to what the unesco recommendation is so it is an illegal instrument um in which the general conference which is the the governing body of unesco formulates principles and norms for the international regulation of a particular question and it invites member states to take whatever legal and legislative or other steps to actually apply those principles and norms in their respective territories so even if it's not a legally binding instrument as for example a convention it is a legal instrument that is monitored across the in time and member states are supposed to report back as to what is the the the rate of implementation of the different provisions in the recommendation so it really is an instrument that is designed to influence legislation national laws and practices in different member states so what did you do in the past year year and a half so since uh november uh 2019 we really in in unesco tried to have as broad consultative process as possible to develop this this global recommendation the different uh definitions the different actions that need to be taken by member states and other stakeholders and we've had a number of different consultations we had a global consultation which was like a survey online and i am sure that many people who are actually today with us have contributed to that um global survey uh we got some 3 000 inputs from 133 countries and really across the different uh stakeholder groups and across different institutions we did the regional multi-stakeholder consultations in all the different regions of the world so in africa europe and north america arab states asian pacific latin america caribbean and eastern europe trying to get a feeling for what are the differences and where are the synergies in the understanding and the practice of open science across across the world and we
had a series of thematic and stakeholder consultations with young scientists in particular citizen science academy science unions access platforms data organizations the rest of the un system and indigenous peoples amongst others so we really really try to have as much consultations as possible in the beginning we i have to say we were a little bit afraid because of the pandemic we were not able to have face-to-face consultations but actually it turned out that this you know digital environment was actually a pretty good way of gathering even more people together and having even more people participate in these conversations so um we do hope to gather everybody in one place at a certain point because it is important to talk to each other also physically but i do have to say that in the end uh the the virtual environment was very very very conducive to this broad uh consultations that we have uh so the next thing that happened is that based on all these different um inputs that we've received we our director general appointed an open science advisory committee it's around 30 experts from different parts of the world who helped the secretariat kind of gather all the different inputs and put it in the first draft of the recommendation this first draft of the recommended recommendation was sent to all the member states at the end of september last year and it was also posted online for comments from different partners and stakeholders now we are at the stage where we are actually incorporating all those comments back into the draft and we are going to release the second draft of of the recommendation at the sometimes in march uh and by the end of march and we actually today have a meeting of the advisory committee where we will go through some of these comments and see how we have to reflect them in the final draft so what i what i would like to do now very briefly is just to go very quickly to what we have in the um in the first draft now and as i said things will change because we did receive very constructive comments both from member states and from the different stakeholders in general i would say the the comments were pretty positive and i think because of this broad consultation that we had we did manage to capture a lot of voices and um and and and show the complexity and the breadth of open science it really is a very complex system that has all of the different um parts and each and every part has its own structures and its own governance systems and we kind of will have to put it all together if we do want open science to really be the new normal for for the future so the the recommendation of course has a preamble aims and objectives definition uh we define some core values and guiding principles and then areas of action and monitoring that will have to be put in place of course the aim of the recommendation is to provide an international framework for open science policy and practice that recognizes the regional differences in open science perspectives and takes clown takes into account the specific challenges of scientists in and other actors in different countries and in particular in developing countries and that it really contributes to the digital technological and to reducing the digital technological and knowledge divide between and within countries i have to say that uh from the south in particular uh there is a lot of interest in open science but there is also a lot of caution and they i think opening up data opening up access to scientific information to research to publications etc it really needs to be done in an equitable way that everybody can benefit from and i think this is the key message coming from the south uh saying we really have to be careful that those who have bigger and more important technological advancements do not take advantage of the others who don't so we that that i think at the global level is going to be um something to really take into account as we develop open science um globally um in terms of the definition i think the definition will stay more or less more or less the same and it really is this broad idea of open science as making scientific knowledge methods and data available but also increase scientific collaboration sharing of information and engaging the the broader society together with the more traditional scientific community with this idea of the scientific outputs uh which should be as open as possible and as close as necessary of course taking into consideration privacy and security issues that i am sure you will be talking about also during this conference um in terms of core values and guiding principles of course it's quality integrity inclusiveness and diversity collective benefit the idea of you know science as a common good um and an open science as enabler and driver of uh of developing scientific practice in this in this aspect of science as science as a global as a global good uh we've tried also to define some elements of open science this will probably change a little bit in the next in the next draft um of course with open data open access open source uh softwares open evaluations open science infrastructures educational resources and also this openness to engagement with societal actors and to the diversity of knowledge including building a dialogue with uh with indigenous knowledge systems and other scholarly systems all the way while still of course maintaining and increasing the quality of the scientific research just briefly in terms of actions i think there is a broad agreement on the areas for action it is to promote a common understanding of open science develop an enabling policy environment investment in open science infrastructures and services in a broader sense so not just digital infrastructures but also other infrastructures investment in capacity building for open science transforming scientific culture because it's not going to be easy to switch to open science in some of the assessment processes and evaluation processes do not follow promote innovative approaches for open sites at different stages of the scientific process and of course promoting international collaboration so just very quickly as to the next um as to the next steps we as i said are now collecting these different comments from member states and other actors and the idea is to incorporate them into the second draft which will be shared with member states and everybody else by the end of march at the latest the member states will they'll start their negotiations right the members they actually have to negotiate this tax and they have to agree on it in the end we will have these intergovernmental meetings in may and in july if necessary and then the document goes to the general conference possibly hopefully for a member um this year so this is a little bit where we are with the process um we are very very very grateful for all the contributions we've had from the actors including a lot of the audience of the conference and i'd be very happy to respond to some um additional questions as well from the audience now so that would be that will be all from my side from for the moment i hope i didn't go too much over time and i'm happy to respond to the questions as well
super thank you very much anna first of all fantastic presentation i hope everyone could hear and see it well around the world i'm going to first take a look into our questions box and again i want to remind everyone they can go ahead and enter their questions so we can talk directly to our speakers let me see here i have uh the first question here from yo habermann and i'm go ahead and i'm going to read it to you big thanks to unesco for actively and explicitly consulting with indigenous peoples for the hashtag open science in your globally inclusive approach what were the learnings in incorporating indigenous knowledge into the recommendations anna and thank you for the question joe yeah great great question we really did try to have this conversation with indigenous peoples to understand what their position is with regards to open science uh and and i think we had a pretty big consultation in january this year on the draft text of the recommendation and i think again even there we there was a lot of caution from indigenous peoples they were very happy to see that the scientific process is opening up and that there is this openness towards dialogue with indigenous knowledge holders in particular but they were very cautious in terms of how this dialogue should should evolve and what does it mean to share data to share knowledge to share information so um indigenous peoples as you know have already been very much involved with regards to the indigenous governance systems uh with the care principles that they have developed as a response to the fair principles of open science so the feeling is that they are ready to engage however it cannot just be you know openly going and accessing information without certain agreements being put in place without certain rules being put in place as to how the information needs to be shared and also i think from the um indigenous people's perspective uh the indigenous knowledge systems are specific ways in epistemologists or epistemologies of producing knowledge right so what they do not want to see is that their knowledge is taken and then validated and revalidated and used in in different ways which is not necessarily in line of how they perceive knowledge and how they transmit knowledge etc so there has to be a huge respect between the two communities once they start sharing data and and engaging of course we're not starting from scratch there is more and more um good uh practices in in this sense that are coming out and as science is opening there will hopefully be more and more of practices like this but as i said uh a lot of enthusiasm and at the same time a lot of caution as to how these things happen so that we avoid any type of you know misuse and exploitation of data coming from indigenous knowledge holders super thank you very much we have a few questions coming in uh fantastic let me go to the next one here it has already seven votes the question is what role does science communication play in your concept so um science communication was probably something that we're a little bit left out in the first draft and then the member states another actors just called us on that uh and i think uh it will come up much more strongly in the second draft science communication obviously is a huge part uh incredibly important for open science and when i talk about science communication of course it is the scientific communication as the traditional way of communicating science and then communicating science to different audiences to broader audiences so people like david journalist science journalist in particular also have a huge role to play into translating this scientific information that will be more and more available to the general public also to kind of counteract the possibility of misinformation or false information that can also be more and more available now in the context of or of open science as well so as i said science communication is going to be something very important for the future absolutely true and it is a challenge especially when you have such complicated theories and things that you're trying to explain to the everyday person that doesn't have the luxury of dealing with these these complex issues 10 hours every day so that's a big challenge for everyone including journalists absolutely correct anna uh great with the questions fantastic we have a few more coming through here um we have from axel kohler what are the specific worries of the global south concerning open science strategies one might think that it is very much in their interest to have as much open practice as possible since they are encountering various constraints on axis yes i one can always see see it from both sides right uh on one hand it is true that they will have more access there is more access to uh uh to the information which is produced in the north but don't forget that the infrastructures are not necessarily yet in place the technology in the south is not necessarily yet in place and what they are really afraid of is if we do not have shared infrastructure and shared technologies also which would allow them to access that information that then they will be lagging behind even more and that basically they will be opening up their data and not necessarily be able at the same time to access data from uh from the north so it really it's a question of equity it's a question of just even when we were talking about this global open science cloud it's a very good idea but we do have to take into account the fact that you know infrastructure is just basic connectivity is not necessarily in place in all parts of the world in the same way so there are some things that one still has to think about while putting in place some of these global global structures but as i said enthusiasm is there it's just a little bit of caution also because i think there is a history there as well where there was a lot of exploitation of data from the south and i think the the scientists are now saying let's let's do this more equitably and let's do this rightly and justly this time absolutely i have a few more questions here i'll try to get to them the next one what precondition for being open is having a sustainable open license there are established open definitions for example open source open data creative commons what are the license recommendations of unesco so i the the recommendation as it stands now is pretty broad because you have to understand also that it's it's an international um cylinder setting instrument so we are trying to accommodate as much as possible views from different parts of the world and from different stakeholders as i said we will be talking in the coming days a little bit more on some of these more concrete and specific recommendations but i think the idea is to be as open as possible to the diversity of different tools that one can use to try to to to transition to open science uh our problem is that if we are too prescriptive it may be seen by certain countries or by certain actors as as too narrow and this idea maybe of you know one one solution fits all is is not gonna work uh either so we're trying to look across the spectrum of different um instruments including in terms of of licensing and and and and try to be as inclusive and as as possible with regards to the licenses that can be used and that can promote uh open science more broadly super i'm looking at the clock we have time for about two more questions and maybe to the zbw organizers we should take into effect i know this is our first time doing this online but we really have some fantastic questions coming our way so we will certainly make note of those questions but in addition maybe for later this afternoon or tomorrow we can add a few more minutes for the q a sessions because i see here really fantastic questions coming our way but okay we have time for two more questions let me continue um the next one would be what do you perceive as the main barriers to implementing open science and changing science culture across the globe why would scientific communities not want to take on an open science approach yeah um benjamin sorry benjamin stewart yes thank you for that um again what was interesting in the consultations that we've had is that um depending on the kind of the the the population you're talking to not just in different parts of the world but also like young scientists versus those who are a little bit more advanced in their careers depending on the different disciplines depe depending on you know there are so many different uh again parts of science that then has to fit in in open science and not necessarily we have a home a very the same view of what open science is and what it means and how it should be put together from these different communities uh young scientists for example and i'll take that their example because i find it very very important particularly if you know we're looking into the future here so we do depend on what the reactions of young scientists will be they're very keen to share and i think it's kind of in their dna in their culture they're used to sharing much more than maybe some more experienced scientists however for the moment the evaluation criterias for the assessment of their careers of how they progress of how you know how uh how they're valued within their scientific community is not necessarily always in line with open science principles so some of these things really need to change so that they have more incentives to basically open up and have more and more open access open uh open science practices um it it will depend of course on the grants that are that are uh provided the funders how are they gonna also uh integrate open science practices in the grants but also really in the evaluation of the uh uh of the scientific careers of of scientists uh if that gets more open and more prone to openness then certainly that barrier will be lifted lifted as well and i think in general there is still a huge effort of advocating and explaining what open science is that needs to be held around the world there is a certain community which now is very comfortable with open science com concepts and practices etc but it's still a very small fraction of the entire scientific community so you know education will will play a huge role in explaining what it is for those who are possibly afraid of it or who do not know how to engage we will have to do a huge effort globally to advocate for open science and to explain what it is and how it's how it can be done what are the different approaches to open science yeah and i had a question uh in the last couple years we've had the boom of social media do you think social media is a positive thing as far as getting information out to people with open science or we have to be cautious about it because as we know it can also be abused well that's that's kind of the the you you always have this positive and negative side and now i think with the pandemics we know what the challenges are we know what the risks are so if we put a little bit more effort to address those challenges and those risks then we can use social media even better for disseminating scientific knowledge and communicating about about science so we're learning i think really it's a learning process uh and again this this pandemic has just pushed us all to to have a lot of these issues really in front of us and and and there's a lot to learn from there and approaches to put in place strategies and policies and actions uh to mitigate the risks as much as possible and then um use the benefits as much as possible at the same time super anna real quick we call this a lightning round i have two final questions i know we have a few more we couldn't get to all of them i'd ask you in two or three sentences to answer these next two questions the first one from sabila soaring which sort or sis excuse me which sword or system of incentives are you discussing or aiming at first one real briefly yeah well it's a big question though uh no it it really is kind of alignment of different incentives coming from different sources uh whether it's funders whether it's uh academia and evaluation systems as i said uh these are kind of the i would say the the the the two biggest incentives that we've been talking about in the recommendation for the moment okay super and i've just been giving the thumbs up we have to conclude this session i want to say first of all thank you anna could we give a round of applause to everyone from around the world where we're watching thank you this is uh it's always exciting to have the first speaker there and i can see already we have a lot of participation a lot of questions thank you for helping us kick off our open science conference please stick around as long as you can i know you have a meeting coming up in about a half an hour but stick around as long as you can for our next presentation thank you