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Rufus Pollock on Open Science

The following guest post is by Maria Neicu, who’s studying at the University of Amsterdam. She’s a member of the OKF’s Working Group on Open Data in Science.

Rufus Pollock of the Open Knowledge Foundation recently gave a video interview on the topic of open science. Here are the videos, and summaries of what he had to say!

Firstly, in his introduction to Openness, Rufus explains the concepts of Open Science and Open Economics, describing the role of the Open Knowledge Foundation in promoting open publishing strategies for scientific data.

For a researcher, being open is an attitude, as well as a life philosophy, requiring the internalization of an ethic of collaborating, sharing and giving back to the community. Therefore, we should aim for a “distributed, collaborative, de-centralized model” of research culture. Rufus thus addresses policy makers who might invest in participative science, which involves the wider public and different expertise in open knowledge production using the potential of digital technologies.

Opening content implies a sustainable use and re-use of information, data filtering, but also a “commitment to greater documentation” and status validation within the scientific community. In imagining the advantages of living in a world in which everyone has access to all knowledge, the second part of the video entitled “Benefits of open science” tackles the current publishing paradigm. For example, Open Data in Science would avoid duplication efforts and thus be more sustainable. Even if there is a “default” mechanism of sharing knowledge already practiced by scientific researchers, this system needs to be changed and made functional in a world more defined by being a “shared enterprise”.

Thirdly, explaining “Why some disciplines are more open than others”, ‘Big Science’ such as physics, mathematics and genomics is depicted in a comparison between different scientific validation systems – from bureaucratic quota systems to informal actors. Looking at how publishing in monopolist elitist journals assigns status reveals the need for open science to set-up a reward system, to motivate researchers and enhance their reputation for opening-up access to their work.

As for the “Barriers, perceived risks, constraints for open science”, one of the proposed solution is to positively frame “collaboration” itself, even in a competitive environment like academia. Lastly, elaborating on “What we need to make open science happen” – the interview includes insights for online participative collaboration, and online tools for equipping funding bodies, like data-management systems.

To learn more about this important and complex topic, visit the OKF Open Data in Science Working Group homepage and get involved in further discussions surrounding open science and open data in science.

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