Panel discussion: Putting Open Science into practice

Experts discussed Open Science in practice

How can scientists make research more open? Is public relations work an integral part of Open Science? On 15 February 2018, these and other questions were discussed during the panel "Putting Open Science into practice", which took place in the rooms of the TIB – Leibniz Information Centre for Science and Technology. In addition, the participants of the FOSTER Book Sprint provided an initial insight into the interim results of the Handbook for Open Science Training, which was produced in just five days.

Open Science is easy – but it's still a long way to go

Moderated by Dr. Christina Riesenweber, Open Access Commission at Freie Universität Berlin, the participants discussed solutions on how to make research more open and Open Science more attractive.

Photo: TIB/C. Behrens

Does Open Science cause more work? No – the experts agreed on this. However, Kerstin Helbig, research data management assistant at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, added: “Open Science doesn't cause more work if you document your research data well from the beginning.” All in all, it is nowadays very easy to publish research data freely available with tools such as GitHub and arXiv.

According to the discussion participants, researchers are not afraid of the effort involved in Open Science, but usually have other motives, such as the fear of duplication or lesser recognition. Vanessa Teckentrup, a doctoral student in the research area of translational psychiatry at the University Hospital in Tübingen, did not have any understanding for this. To this day, she has not been aware of any cases of duplication in connection with Open Science. The scientist even changed her doctoral project because her academic supervisor had spoken out against Open Science.

Benedikt Fecher // Photo: TIB/C. Behrens

Despite the steadily growing community, Open Science is still far away from being reality everywhere. How can Open Science be organized in a more attractive way and how can the movement be promoted? “Open Science should be included in the curriculum, so that open publishing for students becomes the norm from the very beginning,” says Benedikt Fecher, Head of the Knowledge Dimension Program at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society. In addition, there should be more reporting about success stories in the field of Open Science, so that others can follow them.

What does “open” really mean? In a controversial discussion, the question of whether research results should also be published to the non-academic public without restrictions was then raised. Prof. Dr. Dirk Ostwald, junior professor at Freie Universität Berlin, considers the general public to be very important, but would always take into account the field of work in which research data are published. In his opinion, Open Science must be communicated in a target-group-specific manner. This view was contrary to the conviction of other participants in the discussion, who support unconditional publication of research results.

Everyone agreed that Open Science will be lived out in all areas of science, but there is still a long way to go.

Handbook for Open Science Training

In the course of the FOSTER Book Sprint the intermediate version of the handbook entitled "Handbook Open Science Training" was presented during the evening event, which 14 experts wrote in just five days.

It is a handbook for trainers who want to conduct workshops on Open Science. On the basis of practical examples and experience reports, methods are shown with which trainers can carry out an interactive workshop. The handbook is intended to provide a brief introduction to the topic of Open Science as well as an in-depth workshop on the subject. In the meantime the manual has been successfully completed and can be commented openly until 4 March 2018.