In less than a decade the impact agenda has evolved from being a controversial idea to an established part of most national research systems. Over the same period the conceptualisation of research impact in the social sciences and the ability to create and measure research impact through digital communication media has also developed significantly. In this post, Ziyad Marar argues […]
Universities are increasingly called upon to engage with local and regional government, namely as part of a ‘third academic mission’, but how effectively do they incentivize academics to do so? Using evidence from her study of the University of Aveiro, Liliana Fonseca explores the barriers that hinder engagement with these institutions and makes recommendations for how universities could expand and […]
The next round of the EU’s research and innovation funding program, Horizon Europe, will include a requirement to develop a mission statement outlining how the research will achieve societal impact. In this post Stefan de Jong and Reetta Muhonen explore how regional variations across Europe in the understanding of research impact are likely to impact the opportunities of researchers from […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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!
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[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 →