Internationally, there are more and more recommendations for the adoption of open science practices. This process of opening up has also occurred in Italy, which has recently included open science in its national research programme. Important signals in this direction also come from Italian research institutions, among the first to join the European initiative to reform the research evaluation system. Francesca Di Donato (Cnr)’s reflection was featured in the April issue of Formiche
For more than twenty years, the global scientific community has been discussing the principles of open access and experimenting with their application. However, only since the publication of the OECD report Making Open Science a Reality in 2015 has the promotion, dissemination and recognition of open science gradually entered the agenda of international science policies.
This report, together with the following year’s European Commission book, Open Innovation, Open Science, Open to the World, first identified open science and its practices as an important driver of innovation.
But what is open science? A modern and inclusive definition is that of the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science: “an inclusive construct that brings together different movements and practices with the aim of making multilingual scientific knowledge openly available, accessible and reusable for all, to promote scientific collaboration and information exchange for the benefit of science and society and to open processes for the creation, evaluation and transfer of knowledge.” scientific community to actors in society outside the traditional scientific community.
The goal of open science, shared by the movements and practices that contribute to its definition, is to make the knowledge in every language openly available, accessible and reusable by all. In practice, practicing open science means sharing and making available research results (data, Programming Scientific articles in the form of prepress or after printing etc.) during each step of the scientific process, making the research transparent according to the principle of “open as possible and closed as necessary” and in accordance with the principles of Fair (findability, accessibility, interoperability, reusability).
Internationally, there are more and more recommendations for the adoption of open science practices. From 2017 onwards, the G7 has recognized and recommended in particular some basic needs: investment in common research infrastructures; Manage research data in a manner consistent with the Fair Principles; Define research evaluation and reward systems that value and encourage open science and its practices.
The equation between open science and good science has been affirmed and supported in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has highlighted the need to quickly share data and scientific findings and adopt common practices and standards to make research effectively replicable, reproducible and reusable. The World Health Organization has also repeatedly emphasized the need for a rapid transition towards open science models. An important recommendation in this regard is the recommendation of UNESCO in 2021.
Open science also makes an essential contribution to achieving the goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It is recognized as playing a critical role in enhancing the quality, integrity and impact of research. Thus an important equation is created between good science and open science. Europe has also placed open science at the center of its policies to an increasing extent, to the point of building the Horizon Europe framework programme, currently under way, in which open science is defined as the ‘new normal’.
Today it is an unavoidable mandate, even for European funding, and in the field of European research, knowledge of its principles and adoption of its practices is essential for all researchers. This process of openness has also taken place in Italy, which has recently included open science in its national research program by publishing the National Plan for Open Science 2021-2027. The scientific community of our country expects it to be adopted soon.
Important signals in this sense come from Italian research institutions – In the first class by the National Agency for University Evaluation and the Research System – among the first to join the recent initiative promoted by the European Commission to reform the research evaluation system. A reform which, again, has at its core the valorization and promotion of open science, understood as good science and a new normal.
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