Category: Horizon 2020

Despite uncertainty over EU academics’ future, the brain drain hasn’t begun yet

A predicted exodus of EU academics from UK universities has not yet materialised. Helen de Cruz discusses why – despite the uncertainty hanging over their future status and rights – the “brain drain” has not really begun yet. Finding new posts, especially at a very senior level, can take time; hiring systems elsewhere in Europe are opaque and sometimes not meritocratic; many academics […]

FOSTER in Scandinavia

It was EARMA (#earmaac2016), the annual gathering of the European Association of Research Managers and Administrators in Lulea this week, and Ivo and I were there donning our FOSTER hats to speak about open science in Horizon 2020. Ivo talked about the impact open science can have on proposals, sharing reviewer feedback he’s collated to show how positively (or negatively!) things can be perceived. It shows the strength that can be added to proposals when support is provided by the institution, and echoes the positive experiences we’ve seen in the UK where universities help researchers to craft robust DMPs. 
 
 
My contribution to the conference is thanks to Vanessa Ravagni of the University of Trento. She proposed a session on Horizon 2020 to explain how open science is a key part of the daily workflow for research managers. I set the scene by explaining what is required by the European Commission in the Open Research Data pilot, and Vanessa and Niahm Brennan of Trinity College Dublin gave examples of how they have been supporting researchers at their universities. Both picked up on the need to engage with researchers to understand their concerns and Niahm gave a great list of typical questions, which resonate with what we’ve heard at DCC. The overlap between ethical approval processes and DMPs also came out in discussion and salutary lessons were shared about researchers being distraught at having to destroy really valuable data as this was written into consent agreements unwittingly. 
 
It was a fleeting visit to Lulea for the FOSTER team, but enough time for dinner and a drink with the Trinity College Dublin cohort. Working our way through the gin menu and watching the sun slowly dip was the perfect end to the day. Next year EARMA will be in Valetta in Malta. It will be a few weeks earlier on 24-26 April, so all those planning to submit papers get ready to write your abstracts soon. 

 
The FOSTER Scandi tour continues next week. We have a fully booked workshop on Wednesday 29th June on Open Science at the Core of Libraries. We’ll be demonstrating the FOSTER portal and doing group activity to define learning objectives and plan the content for new courses. Come prepared to work!

Addressing societal challenges: Joined-up research funding could facilitate innovation and engagement.

With changes looming for research councils and research funding as a whole, John Goddard looks at what a more joined-up research council driven by societal challenges would mean for the social sciences. Universities are going to have to increase their capacity to support engagement with society. The social science community therefore needs to actively enter into the fray locally and nationally […]

Your grant application is about to die: Research teams that recognise gender dimension offer a competitive advantage.

Funding requirements confirm there is a competitive advantage for research engaged in the active promotion of gender perspectives. Strategic decision-making in universities should also recognise the value a sex and gender dimension adds, both for funding and the quality of research. Curt Rice stresses how social sciences and humanities can help deliver these perspectives more deliberately and explicitly into research. Last year, the world lost […]

Bumper week of FOSTER events

It has been a busy week for FOSTER open science events! David Ball and I have been in the Czech Republic speaking at open science days in Prague and Brno. Martin Donnelly spoke at the 2020 vision event in Oxford, and Joy Davidson is involved in a workshop in collaboration with UNESCO on open science for doctoral schools.

The Czech events have been well represented with speakers from current EC projects, including PASTEUR4OA, OpenAIRE and naturally FOSTER. It’s still early days in terms of open access in the Czech Republic. Several universities have publications repositories (usually based on DSpace) but there are few mandates and uptake is slow. The notion of sharing data openly is a big leap and seems a long way off. It was interesting discussing researchers’ attitudes over dinner. Some of the concerns about sharing are the same as elsewhere, but Jan explained there’s a more deep-seated resistance due to historical events. Being open could bring you into conflict with authority so it will take a lot more advocacy than in other contexts to convince researchers of the benefits.

I’ve found that the starting point of openness can be problematic in training events as some attendees immediately switch off if they don’t feel it applies to them and their data. I think this is a concern for FOSTER and the EC’s Open Data Pilot. More perhaps needs to be made of the benefits of data management per se, with open data sharing being one potential outcome where applicable. Even if data can’t be made openly available, they should still be managed. That message needs to come across more strongly.

David Ball gave an introduction to open access and reflected on studies conducted by PASTEUR4OA and FOSTER. One of these studies showed that the vast quantity of published articles (over 75%) are not deposited at all, but deposit rates are over four times higher for institutions with a mandatory policy. So there is clearly a benefit to having an open access policy. David recommended that policies insist on deposit once papers are accepted for publication and link deposit with research evaluation as these criteria are the most effective.

Two key themes to emerge in discussion were the need for advocacy and concerns about open access limiting the choice of where to deposit. When thinking about how best to communicate open access, David recommended avoiding standalone events. Embedding messages into faculty away days, researcher-led events, or meetings that senior management will already be at is preferable. Given the concerns about data sharing, the need for advocacy from research champions and persuasive examples that demonstrate the benefits to be gained will be essential in the Czech context.

Jana Kratěnová from the Technology Centre of the Academy of Sciences spoke about the Horizon 2020 requirements in more detail. She reflected on the tension between what funders requires and what publishers allow. The EC requirements mandate open access and expect publications to be shared within 6 or 12 months depending on the discipline. Some people are concerned about such policies restricting the choice of publisher, for example if researchers want to publish in a high-impact journal that doesn’t offer ‘gold’ options or allow self-archiving in the required timeframes. From the twitter stream it sounds like similar concerns were raised at the Oxford event too. 

It was interesting to learn more about the open access position in the Czech Republic. Hana, Petra and their colleagues were excellent hosts. We had time to enjoy a wander around the old towns and were told about the local history. We also sampled the excellent wine and beer brewed at the Czech University of Life Sciences. Very tasty!

Fostering open science

Training for EC project officers on open access and open data in Horizon 2020

We ran four half-day workshops at the end of June as part of the FOSTER project. FOSTER aims to facilitate open science by training researchers about open access a…

Horizon 2020, Research Data Management, You, and Us.

Horizon 2020[i] is the European Union’s latest research and innovation funding programme, making €80 billion available in the seven years between now and 2020. Horizon 2020 embraces the global movement amongst research funders that requires data generated be made available for verification, … Continue reading