Remove barriers to open science, says head of EU policy unit

Jean-Claude Burgelman also tells London conference of need to 'embed' the concept in society

June 28, 2015
Source: iStock

Close to 500 delegates from 40 countries have attended a conference in London to explore the challenges of open science for research libraries.

The event was organised by LIBER (Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche/Association of European Research Libraries), a network of 404 university libraries, national libraries and research institutions.

Since open science is a priority for the European Commission and libraries are seeking to provide greater access to their materials right across the Continent, this was adopted as the theme of its annual conference, held at the University of London's Senate House on 24-26 June.

In a plenary session, Jean-Claude Burgelman, head of the unit for science policy, foresight and data in the European Commission’s directorate general for research and innovation, delivered a paper entitled “Open science from vision to action”.

Along with “the exponential growth of data” and “the availability of digital technologies”, he argued, key drivers included “the demand for accountable, responsive and transparent science” and “the need to address faster societal challenges”.

With “big and open data…estimated to add 1.9 per cent of EU-28 GDP by 2020”, effective programmes could lead to “better value for money”, “more transparency, openness and networked collaboration” and “a sound science and society relationship”.

A European open science agenda, Professor Burgelman went on, had to focus on “removing barriers and creating incentives”, “developing infrastructures for open science” and “embedding open science in society”, through “citizen science” and “knowledge coalitions to address societal challenges”.

Yet this could only be achieved if it was “a bottom-up process” and “a co-creation and co-responsibility of all actors on all levels”.

Meanwhile, in a separate session, Sir Mark Walport, the government’s chief scientific adviser, reiterated his belief that “libraries and publishing can help build trust in science” by “mov[ing] away from the idea of a single research paper” to a situation where scholars “publish multiple versions, updating the paper to take account of new data corroborating or undermining its findings”.

Other workshops explored issues such as digital humanities, digitisation of newspapers and “the state of the art in image recognition”.

 matthew.reisz@tesglobal.com

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