Enabling openness, reproducibility and re-use of research: Open Science FAIR, Athens, 6-8 September 2017

Four H2020 funded projects (OpenAIRE, OpenMinTeD, OpenUP, FOSTER) have organized the Open Science FAIR conference with a programme covering different aspects of open science, e.g., open science policies and processes, open science impact, science to and with the society, and FAIR data and FAIR services.

In his opening address, the Greek Minister of Education, Research and Religious Affairs Prof Dr Kostas Gavroglou confirmed the commitment of the Ministry to enable and facilitate open science in Greece.

Keynote speakers offered well-informed insights into different aspects of open science. Prof Dr Nektarious Tavernarakis, from Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas, among others member of the Scientific Council of the European Research Council and double recipient of ERC Advanced Grant, told that the only selection criterium for ERC grants is excellence. The success of ERC additionally comes from scientists being ERC decision makers, coming from all over the world and covering all disciplines. ERC mandates open access to peer-reviewed publications, to research data and data related products as well as to computing code resulting from awarded grants. Challenges are that data sharing is not part of research culture in all disciplines, incentives and rewards are not clear, availability of reliable and sustainable infrastructures is limited, cost can potentially be significant, also after the end of the project, there might be privacy and copyright issues. Raising awareness of discipline differences and of the value of open science is needed. The ERC Open Access Working Group is monitoring developments in EU and advising ERC Scientific Council on policy issues related to open access publications and open research data.

Prof Jeffrey D Sachs, Earth Institute, Columbia University

Prof Dr Jeffrey D Sachs from the Earth Institute of the Columbia University, one of the most influential world leaders and among others Senior Advisor to the United Nations, believes that open science can support solving problems of 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, which are absolutely achievable, but knowledge advances in science are needed. Open science is also absolutely achievable in not too distant future. Basic knowledge should not be patented. Big data should be open and reused. Engineering mentality is needed to get things done.

Prof Dr John P A Ioannidis from Stanford University, probably one of the most influential researchers alive worldwide with more than 140,000 citations of his papers, spoke about the reproducibility crisis in science (of methods, results and inference). Differences across disciplines affect what reproducible research means. Currently, sloppy science practices have an advantage. Typically, science is done by a solo, siloed investigator, with little incentives to share their research. Potential solutions to improve reproducibility have to be tailored to disciplines, empirical evidence is needed and efficient solutions may have collateral damage. 

Ahmed Oluwagbemi Ogunlaja, Founder of Open Access Nigeria

On the second day, a plenary session on Diversity and Disparity in Open Science featured three inspirational talks by Maria Georgopoulou (Director of Gennadius Library Americnan School of Classical Studies in Athens), Ahmed Oluwagbemi Ogunjaja (Founder of Open Access Nigeria) and Jon Tennant (Communications Director of Science Open). These three speakers focused on the sometimes hidden, sometimes obvious barriers researchers can encounter in academia and beyond; not only gender and age, but also geographical location and financial means are essential when assessing access levels to scientific research. Empowering minorities is crucial when advocating for Open Science.

Natalia Manola, Athena Research Centre




Within the workshop on new open access models and platforms the following emerging models of open access to publications were presented, with emphasis that challenges are cultural, not technical:

  • Total flipping of subscription journals to open access might suffer from continuing doing as in the past though technologies enable new efficient ways, as well as reproducing dependence from few commercial publishers while excluding research data and code.
  • Leveraging the repository network with peer review, social functionalities, improved discoverability, standard usage metricsBetter support of repositories for diverse regions, disciplines and languages is needed, but distributed approach is more challenging. . Research performing organizations and their libraries are functional nodes in scholarly communication.
  • Funders The Wellcome Trust and Bill&Melinda Gates Foundation have established open access publishing platforms that include peer review (Wellcome Open Research, Gates Open Research). The European Commission is planning to establish a publishing platform Open Research Europe (EC Open Science).
  • Research performing organizations are establishing platforms for open access publishing that include peer review (MNI Open Research, UCL Child Health Open Research).
  • F1000Research is a publisher’s open access platform with peer review.
  • Publishing open access journals with enhanced functionalities in a sense that true open science should be published in a machine readable format (example Research Ideas and Outcomes journal).

Academic publishing is moving from open access to open science, from human readable to machine readable, from data publishing to data reuse, from impact factor to article level metrics, and from publishing to technology driven service.

The workshop on open science as a service presented all-encompassing services to enable researchers do research according to the principles of open science. Common issues in different disciplines are availability of infrastructures, policies/standards and culture. OpenAIRE Open Science As-a-Service facilitates research communities to adopt open science publishing principles by supporting publishing tool as-a-service and facilitates repositories at moving towards open science publication by supporting notification-based research communication as a service. The benefits are a common repository for deposit of publications, datasets, and methods, collaboration of disciplines, and measuring research impact and statistics.

Workshop on Open Peer Review, led by Tony Ross-Hellauer

The European Open Science Cloud brings together many European e-infrastructures in order to provide comprehensive services for the research lifecycle. Among them are H2020 funded projects OpenAIRE, EGI and GÉANT, which have organized a workshop on national and European e-infrastructure cooperation for open science. Each of the three infrastructures provides national assistance in European countries and beyond through National Open Access Desks (OpenAIRE NOADs), National Grid Initiatives or Infrastructures (EGI NGIs) and National Research and Education Networks (GÉANT NRENs), which are already working together. The activities of the three projects are complementary and converging. The three infrastructures have signed a Cooperation Agreement as required by the European Commission and are planning to intensify cooperation in order to provide relevant support for open science in Europe.

The workshop on fostering the practical implementation of open science in Horizon 2020 and beyond delivered advice to researchers and policy makers on services and tools for open science. Researchers can follow innovations in scholarly communication. Tools for managing research workflows are available (e.g., MyExperiment), sharing notebooks and data is supported. There is service for researchers when choosing a publication outlet, regarding copyright and repository deposit. Open peer review is being applied. Policy makers, research funding and research performing organizations can use PASTEUR4OA toolkits for drafting open access policies.


Not all conference workshops are presented in this report, the interested parties are invited to consult the presentations and videos at the conference web page.

This post has been created by the Slovenian NOAD and has been edited by Gwen Franck.

Katarina Svitkova, Silvia Horakova, Slovak Centre of Scientific and Technical Information, OpenAIRE National Open Access Desk for Slovakia

Mojca Kotar, University of Ljubljana, OpenAIRE National Open Access Desk for Slovenia

Mojca Kotar

Mojca Kotar, Assistant Secretary General of the University of Ljubljana in the University Office of Library Services. OpenAIRE National Open Access Desk for Slovenia.

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